Mini Countryman (2017-present)

The Mini Countryman is just as much fun as the regular models but with a healthy dollop of practicality

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Individual styling, inside and out
Spacious interior ideal for young families
Available with four-wheel drive

Weaknesses 

You pay a premium for the Mini badge
Not as smooth over bumps as other crossovers
Four-wheel drive not available with petrol engines

Mini Countryman prices from £11,989   Finance from £169 per month

What happens when you outgrow a Mini? You buy another one… The Countryman is the largest model in the Mini family and exists to give all the people who bought a Mini hatch something to grow into.

Needless to say, you don’t have to own a Mini to consider a Countryman. This compact SUV is a rival to the Audi Q2, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Qashqai, Toyota C-HR and Volkswagen T-Roc. You could add the slightly more expensive, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA to your shortlist, too.

The range has been updated for 2019 and now offers a choice of two petrol engines, a diesel – which can be specified with four-wheel drive – and, a rarity in this part of the car market, a plug-in hybrid that can be driven on electric power alone.

If you're thinking of trading up from the previous Mini Countryman, the most dramatic change you'll notice will be the newer car’s greater size. It’s 200mm longer, the 450-litre boot is 100 litres bigger than before and the back seats now split and fold 40/20/40, which is handy.

That space means there is room, for example, for a six-foot driver and a six-foot passenger to sit behind one another. More likely, though, the back seats will be taken up with children and their child seats. Here, the Countryman offers two Isofix points, on the outer chairs, and another on the front passenger seat.

This may be the most grown-up Mini in the range but it’s pleasing to find the interior still retains the playful design of other models. Its dashboard is dominated by the large, circular display for the navigation and audio system that sits in the centre, edged by glowing lights that change colour like a disco ball according to how you’re driving or the chosen mood lighting.

There are big, alloy-effect toggle switches, cupholders for four coffees (they should fuel your morning commute) or bottles and even the option of a head-up display. What’s more, it not only looks stylish but feels robust and more than capable of surviving years of hard graft at the hands of a young family.


The Countryman is also well equipped, with a number of standard features on every car such as sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, a digital audio system, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth for wireless phone connectivity and automatic wipers and headlights. There’s also the ability to control a range of smartphone apps such as Spotify and Amazon Music from the dashboard.

Although the Countryman is larger and heavier than a Mini hatchback, it still manages to feel zippy and nimble, especially when compared with other SUVs and crossovers. The steering is quick to respond and the car feels surefooted through bends, while in town it’s easy to thread it through tight gaps and park.

The trade-off for a car that doesn’t bob about like a boat at sea is that the ride is a little on the firm side, so you can feel bumps more than in cars such as the smooth-riding Nissan Qashqai.

If you want a Countryman that can live up to its rugged looks and tackle a little light off-roading, the Cooper D diesel is available with the option of four-wheel drive, called ALL4. The plug-in hybrid, E PHEV version also drives all four wheels, as the battery and electric motor power the back wheels but the petrol engine drives the front wheels. However, it’s not suited to much more than getting out of a wet field.

When it comes to keeping the family safe, the Countryman passed the Euro NCAP crash and safety tests with flying colours, scoring a maximum five-star rating.

 

Last Updated 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 16:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 Years / unlimited mileage
Boot size: 
450 litres
Width: 
1822mm
Length: 
4299mm
Height: 
1557-1559mm
Tax (min to max): 
From £25 to £205 in first year and £130 to £140 thereafter

Best Mini Countryman for... 

Mini Cooper D Countryman
The cheapest diesel version of the Countryman is the economical choice, with its official combined fuel consumption figure of 62.8mpg. The E PHEV is more frugal still but costs £6,000 more.
Mini S E Countryman All4
If you care about the emissions of your car, why not try the plug-in hybrid Countryman? It travels for up to 26 miles on battery power alone, which is probably enough for most school runs. The technology isn’t cheap, though.
Mini Cooper S Countryman
A brisk 0-62mph acceleration time of 7.6 seconds means this version can be huge fun to drive when nobody else is on board.

Mini Countryman History 

  • February 2017 Mini Countryman goes on sale
  • February 2017 Range consists of Cooper and Cooper D, with or without All4 four-wheel drive, and the more powerful Cooper S and Cooper SD, with or without All4. Manual or automatic gearbox available across the range
  • March 2017 Hot Countryman John Cooper Works model, with 228bhp, added to line-up
  • June 2017 Cooper S E Countryman All4 plug-in hybrid added to range.
  • March 2018 Facelifted Mini range goes on sale with equipment upgrades and just one diesel engine, the 1.5-litre unit in the Cooper D. Seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox available as an option
  • October 2018 Trim levels changed to offer Classic, Sport and Exclusive variants

Understanding Mini Countryman car names 

  • Countryman
  • Engine/Trim
    Cooper S
  • Driven wheels
    All4
  • Engine/Trim
    In common with other Minis, each version has different engine and equipment levels. The cheapest cars are Cooper models, followed by Cooper S. Cooper D cars are powered by diesel engines, while the Cooper S E All4 is the electric and petrol hybrid car.
  • Driven wheels
    Four-wheel-drive Countrymans are badged All4.

Mini Countryman Engines 

Petrol: Cooper (1.5), Cooper S (2.0); Diesel: Cooper D (2.0); Hybrid: Cooper S E All4

The entry-level Mini Cooper Countryman has a 134bhp petrol engine and an official fuel economy figure of 47mpg. It is available with a manual or automatic gearbox.

It’s a characterful engine, with three cylinders and a turbocharger that mean it sounds nice and delivers a good amount of power low in its rev range. For many drivers, it’s perfectly adequate for their needs and because it’s light, it helps make this the best-handling version of the Countryman.

The Cooper S is faster and more powerful. It has a larger, 189bhp four-cylinder petrol engine and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.6sec – two seconds faster than the standard Cooper. It doesn’t sound as interesting as its little brother and you will have to put up with worse fuel economy. Official figures state 45mpg but expect closer to 35mpg in real-world driving.

For diesel drivers there’s now only one engine in the Countryman range: a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder unit with 148bhp. The Cooper D is faster than the petrol-powered Cooper but offers better fuel economy, even if the official figure of 61mpg is optimistic.

The Countryman’s noise insulation is pretty good, so you won’t hear too much clatter from the diesel engine when it’s cold, and it offers plenty of pulling power low in the rev range.

The outside contender is the Cooper S E All4. This is a plug-in hybrid model that is over £6,000 more than a regular Cooper with which it shares its three-cylinder petrol engine.

The official range using the electric motor and battery – which is charged from the mains or by the engine – is 26 miles but you’ll be lucky to manage more than 20 in daily driving conditions. You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth paying a lot more for a heavier car that’s inefficient when the battery runs out of charge, given how accomplished a standard Cooper is.

Perhaps the main incentive for buying one is that this plug-in hybrid has low carbon dioxide emissions of 55g/km, making it attractive to company car drivers.

 

Cooper

Petrol

47.1mpg

134bhp

9.7s

124mph

Cooper D (All4)

Diesel

61.4mpg (57.6)

148bhp

9.1s (9.0)

129mph (129)

Cooper S

Petrol

43.5mpg

189bhp

7.6s

140mph

S E All4

Petrol-electric hybrid

113mpg

221bhp

6.8s

123mph

Mini Countryman Trims 

Classic, Sport, Exclusive

Introduced in October 2018, the Classic, Sport and Exclusive trim levels change the look and feel of the Countryman rather than add more equipment.

Every version comes with a sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, a digital audio system, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth for wireless phone connectivity and automatic wipers and headlights. There's also the ability to control a range of smartphone apps such as Spotify and Amazon Music from the dashboard, while mood lighting and projection lights on the wing mirrors – showing the Mini logo on the floor at night – liven things up.

One more standard feature that’s useful to have on this type of family car is a set of roof rails. These are raised and when combined with a set of roof bars will allow for a roof box or bike racks to be fitted.

The driver can get comfortable in the Mini’s low-slung seat thanks to seat height adjustment and an adjustable steering wheel.

In Classic trim, the Cooper gets alloy wheels, while the Cooper S has larger alloys and a leather-trimmed sports steering wheel.

Upgrade to Sport, on Cooper or Cooper S cars, and you get 17in alloy wheels, a John Cooper body kit, John Cooper sports seats and steering wheel, cruise control and the no-cost option of sports suspension.

Pick the Exclusive and there are unique 17in alloy wheels, chrome trim for the exterior, leather seats and a leather steering wheel, and cruise control.

MINI was one of the first brands to offer personalisation and it continues to allow buyers to spec their cars with bonnet stripes, a range of roof colours, different interior treatments and various alloy wheels.

There are three main option packs that group together various accessories for a set price. The Comfort Pack is £900 and includes parking aids, climate control, heated seats, floor mats and a centre armrest. The Navigation Pack is standard, and comes with a 6.5-inch display (in the middle of the car’s central, circular display), Apple CarPlay, and Mini Connected, a range of apps that are said to better integrate a smartphone with a Mini. For £1,300 it can be upgraded to an 8.8-inch display with additional app compatibility but that doesn’t seem like money well spent to us.

The Driving Assistant Pack costs £800. It provides adaptive cruise control and keeps an eye on the road, alerting you to obstacles and priming the brakes in an emergency. Also costing £800 is the Activity Pack that includes a larger fuel tank, an automatic powered tailgate, a dividing net for the boot, a sliding back seat and a picnic bench.

 

Mini Countryman Reliability and warranty 

Minis historically fall below average when it comes to faults and niggles.

The brand placed 29th out of 32 manufacturers in the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

The Countryman has the company's standard three-year, unlimited mileage warranty that is on a par with its premium rivals and most other brands. However, Kia and Hyundai offer seven years and five years, respectively, while Toyota gives buyers a five-year package.

Used Mini Countryman 

In February 2017, the Mini Countryman was launched with two trim levels – Cooper and Cooper S. They came with the choice of two petrol and two diesel engines (Cooper D and Cooper SD for the diesels).

All models could be ordered with or without All4 four-wheel drive and manual or automatic gearboxes were available across the range. It means used car buyers should be able to find a version of the car that suits their needs. The most affordable examples of those early cars are priced from around £17,000.

In March, the sporty John Cooper Works was launched and by June, the Cooper S E All4 plug-in hybrid had arrived in Mini showrooms. Both are niche models and the high prices of used models reflect this.

An interesting model some drivers may want to seek out was the Cooper SD. It offered an impressive blend of performance and fuel economy (0-62mph in just 7.7sec and 61.4mpg).