One well equipped, one well optioned
As similar as our two competitors are, there's one big difference: $11,330. That's the price gap between our $35,150 Mini Cooper S Countryman ALL4 and $23,820 Nissan Juke SV AWD. Nissan and Mini both offer front-wheel-drive variants and manual transmissions, but we wanted all-wheel drive for the all-weather traction and performance handling benefits. Making that choice, however, requires giving up the Juke's do-it-yourself gearbox for a continuously variable transmission. Our mid-level Juke SV came well equipped with several standard features that you'lll pay extra for in the Mini, such as passive entry, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and a USB port. The only option on our tester was the $800 navigation package that adds a small, five-inch touch screen and upgraded speakers with a Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.
Compared to the relatively straightforward Juke, the Countryman is the Burger King of cars. Have it your way with a gazillion possible combinations of colors, decals, interior trim, convenience equipment, and drivetrain hardware. Stepping up to an all-wheel-drive ALL4 model automatically upgrades the 121-hp normally aspirated 1.6-liter to the 188-hp turbocharged unit, and we selected the six-speed automatic to play against the Juke's CVT. Starting price: $28,200. But our Countryman represented the top of the range with every major option save for the new Mini Connected infotainment system. The $6,250 worth of extras included a Harman-Kardon audio system, a dual-pane sunroof, automatic climate control, passive entry, heated front seats, backup sensors, and the sport package. To accommodate our snowy test, Mini replaced the sport package's 18-inch summer rubber with Bridgestone Blizzak LM-60 winter tires. While we asked for season-specific tires from Nissan, the Juke arrived wearing its standard 17-inch Goodyear Eagle RS-A all-seasons.