2020 Buick Encore vs. 2020 MINI Countryman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/06

For enhanced safety, the front and rear (child comfort guides) seat shoulder belts of the Buick Encore are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The MINI Countryman doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The Encore Essence’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane. The Countryman doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Encore (except Base)’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Countryman doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Encore (except Base)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Countryman doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Encore and the Countryman have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, collision warning systems and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Encore 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Countryman. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Countryman ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 16 times as many Buick dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Encore’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Buick Encore’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the Countryman’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Encore’s reliability 40 points higher than the Countryman.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 6th.

Engine

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The Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder produces 4 more horsepower (138 vs. 134) than the Countryman’s standard 1.5 turbo 3-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Encore uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Countryman requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Encore has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Countryman doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Encore stops much shorter than the Countryman:

Encore

Countryman

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Encore has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Countryman.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the Encore’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the Countryman’s (36.7 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Encore uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Countryman doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Encore has .4 inches more front legroom and .5 inches more rear headroom than the Countryman.

Cargo Capacity

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The Encore has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Countryman with its rear seat up (18.8 vs. 17.6 cubic feet). The Encore has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Countryman with its rear seat folded (48.4 vs. 47.6 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than MINI. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 4% lower rating, MINI is ranked 10th.

Ergonomics

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The Encore (except Base) offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Countryman doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Encore has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Countryman only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Encore has standard extendable sun visors. The Countryman doesn’t offer extendable visors.

On extremely cold winter days, the Encore Essence’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Countryman doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Encore (except Bae) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Countryman doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Encore owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Encore will cost $400 less than the Countryman over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Encore is less expensive to operate than the Countryman because it costs $200 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Encore than the Countryman, including $79 less for a water pump, $15 less for a muffler, $224 less for a starter, $109 less for fuel injection, $164 less for front struts and $197 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Buick Encore will be $2459 to $10400 less than for the MINI Countryman.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/06

Consumer Reports® recommends the Buick Encore, based on reliability, safety and performance. The MINI Countryman isn't recommended.

The Buick Encore outsold the MINI Countryman by over seven to one during 2019.

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