2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 MINI Countryman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The MINI Countryman doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The XC40’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Countryman doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 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 XC40 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Countryman doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the City Safety in the XC40 as “Superior.” The Countryman scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Countryman 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Countryman doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The XC40’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Countryman doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The XC40 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Countryman only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The XC40’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 XC40’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.

The XC40 has standard Volvo On Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Countryman doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the XC40 and the Countryman have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and driver alert monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Countryman has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Volvo dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the XC40’s warranty.

Engine

The XC40 has more powerful engines than the Countryman:

Horsepower

Torque

XC40 T4 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

187 HP

221 lbs.-ft.

XC40 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

248 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Countryman 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

134 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

189 HP

207 lbs.-ft.

JCW Countryman 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Consumer Reports the XC40 T5 is faster than the Countryman S (automatics tested):

XC40

Countryman

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.3 sec

8.3 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.9 sec

5.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

16.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

87 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC40 T4 FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Countryman S FWD Auto (23 city/33 hwy vs. 23 city/32 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XC40’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 Countryman doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The XC40 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.

Transmission

The Volvo XC40 comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Countryman.

Brakes and Stopping

The XC40 stops much shorter than the Countryman:

XC40

Countryman

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC40 has larger standard tires than the Countryman (235/55R18 vs. 225/55R17). The XC40’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Countryman (245/45R20 vs. 225/55R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC40 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Countryman. The XC40’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Countryman.

Suspension and Handling

The XC40 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC40’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Countryman doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC40’s wheelbase is 1.3 inches longer than on the Countryman (106.4 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the XC40 is 1 inch wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Countryman.

For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Countryman (8.3 vs. 6.5 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The XC40 has .5 inches more front legroom, 1.9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear headroom and 2.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Countryman.

Cargo Capacity

The XC40 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Countryman with its rear seat up (20.7 vs. 17.6 cubic feet). The XC40 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Countryman with its rear seat folded (57.5 vs. 47.6 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC40’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Countryman doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC40. The Countryman doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The XC40 has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The Countryman has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The XC40 has a standard 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 XC40 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.

Consumer Reports rated the XC40’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Countryman’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Countryman doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The Countryman’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The XC40’s optional adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

Both the XC40 and the Countryman offer optional heated front seats. The XC40 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Countryman.

On extremely cold winter days, the XC40’s optional 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC40 is less expensive to operate than the Countryman because it costs $189 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC40 than the Countryman, including $46 less for a water pump, $31 less for a muffler, $16 less for front brake pads, $94 less for a starter, $136 less for front struts, $38 less for a timing belt/chain and $235 less for a power steering pump.

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

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