Review

MINI Countryman hatchback

Price  £17,125 - £30,915

MINI Countryman hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Generous boot space
  • Economical engines
  • Still fun to drive
Cons
  • High-spec versions are expensive
  • Uncomfortable ride
  • Cheap-feeling interior

At a glance

The greenest
One D 5dr £18,125
The cheapest
One 5dr £17,125
The fastest
John Cooper Works ALL4 5dr £29,010
Top of the range
Special Edition SD ALL4 Auto 5dr £30,915

"The MINI Countryman isn't the most practical crossover in the world, but it's fun to drive and quite cheap to run."

The MINI Countryman is aimed at buyers who like the style and image of the MINI hatchback but need a more practical car with more space inside. The Countryman's SUV-like proportions mean it also has some of the crossover appeal that is proving so popular, and although its shape is arguably a compromised version of the modern MINI hatchback, it's one many are likely to accept in order to buy into the brand in a manner that better suits their lifestyles.

The Countryman finds itself up against a wide range of competition; which of its rivals you may want to consider will depend on what exactly you like most about the car. The Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Yeti have the same crossover credentials, with a raised driving position, spacious interiors and great visibility, whereas the Audi A3 Sportback delivers similar space but also the upmarket, stylish interior and badge appeal.

MINI was one of the first brands to push the idea of car personalisation, offering a vast array of colours, graphics, alloy wheel designs, styling packs and accessories to enable customers to set their cars apart from other MINIs on the road. The Countryman is no different, with plenty of extas to choose from. There are several bundles available too; they contain combinations of some of the most popular options at a reduced price.

MINIs have rightfully garnered a reputation for being good fun to drive and despite the Countryman's slightly unwieldy, tall shape compared to the MINI hatchback, it still proves enjoyable on a twisty road. This does come at the expense of some comfort, as the suspension is very firm to stop the car leaning in corners. The Countryman is available with MINI's ALL4 four-wheel drive system, which gives you even more grip in corners and when roads are slippery.

The option of four-wheel drive and the SUV-inspired look of the Countryman may allude to off-road adventure but it's a car best kept away from challenging terrain. The engine range is reasonably economical as a whole and performance is good, with the sporty, top-of-the-range John Cooper Works capable of 0-62mph in seven seconds. The most basic diesel Countryman model, the One D, was withdrawn from sale in 2015 because so many people were opting for the higher-spec Cooper D, so that the latter is now the most economical Countryman.

If a new car isn’t a pressing issue, you may decide to wait until 2016 when a new Countryman is set for launch. The current model is actually based on the previous MINI underpinnings, while the new one will use the ‘UKL1’ platform, which already forms the basis of the standard MINI hatchback and Clubman, as well as the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.

Want to know which we think are the best SUVs on the market? Check out our video below:

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.2 / 5

Efficient engines mean fairly low running costs across the MINI Countryman range

Engines, drive & performance

3 / 5

The MINI Countryman is surprisingly good fun to drive, but not as entertaining as the hatchback

Interior & comfort

3.3 / 5

Suspension in the MINI Countryman is firm compared to more comfortable rivals

Practicality & boot space

3.4 / 5

The MINI Countryman is the most practical MINI by far, but lags behind some rivals

Reliability & safety

3.1 / 5

High-quality interior not reflected in the MINI Countryman's poor Driver Power score

What the others say

3.7 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"Inside, there's MINI's trademark chrome toggle switches and huge central speedometer, plus the new Centre Rail which holds cups, sunglasses and phones. The interior isn’t perfect, though. Some plastics in out-of-the-way places feel a little cheap for a model that starts at £22,030, and the aircraft-inspired handbrake lever takes some getting used to."
3 / 5
"The Countryman blends the retro style that Mini buyers love with enough practicality for a small family. All versions are frugal and well equipped."
4 / 5
"MINI is the latest to jump on to the crossover bandwagon insisting that its new creation, the Countryman, is definitely not a 4x4 and absolutely not a hatchback. It's a 'crossover' and no argument. Of course, the motivation behind all this is the predicted sales that it might achieve."
"Your first impressions will match ours: it's big. Eye-rubbingly big; this is a MINI with remarkable height, prominent front end, bulbous rear; from the roofline to the lights, everything about it is, well, big."
What owners say 
4.1391428538731
4.1 /5 based on 70 reviews
60%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
11 Apr 2016
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