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The Countryman’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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Countryman and the Golf Alltrack have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and front parking sensors.
The Countryman’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf Alltrack’s (12 vs. 10 years).
MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Countryman for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Golf Alltrack.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that MINI vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 23rd in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 7 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The Countryman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 21 more horsepower (189 vs. 168) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 199) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The JCW Countryman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 133 more horsepower (301 vs. 168) and 132 lbs.-ft. more torque (331 vs. 199) than the Golf Alltrack’s 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.
As tested in Consumer Reports the Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack (automatics tested):
Zero to 30 MPH
Zero to 60 MPH
45 to 65 MPH Passing
On the EPA test cycle the Countryman S ALL4 8-speed Auto 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (189 HP) gets better fuel mileage than the Golf Alltrack Auto (23 city/31 hwy vs. 22 city/30 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the Countryman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Countryman’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The Countryman has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Golf Alltrack (16.1 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The MINI Countryman comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf Alltrack.
An eight-speed automatic is available on the MINI Countryman, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Golf Alltrack.
To facilitate fast shifting and allow the driver to focus on the road, the Countryman JCW offers an optional up-shift light to indicate when the engine is approaching redline. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer an up-shift light.
The Countryman Auto’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer launch control.
The Countryman stops shorter than the Golf Alltrack:
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
For better traction, the Countryman has larger tires than the Golf Alltrack (225/55R17 vs. 205/55R17).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Golf Alltrack’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 Countryman can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The Countryman has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Golf Alltrack’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
The Countryman 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 or off-road. The Golf Alltrack’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Countryman’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Golf Alltrack (105.1 inches vs. 103.5 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Countryman is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Golf Alltrack.
The Countryman S ALL4 handles at .83 G’s, while the Golf Alltrack SEL pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Countryman S ALL4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Golf Alltrack SEL (27.2 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s).
The Countryman is 10.4 inches shorter than the Golf Alltrack, making the Countryman easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Countryman a Mid-size car, while the Golf Alltrack is rated a Small Station Wagon.
The Countryman has 2.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Golf Alltrack (96.9 vs. 94.3).
The Countryman has 1.9 inches more front headroom, 2 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Golf Alltrack.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Countryman’s rear seats recline. The Golf Alltrack’s rear seats don’t recline.
Flexibility is maximized at the game, campground or a drive-in theatre in the Countryman when its optional tailgating rear seats are deployed, allowing people to sit facing out of the liftgate. (Do not use while vehicle is in motion.) The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer tailgating seats.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Countryman’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
When two different drivers share the Countryman, the optional memory system makes it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, power steering assist, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a memory system.
The Countryman 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 Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Countryman’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Golf Alltrack 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 Countryman 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 Golf Alltrack can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Countryman to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
When the Countryman with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Golf Alltrack’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Countryman 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 Golf Alltrack offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the MINI Countryman offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Countryman is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Golf Alltrack doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
Insurance will cost less for the Countryman owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Countryman will cost $685 less than the Golf Alltrack over a five-year period.
The Countryman will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Countryman will retain 45.61% to 52.4% of its original price after five years, while the Golf Alltrack only retains 38.44% to 40.76%.
Consumer Reports® recommends both the MINI Countryman and the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, based on reliability, safety and performance.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Countryman first among small suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Golf Alltrack isn’t in the top three in its category.
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