2020 MINI Cooper Clubman vs. 2020 Buick Encore

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The Cooper Clubman has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Encore offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Cooper Clubman’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Encore doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Cooper Clubman and the Encore 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 and available front parking sensors.

Warranty

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The Cooper Clubman’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Encore’s (12 vs. 6 years).

MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cooper Clubman for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Encore.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Cooper Clubman has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Encore’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 10 places higher in reliability than Buick.

Engine

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The Cooper Clubman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 51 more horsepower (189 vs. 138) and 58 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 148) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The JCW Clubman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 163 more horsepower (301 vs. 138) and 183 lbs.-ft. more torque (331 vs. 148) than the Encore’s 1.4 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Cooper Clubman gets better fuel mileage than the Encore:

Cooper Clubman

Encore

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (189 HP)/7-spd. Auto

26 city/34 hwy

25 city/30 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

4WD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (301 HP)/8-spd. Auto

23 city/32 hwy

24 city/29 hwy

1.4 turbo 4 cyl./Auto

2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (301 HP)/8-spd. Auto

23 city/31 hwy

n/a

Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Clubman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Encore doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the Cooper Clubman’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Buick only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Encore w/Direct Injection Engine.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is available on the MINI Cooper Clubman, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Encore.

The Cooper Clubman offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Encore doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Cooper Clubman’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Encore:

Cooper Clubman

Encore

Front Rotors

12.1 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

11 inches

10.6 inches

The Cooper Clubman stops much shorter than the Encore:

Cooper Clubman

Encore

70 to 0 MPH

169 feet

175 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Cooper Clubman has larger tires than the Encore (225/45R17 vs. 215/55R18).

The Cooper Clubman’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore’s standard 55 series tires. The Cooper Clubman’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Encore’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cooper Clubman offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Encore’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the Cooper Clubman can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Encore doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the MINI Cooper Clubman has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Encore has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Cooper Clubman has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Cooper Clubman flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Cooper Clubman offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Encore’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Cooper Clubman’s wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than on the Encore (105.1 inches vs. 100.6 inches).

The Cooper Clubman S handles at .87 G’s, while the Encore pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Cooper Clubman S ALL4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3.1 seconds quicker than the Encore AWD (26.5 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Cooper Clubman is 8.6 inches shorter in height than the Encore, making the Cooper Clubman much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

The front grille of the Cooper Clubman uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Encore doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Cooper Clubman has .6 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front shoulder room and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Clubman’s available rear seats recline. The Encore’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Cooper Clubman easier. The Cooper Clubman’s trunk lift-over height is 27.2 inches, while the Encore’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

The Cooper Clubman’s cargo area is larger than the Encore’s in almost every dimension:

Cooper Clubman

Encore

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

28.9”/60.8”

28.5”/55.8”

Min Width

40”

36”

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Cooper Clubman’s available cargo door can be opened just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Encore doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The Cooper Clubman uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Encore uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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The Cooper Clubman offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Encore doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Cooper Clubman’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Encore has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

If the windows are left open on the Cooper Clubman the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Encore can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Cooper Clubman has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Encore doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Cooper Clubman’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Encore’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Cooper Clubman to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Encore doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Cooper Clubman offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Encore doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Cooper Clubman detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Encore doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Cooper Clubman has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Encore doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Cooper Clubman offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Cooper Clubman and the Encore offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Cooper Clubman has standard rear air-conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Encore doesn’t offer rear air-conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Cooper Clubman offers an optional Active Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Encore doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the MINI Cooper Clubman offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Encore doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Cooper Clubman’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Encore doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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The Cooper Clubman will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Cooper Clubman will retain 41.56% to 50.8% of its original price after five years, while the Encore only retains 36.57% to 40.02%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Cooper Clubman is less expensive to operate than the Encore because typical repairs cost less on the Cooper Clubman than the Encore, including $109 less for a muffler and $121 less for front brake pads.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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