Fiat 500L vs. MINI Countryman

 Fiat, MINI, Reviews  Comments Off on Fiat 500L vs. MINI Countryman
Jun 122019
Fiat 500L
MINI Cooper Countryman

Known for fuel economy and affordability, compact cars do have one disadvantage, versatility. Their size can limit cargo room and comfortable seating for passengers. Fiat and MINI took this into consideration and decided to stretch their subcompacts, the 500 and Cooper, creating the MINI Cooper Countryman and Fiat 500L. Latino Traffic Report recently test drove both of these competitors, specifically the MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 (plug-in hybrid) and the Fiat 500L Trekking. Here’s how they compared.

Countryman cargo room
500L cargo room

For starters, they may not seem to be competitors, one is a hybrid, the other is not, but they certainly appear to be and both were created to navigate an urban setting with ease. On these models, designers took the cartoonish looks of their smaller siblings, i.e. rounded headlamps, squat stances, and smiling grilles, and elongated them, stretching the headlamps to an elliptical shape and rooflines to wagon-like silhouettes.  

The extra room from their extended designs naturally converted into more cargo space, specifically 47.9 cu.ft. with the rear seats folded flat, and seating for five on the Countryman. A split rear door added convenience for loading and unloading cargo, i.e. groceries.

Introduced in 2015 for the 2016 model year, the 500L offered 42 percent more interior space than the 500 and 68 cu.ft. of cargo room with the rear seat folded flat (it did slam down so watch those fingernails) as well as seating for five.

First introduced in 2010, the 2011 Countryman (left) was considered an upscale model. For 2019, MINI added a panoramic sunroof, leatherette upholstery, keyless entry, and a rearview camera with rear parking sensors as standard features.

Similarly, the 500L included a rear backup camera and parking sensor, available ambient lighting as well as a leather steering wheel. For 2019, a universal garage door opener is now standard on Fiat 500L Trekking (left) and Lounge models. What set it apart, however, was the available Beats premium audio system that was included on the test model.

Both came with AppleCar Play  (the 500L also had Android Auto compatibility) to enable use of features like Google Maps via the seven-inch touchscreen on the 500L and 6.5-inch touchscreen on the Countryman. The test model Countryman also included heated front seats.

All 500Ls are powered by a 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder engine a 160-horsepower with 184 ft.–lb. of torque matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.

As a hybrid, the test model Countryman was powered by a three-cylinder twin turbo engine with 134 horsepower and an electric motor that added 87 more horses, a hybrid all-wheel-drive system with 221 horsepower and a lithium ion battery pack.  These were matched to a six speed automatic transmission. 

500L IP

One would expect the 500L to be outmatched by the hybrid Countryman on fuel economy but not so. While the Countryman offered an electric range of twelve miles and an estimated electric miles per gallon (mpg) of 65, the estimated combined fuel economy using gasoline was 27 mpg. For the 500L, the estimated average fuel economy was 25 mpg. On the test drive, however, the Countryman did excel, averaging 30 mpg to the 500L’s average of 24 mpg. It was difficult, however, to track the electric range on the display (below).

Countryman IP

Regarding safety features, neither included a blind spot monitor but the 500L did have a blind spot side view mirror on the driver’s side.

Pricing for the 2019 MINI Countryman and Fiat 500L starts at $26,900 and $21,064 respectively. The as-tested prices were $40,000 and $25,460, respectively.

Sí: The added cargo room and seating capacity on these models is a definite plus, though the 500L has the advantage, not just in cargo room but value.

No: It’s always a pleasure to drive without using gas but the Countryman’s electric range is fairly limited and at its price point, a blind spot monitor should be included. The 500L has a limited fuel economy despite its size.

MINI Announces #DrivingHope Partner

 Noticias  Comments Off on MINI Announces #DrivingHope Partner
May 072018

Latino Traffic Report has learned that MINI USA will partner with Sing for Hope, a nonprofit arts organization co-founded by Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus, in #DrivingHope, a partnership motivated by both organizations’ passion for bringing creativity to  communities in need, including under-resourced schools, hospitals, hospices, veterans’ centers, refugee sites, transit hubs, and disability networks.

Camille Zamora

Monica Yunus

Sing for Hope, the country’s largest recurring public arts project, mobilizes artists to bring the power of the arts to those who need it most. Each year, the Sing for Hope Pianos are designed by local artists, celebrities and casts of Broadway shows. MINI USA will join , the Sing for Hope Pianos, by creating a mobile #MINIPiano inside a MINI Countryman. From June 4-24, the 50 Sing for Hope Pianos will be located throughout the five boroughs and the #MINIPiano will act as a traveling piano, driving music directly to additional underserved communities.

“Sing for Hope and MINI USA both operate with creativity and innovation at their core, so the partnership is a natural fit,” said Zamora and Yunus. “Just as Sing for Hope works each day to bring hope to communities that need it most, MINI invests in organizations that drive our world forward and make it a better place. We are honored to be #DrivingHope together.”

Since 2006, Sing for Hope has partnered with over 250 nonprofit organizations, involved over 3,500 artists in creative volunteerism, and placed over 400 artist-created Sing for Hope Pianos in public spaces for everyone to play —a symbol and celebration of art for all.

The artists of the 2018 Sing for Hope Pianos are already creating at 28 Liberty in the 10,000 square-foot Fosun Sing for Hope Center, which has been generously donated by Fosun since 2016. After the June events, the pianos will be delivered to NYC schools, where in many cases, it will mark the first time a musical instrument is permanently placed in the building.

MINI aims to help bring more of what matters back to the students of NYC by partnering with Sing for Hope and elevating the Sing for Hope Pianos initiative. In addition to the 50 pianos across the five boroughs, the #MINIPiano will act as a roving fifty-first piano, #DrivingHope to locations throughout the city, by surprising and delighting New Yorkers with even more pop-up performances and musical opportunities. MINI is currently developing the custom modified MINI Countryman to create the #MINIPiano. Further details about the car’s design will be released at a later date.

“MINI USA is proud to support Sing for Hope and their mission to bring art and music to the streets of New York City through spontaneous musical moments that create a brighter urban life,” said Lee Nadler, regional marketing manager, MINI USA. “Design and creativity are at the heart of our iconic brand and we look forward to utilizing our #MINIPiano to demonstrate more of what matters to the community here in New York City.”

The 2018 Sing for Hope Pianos are made possible by the support of MINI USA, Fosun Group, 28 Liberty, and the Sing for Hope’s Founders’ Circle, including The Arnhold Foundation in loving memory of Sissy Arnhold, The Thea Petschek Iervolino Foundation, The Anna-Maria & Stephen Kellen Foundation, and Ann Ziff. Learn more at