Is the Countryman the biggest Mini ever or a really small crossover? Either way you look at it, the Mini Countryman crosses into new territory for the brand, providing four doors for passengers and available all-wheel drive into the brand's premium compact portfolio. With an elevated seating position and space for four, the Countryman promises to offer the go-kart handling characteristics of the smaller Mini models in a bigger, more utilitarian package.
Mini's standard 1.6-liter inline-four serves base engine duty in the longer, heavier Countryman, but the optional turbo version in the Countryman S is good for 181 horsepower. Both engines come paired to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
More than 71 cubic-feet of cargo room can be had by folding the rear seat of the Countryman flat, making this version the most capacious yet. Additionally, more than eight extra inches of shoulder room are available in the rear seating area versus the smaller two-door Mini models.
Body style: Four-door hatchback/SUV
Engines: 1.6-liter inline-4, 1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
Transmissions: six-speed manual, six-speed automatic
Models: Countryman, Countryman S, Countryman All4, Countryman S All4
Now in its second model year, the Mini Countryman receives little in the way of new equipment. However, the Countryman does receive a new customization package called Mini Yours, where owners can select custom colors, materials, and trim on the car. Some options include a two-tone stitched leather dashboard, a two-tone leather-wrapped steering wheel, special Mini Yours 17-inch wheels, soda bottle-shaped mirror caps, and a custom Lounge leather interior that mimics the soda theme.
Looking every bit the beefed-up Mini that it is, the Countryman borrows the "helmet" roof from the smaller Cooper hatchback models and stretches it across four doors instead of two. The front end also looks like it got the macho Mini treatment with a more upright grille and bigger headlights.
The Mini Countryman has 47.4 cubic feet of cargo space, making it a certifiably capacious compact. Blurring the lines between form and function, though, is Mini's usual stylized switchgear, which looks the part of a retro softroader. With a large tachometer in front of the driver and the speedometer in the center stack, the Countryman keeps in line with other Minis, but compromises functionality. With four doors comes four seats -- not five. A front-to-back center console pass-through is used in place of where a fifth seat would be in the middle.
Performance & Handling
Does the bigger Countryman still drive like a Mini? Yes it does. The go-kart feel is still there, even with all-wheel drive in place. The Countryman does feel larger and heavier than the standard Mini Cooper, but its playful nature remains intact. You have your choice of a six-speed automatic transmission or conventional six-speed manual gearbox, and the 1.6-liter turbocharged engine provides much-needed grunt over the standard unit. Ride is firm, but it's compliant over rough roads.
Front and side airbags are standard, as are front and rear side curtain airbags. Both traction control and stability control come standard on all Mini Countryman models at no extra charge.
EPA Fuel Economy
Countryman front-wheel drive; manual transmission: 27 city mpg/35 highway mpg
Countryman front-wheel drive; automatic transmission: 24 city mpg/30 highway mpg
Countryman S front-wheel drive; manual transmission: 26 city mpg/32 highway mpg
Countryman S front-wheel drive; automatic transmission: 25 city mpg/32 highway mpg
Countryman S All4 (all-wheel drive); manual transmission: 25 city mpg/31 highway mpg
Countryman S All4 (all-wheel drive); automatic transmission: 24 city mpg/31 highway mpg
- Mini style with an added dose of practicality
As fun to drive as a Mini should be
You Won't Like
- Style comes before substance with interior layout
Still too small for many
Options get expensive quickly
Mini size. Maximum fun.
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