Warren Brown
Warren Brown
Columnist

Nuts & Bolts: 2013 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 versus 2014 Subaru Forester

Bottom line: We’ll leave it to you all. Will it be the 2013 Mini Cooper Countryman S All4 or the 2014 Subaru Forester Limited? Votes and comments will be collected by Victoria Manglapus at manglapusv@washpost.com and Michelle Dawson at michelle.dawson@yahoo.com. Tallies will be presented online at washingtonpost.com/cars.

Ride, acceleration and handling: The Subaru is excellent in all three categories in all kinds of weather. The Mini Cooper is decidedly more fun to drive. But we’ve driven it only on dry roads.

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Head-turning quotients: The Forester is staid and stately. The Countryman? Well, Mary Anne is right. It’s much less of a “mom-mobile.”

Body styles/layouts: Both are compact, front-engine, all-wheel-drive wagons with four side doors and a rear hatch.

Engines/transmissions: The Forester comes with a 2.5-liter, gasoline-direct-injection, flat (horizontally opposed) four-cylinder gasoline engine. It is linked to a continuously variable automatic transmission (no fixed gears). The Countryman comes with a 1.6-liter in-line (cylinders in a line) four-cylinder engine. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the S Countryman All4; a six-speed automatic that also can be operated manually is optional.

Capacities: Both cars seat five people. The Forester easily beats the Countryman in cargo capacity — 31 cubic feet with rear seats up, compared with 16.5 cubic feet with seats in same position for the Countryman. The Forester has a larger fuel tank, holding 15.9 gallons compared with 12.4 gallons for the Countryman. The Forester can run on regular fuel; the Countryman requires premium grade.

Mileage: In the real world, both get in the neighborhood of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

Safety: Both have ventilated front discs and solid discs in the rear for brakes. Both come with four-wheel anti-lock brake protection and are alike in most other respects of safety engineering — electronic stability and traction control, side and head air bags, emergency braking assistance, and emergency brake-force distribution.

Prices: Both the 2013 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 and the new Forester Limited will cost us in the neighborhood of $29,000 equipped the way we want them — connectivity for iPod and iPhone; navigation with backup camera; blind-spot monitoring. We have a question: Given the “facts” as presented, what would you do?

 
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