The Nissan Juke one of the more obvious cross-shop vehicles for the MINI Countryman. It’s small. It’s sportish. It’s funky. It’s got a turbocharged engine. It’s got all-wheel-drive. So it’s inevitable that the two cars would go head-to-head in the automotive press. John Leblanc of the Toronto Star gives the edge to the Juke, but upon reading his review, I almost can’t tell why.

In basically every category, he gives the Countryman the higher marks.

  • More headroom
  • More rear cargo room
  • Better ride quality
  • More refined interior surfaces and materials

So what’s the rub? Price. The Countryman is — as usual for MINI — the driver’s car, and you’re going to pay a premium for that experience.

Admittedly, the extra $10k it costs does give the MINI a slight advantage if you like to drive. The Countryman ALL4 leans less in corners and feels more composed when you drive it like a sports compact than the Juke SL AWD. Plus there’s the availability of a manual gearbox in the Mini, an option Nissan doesn’t offer with AWD in the Juke.

If I like to drive? Uh, yeah. I like to drive. While he’s not quite calling the Juke an appliance, he hits the nail on the head. The Countryman All4 is the only car on the market right now that gets the kind of mpg it gets, has AWD, and has an available manual transmission — let alone the kind of suspension that makes it capable in the bends.

So in the end, it comes down to price with Mr. Leblanc — the tired old trope that price is the only part of the value equation that matters. Needless to say, we don’t agree.