Volkswagen T-Roc vs.  Mini Countryman: which compact SUV is most interesting?

Volkswagen T-Roc vs. Mini Countryman: which compact SUV is most interesting?

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    With a market share of 29%, the compact SUV segment is the most outstanding so far this year, with a total of 118,318 units registered between January and June. Given the great popularity of this type of vehicle, the brands try to have one or several representatives in order to try to take an interesting part of the cake and it seems that Volkswagen is doing really well because its T-Roc is positioned as the fourth best-selling car in Spain in 2022.

    The German model is one of the few that continues betting on diesel mechanics, so we have looked for a tough opponent who also enjoys a turbodiesel engine with the same power and a very similar price, so it’s time to discover which of the two has convinced us more in the different sections that we will analyze below. Will he be mini-countryman The winner of the battle? Will the Volkswagen T-Roc prevail? Let’s check it out.

    Which is the most attractive?

    These two rivals are built on the platforms of compact models that we all know, that is, the Volkswagen Golf (seventh generation) and BMW 1 Series (current generation), with more or less similar measurements since both have a width of 1.82 meters, but the Mini is about 40 millimeters longer and 30 mm lower. In addition, this one has a battle of 2.67 meters for the 2.59 m of the T-Roc, perhaps it is a great advantage when comparing the habitability, but for now we will stay with the aesthetics.

    These dimensions make the Countryman present a silhouette that is well differentiated from that of its rival, which is committed to an easily recognizable line within the range offered by Volkswagen. In this sense, we can say that the T-Roc will attract more the general public and the Mini will always have that group of interested parties due to the typical design that characterizes the vehicles signed by the English brand., with those rounded headlamps, a large central grille and a flatter bonnet, not to mention the signature UK flag taillights. The belt line is lower, thus giving more space to a larger glass surface than its rival, something that is appreciated when judging the visibility of both models. However, when it comes to looking in the rear view mirror, the Volkswagen is ahead as the Mini’s rear window is somewhat smaller.

    Christian Colmenero

    We can say that the T-Roc fits more with the SUV philosophy in terms of image, while the Countryman looks like a raised station wagon. We have those adventurous touches that Mini wanted to give it with some well-marked wheel arches, the longitudinal bars of the roof and the plastic protections that lead the entire lower part of the car. Both have 18-inch wheels, mounted on tires measuring 215/50 R18 in the case of the Volkswagen and 225/50 R18 in the case of the Mini.

    What happens to the inside?

    From doors to inside, the first thing that strikes us is the difference in the driving position. The T-Roc offers a distinctly SUV stance, with a raised dashboard, lower legs, and a steeper steering wheel angle. In the Countryman, on the other hand, you have the feeling of sitting in a passenger car., with the addition of offering more space in the front seats and better visibility, with the front window less extended. At the level of finishes, the British model is much better resolved since practically all the surfaces are covered with higher quality materials. Nevertheless, we are left with the infotainment system of the german SUV, with its 9.2-inch touch screen, not so much because the latter is larger (9.2 inches compared to 8.8), but rather because the menus are much clearer and we have direct access to certain functions such as navigation, radio or vehicle settings. We also like the Volkswagen’s digital instrument cluster better, mainly because of its larger size and readability.

    volkswagen t roc and mini countryman

    Christian Colmenero

    volkswagen t roc and mini countryman

    Christian Colmenero

    That said, there is one aspect of the T-Roc that doesn’t quite convince us: touch controls for air conditioning. Here the Countryman wins by a landslide, with traditional physical buttons and rotating wheels that allow us to regulate the temperature without having to take our eyes off the road.

    Rear seats and trunk: which one convinces us more?

    In both models, two adults can travel with a certain degree of comfort, although in the Mini they will be able to enjoy the trip much more. This is because the feeling of width is greater and the space available for the legs, more generous, but we must recognize that the height of the occupants will play a fundamental role since the Volkswagen has a greater distance between the head and the roof. People who measure less than 1.80 meters will not notice the difference, but the rest will. By the way, both have ventilation outlets and two USB type C sockets.

    As for the trunk, we feel much more comfortable with the Countrymanmainly for two reasons: its shapes are more regular and the load plane is located somewhat lower, to which is added a trim that is very pleasant to the touch that covers all surfaces. However, both offer a very similar load volume, being slightly higher than that of the Mini since it has 450 liters for the 445 of its rival, expandable to 1,390 and 1,290 liters respectively. The British model has side nets to deposit different objects, although it does not have a double bottom nor does it have direct access to the passenger compartment.

    volkswagen t roc and mini countryman

    Christian Colmenero

    volkswagen t roc and mini countryman

    Christian Colmenero

    Time to get going: which one behaves better in the city and on the highway?

    When it comes to moving around the city, the most recommended option is the Volkswagen T-Roc. Its dimensions are more compact, the steering is more assisted, the maneuverability is somewhat better than that of its rival and the time to adapt to the brake pedal is less because it feels more consistent, being able to regulate the braking force with greater precision. Our choice is also maintained when facing a curved road and that the front end of the Mini Countryman feels more precise and direct, with a faster steering that offers greater weight. Nevertheless, the kilos are more noticeable in the British model.

    volkswagen t roc and mini countryman

    Christian Colmenero

    And when it comes to traveling, which one do we choose?

    Of course, when it comes to facing long journeys on highways or motorways, we are left with the Mini Countryman. As we say, its driving position is more similar to that of a passenger car, it is a car that feels more stable and the ride quality is better, with a more comfortable suspension that denotes greater refinement when it works. At the level of soundproofing, both are very similar, although the rolling noise of the Countryman’s Pirelli Cinturato tires may be more noticeable (our T-Roc unit mounts Falken Azenis FK453CC).

    volkswagen t roc and mini countryman

    Christian Colmenero

    Motor and consumption: what option did we like the most?

    In the mechanical section, the first thing to note is the autonomy of both vehicles. It is a joy every time you get into a car and the on-board computer indicates a range of use that is close to 1,000 kilometers! This is so due to its turbodiesel mechanics, both 2.0-liter and four-cylinder (offering 150 horsepower), associated with seven-speed automatic transmissions in the T-Roc and eight in the Mini (the first is dual-clutch and the second, from the torque converter) that send all the energy to the front train exclusively. Both allow smooth driving, with quick gear changes, although yes, the Countryman does not have paddles behind the wheel.

    volkswagen t roc and mini countryman

    Christian Colmenero

    Having said that, we liked the TDI block better because it feels more energetic, while that of his rival feels somewhat lazier when it comes to upgrading. Of course, the noise of the latter is better. In addition, fuel consumption, being quite contained in both models, is somewhat tighter in the Volkswagen T-Roc as we have achieved averages of 5.1 liters per 100 kilometers. The block of the Mini Countryman needs a few tenths more to cover the same distances, always below 6 l/100 km.

    Price and equipment: the premium touch is paid

    Regarding the equipment, the Volkswagen T-Roc is above its rival as it offers a much more generous standard endowment. 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, tinted windows, four USB Type-C sockets, two in front and two in back, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as emergency braking assistant with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, digital cockpit , brake pad wear indicator, parking sensors with Park Assist come from the factory with the Life finish.

    As for the Mini Cooper D Countryman, its standard equipment is much smaller because the British manufacturer resorts to a series of optional packages to be able to provide this SUV with everything necessary, significantly increasing its price (with equal equipment, the Mini is about 5,000 euros more expensive). Of course, the 17-inch wheels, the LED headlights, the digital radio and the collision sensor are included.

    • Volkswagen T-Roc Life TDI 150 hp DSG – 35,525 euros
    • Mini Cooper D Countryman Automatic – 36,950 euros

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