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The Countryman has a standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Encore GX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
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 Encore GX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Countryman and the Encore GX 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and front parking sensors.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Countryman the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 202 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Encore GX has not been tested, yet.
The Countryman’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Encore GX’s (12 vs. 6 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. Buick only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Encore GX.
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Countryman’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Encore GX’s camshafts. If the Encore GX’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Countryman has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Encore GX’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 8 places higher in reliability than Buick.
The Countryman has more powerful engines than the Encore GX:
Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder
JCW Countryman 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder
Encore GX 1.2 turbo 3-cylinder
Encore GX 1.3 turbo 3-cylinder
On the EPA test cycle the Countryman ALL4 with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Encore GX AWD (24 city/33 hwy vs. 26 city/29 hwy).
The Countryman has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Encore GX (16.1 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Countryman offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is more internally efficient than a CVT but just as easy to drive. The Encore GX doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.
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 Encore GX doesn’t offer launch control.
The Countryman’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Encore GX’s 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Countryman offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Encore GX’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 Encore GX doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
For superior ride and handling, the MINI Countryman 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 GX has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.
The Countryman has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Countryman flat and controlled during cornering. The Encore GX’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
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 Encore GX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Countryman’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the Encore GX (105.1 inches vs. 102.2 inches).
The Countryman has .8 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Encore GX.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Countryman’s rear seats recline. The Encore GX’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 Encore GX doesn’t offer tailgating seats.
The Countryman’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Encore GX’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.
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 Encore GX can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Countryman’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 GX’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
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 Encore GX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Countryman offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Encore GX doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The Countryman’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Encore GX offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
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