Mini Countryman (2017-present)

Grown up in size and quality, the new Mini Countryman has character with practicality

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Individual styling, inside and out
Significantly better than predecessor
Broad choice of engines & equipment

Weaknesses 

You pay a premium for the Mini badge
Not as smooth over bumps as other crossovers
Optional extras are expensive

Its bulging headlights and chunky curves give the little Mini hatchback a cheeky look, while behind the wheel, its small(ish) dimensions and agile steering make it fun to drive.

But what happens when you try and transplant the small Mini's appeal onto a lumbering family crossover car? The Mini Countryman certainly looks different.

It's a crossover because it takes the mechanical parts from the medium-sized Mini Clubman, and packages them in a taller and fatter shell for a higher driving position and more interior space.

If you're thinking of trading up from the previous Mini Countryman, which is no longer being made, then the most dramatic change you'll notice will be its size. The new car is 200mm longer, with a 450-litre boot: 100 litres bigger than the old one.

It's the biggest model ever made by Mini and now more comparable to other crossovers such as the Nissan Qashqai, Seat Ateca and Audi Q3.

Under the bonnet are a range of tried and tested engines from the rest of the Mini range, some of wich are tuned for economy and others for performance. Later this year, there will also be a plug-in hybrid model, with batteries that can be charged by plugging the car in, giving it a range of 20 miles on electric power alone before its petrol engine is required to take over.

The plug-in hybrid has an official carbon dioxide emissions figure of 49g/km, putting into the lowest band for company car tax.

For a car that's likely to be considered as an alternative to premium models such as the Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA and BMW X1, the interior feels well-made, but retains some of Mini's quirkiness, including the bid round display in the centre of the dashboard, as well as stylish toggle switches.

The Countryman is also well equipped, with a number of standard features on every car, such as sat-nav, parking sensors, Bluetooth for wireless phone connectivity and cruise control. There's also the ability to control a range of smartphone apps such as Spotify and Amazon Music from the dashboard.

The size and weight of the Countryman means that it doesn't have the zippy and nimble feel of smaller models in the range, but it's still agile for a crossover, and you have a sense of how much your turning the wheels when you steer, so you can accurately thread the car along narrow roads and tight gaps.

The ride quality is a little on the firm side, so you can feel bumps on the road from inside the car, but it's not uncomfortable. 

Although the new Countryman has the rugged look of a car that can tackle a little light off-roading, with its black plastic mouldings on the wheel arches and its roof rails, it's more likely to be chosen for its space and practicality. 

Last Updated 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 - 23:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 Years / unlimited mileage
Boot size: 
450 litres
Width: 
1822mm
Length: 
4299mm
Height: 
1557mm
Tax (min to max): 
From C (£30) to H (£300 in first year and £210 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 65.7mpg.
Mini S E Countryman All4
The plug-in hybrid Countryman is likely to manage most school runs without using any fuel - as long as you've got somewhere to charge it up every day. It will be expensive, though.
Mini John Cooper Works Countryman
A rapid 0-62mph acceleration time of 6.5sec, should mean that this version feels as quick as its go-faster stripes suggest when it goes on sale this Spring.

Mini Countryman History 

  • February 2017 Mini Countryman due to go on sale in Britain.
  • Spring 2017 High-performance John Cooper Works model will be added to line-up
  • June 2017 SE Countryman plug-in hybrid to be added to range

Understanding Mini Countryman car names 

  • Countryman
  • Engine and trim level
    Cooper S
  • Driven wheels
    All4
  • Engine and trim level
    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 and SD cars are powered by diesel engines, while the S E 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), Cooper SD (2.0) Hybrid: S E

The entry-level Mini Cooper Countryman has a 136 horsepower petrol engine and official fuel economy figure of 51.4mpg and is available with a manual or automatic gearbox, as well as the option of All4 four-wheel drive, which reduces fuel economy to 47.1 mpg.

Faster and more powerful is the Cooper S which has a larger petrol engine and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.5sec - two seconds faster than the standard Cooper. You will have to put up with worse fuel economy, though. Official figures state 45.6mpg, but it wouldn't be surprising if that actually turns out to be closer to 35mpg in real-world driving.

That's why the diesel models are expected to be popular. The Cooper D is faster than the petrol-powered Cooper but offers much better fuel economy, even if the official figure of 65.7mpg is wildly optimistic.

The Cooper SD looks to offer the best blend of performance and economy, though, with a 0-62mpg time just 0.2sec slower than the Cooper S and respectable fuel economy of 61.4mpg - based on offical figures.

The Mini John Cooper Works (JCW) will provide the ultimate Countryman performance but dismal efficiency, but may be worth overlooking in favour of the S E hybrid, which will arrive in summer promising acceleration from 0-62mph in 6.8sec (just 0.3 seconds slower than the JCW), thanks to its ability to combine power from the electric motor and petrol engine, as well as class-leading fuel economy.

We don't yet know how the extra weight of the hybrid's battery will affect its agility, so it's worth waiting to see what the verdict is, if this is important.

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

Cooper (All4)

Petrol

51.4mpg (46.3mpg)

126hp

9.6s (9.8s)

126mph (122mph)

Cooper D (All4)

Diesel

65.7mpg (58.9mpg)

150hp

8.9s (8.8s)

129mph (127mph)

Cooper S (All4)

Petrol

45.6mpg (40.4mpg)

192hp

7.5s (7.3s)

140mph (138mph)

Cooper SD (All4)

Diesel

61.4mpg (57.6mpg)

190hp

7.7s (7.4s)

137mph (135mph)

John Cooper Works

Petrol

38.2mpg

231hp

6.5s

145mph

S E All4

Hybrid

134.5mpg

224hp

6.8s

123mph

Mini Countryman Trims 

Cooper, Cooper S, John Cooper Works

The Mini Countryman is initially launched with two trim levels – Cooper and Cooper S – which come with petrol or diesel options. The John Cooper Works and S E hybrid will follow later.

Mini has uprated the standard equipment in the Countryman compared to the previous model, so the Cooper (and diesel Cooper D) comes with 16in alloy wheels, sat-nav, Bluetooth for wireless phone connectivity, DAB digital radio, rear parking sensors, and a 6.5-inch dashboard screen.

The Cooper S is set up to feel sportier, with firmer suspension that should make the Countryman feel a little more nimble but less smooth. It has larger 17in alloy wheels and can be identified by the scoop on top of the bonnet and sports seats inside.

The majority of Mini buyers will pay £2,980 for the Chilli Pack, which includes automatic air conditioning, sports seats that are part-trimmed in leather and heated, and brighter LED headlights.

The Media Pack (£950) includes an upgraded satellite navigation display (8.8-inch). Other packs and options include leather seats, more expensive audio system, head-up display, rear-view camera, sliding rear seats that allow you to adjust rear legroom and boot space, and a picnic bench that folds out of the boot.

Mini Countryman Reliability and warranty 

There's no evidence to of the Mini Countryman's reliability yet, but the company's other cars are below average when it comes to faults and niggles.

It was 29th out of 32 manufacturers in last year's Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey.

The Countryman has the company's standard three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, which is on a par with its premium rivals and most other brands – apart from Kia and Hyundai, which offer seven years and five years, respectively, on models such as the Sportage and Tuscon.

Used Mini Countryman 

The new Countryman goes on sale in February, so there are no used examples available to compare prices.

However, the previous-generation Countryman proved to be a popular model for Mini, so there should be a healthy, but competitive, market for second-hand cars, with fairly strong used values for sellers. Bargains should therefore be hard to come by, especially in the first few years after the Countryman goes on sale.