Mini hatchback

MINI Countryman vs Nissan Qashqai

Background

The Mini Countryman SUV is the first subcompact crossover style of vehicle produced by BMW under the Mini marque, first launched in 2010. It was then given several facelifts before the launch of the second generation model in 2017. After an update in 2020, the current Mini Countryman feels like the grown up and more serious sibling to the Mini hatchback.

The Nissan Qashqai is well known as being the car that started the trend for mainstream family SUVs, despite the fact that Nissan took a bit of a risk when they launched the first generation Qashqai back in 2006 and subsequently invented the crossover family SUV. The current third generation, the All-New Nissan Qashqai SUV, was revealed in 2021 and brought with it a new style into an increasingly competitive market.

Our comparison of the Mini Countryman vs Nissan Qashqai will guide you through the differences between both models to help you make your decision.

Design

Due to their wildly different styles, you can be forgiven for not realising that the Mini Countryman and the Nissan Qashqai serve the same purpose as a large family car.

The Countryman SUV is essentially a large version of the Mini Hatch and has the iconic squared off shape that makes it instantly recognisable as part of the Mini family. The Qashqai is almost on the opposite end of the scale with a much sleeker appearance and a much more traditional SUV appearance.

The Qashqai has a higher driving position before you look at adjusting the seat from its standard position due to a ground clearance of 188mm compared to 149 in the Countryman. Both models do allow for height adjustment for the front seats but the Qashqai gives more obvious height from the get go.

The Countryman also gives you many more personalisation options compared to the Qashqai. This includes a range of exterior paint colours, changing the size and styling of the alloys, choosing different colours for the bonnet stripes and mirror caps, and adding accessories.

Interior

Both the Mini Countryman and the Nissan Qashqai have well finished interiors, with leather covered steering wheel options and increasing comfort and style as you upgrade your trim level.

If you've got a full car of passengers you'll find that the Countryman offers more shoulder room in the rear seats thanks to its additional width of 131mm against the Qashqai. Contrastingly the Qashqai perhaps offer more leg room and head room in the rear seats as it's 97mm longer and 38mm taller than its Mini competitor.

The Qashqai is the clear winner for boot space with a giant 504 litres with all seats in use compared to 450 litres in the Countryman, still a strong offering. Folding the rear seats down in both cars will give you 1447 litres in the Qashqai and 1390 litres in the Countryman. Opting for the plug in hybrid in the latter does reduce the boot space due to the battery being located in the back of the car.

Equipment

Both models offer some of the same equipment at entry level, such as cruise control, daytime running lights, and automatic LED headlights. Nissan opt for steel wheels rather than alloys whereas the Countryman has 16 inch alloys as standard. Additionally the Countryman also includes equipment like rear parking sensors, and

The Mini Countryman is worlds apart from the Nissan Qashqai at entry level looking at the interior set up. The Countryman has Mini's newest 8.8 inch round touchscreen in the centre of the console which completely outshines the Qashqai's digital radio with no infotainment screen. It's even finished with an LED light around the outside to make it stand out further.

This is matched with Mini's digital dashboard which replaced the traditional collection of three dials in March 2020. It displays a multitude of driving information, links to the infotainment system for sat nav directions and media information, and is a much needed update over the old style. In contrast, the Qashqai has a 7 inch display that is still supported by analogue dials at either side.

Performance

Previously the Mini Countryman would have easily been your greener choice of car as it was the only model of the two to offer any kind of hybrid technology with its engine. This is due to change later this year as Nissan launch the Nissan Qashqai with E-Power; a petrol engine that charges an electric battery that powers the wheels 100% of the time.

Looking at the efficiency, the Countryman is still better for fuel consumption with a combined mpg of 156.9 compared to 53.3 for the Qashqai. This is as the two use their hybrid power in two completely different ways. The Countryman uses it either in place of or to supplement the petrol engine whilst the Qashqai uses the petrol engine to push the electric battery to power the wheels, hence why the Countryman is the more economical car of the two.

The other main difference that the Countryman offers is it's John Cooper Works performance engine which gives a phenomenal 306HP, really setting it apart from not only the Qashqai but the other engines available on the Countryman too. This and the plug in hybrid Countryman are all wheel drive cars compared to front wheel drive for it's other engine options and only one all wheel drive option for the Qashqai. It should be no surprise that the John Cooper Works also has the top speed of any Countryman or Qashqai.

Summary

Both cars are great options for your next family car with good levels of equipment and lots of space across both models in different setups. The Countryman combines retro styling and classic design with modern technology and lots of space. The Qashqai is a slightly taller car and has more boot space, ideal if you need to use all the seats and carry luggage.

Our teams at John Clark Mini in Aberdeen and Tayside and at Specialist Cars Nissan in Aberdeen are always on hand to hep you with any further queries that you might have about either of the models.