4.1 out of 5 4.1
Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Familiar MINI cheekiness in a grown-up package

MINI Countryman SUV (17 on) - rated 4.1 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £24,295 - £37,880
Lease from new From £253 p/m View lease deals
Used price £11,400 - £31,285
Used monthly cost £285 - £781
Fuel Economy 32.1 - 166.2 mpg
Road tax cost £30 - £240
Insurance group 15 - 38 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Appealing SUV styling
  • Impressive interior quality
  • Good fun to drive

CONS

  • Many rivals roomier
  • Fidgety ride quality
  • Expensive optional extras

MINI Countryman SUV rivals

Written by Keith WR Jones on

Given that the first-generation MINI Countryman wasn’t BMW's finest work, the company would have been hard-pushed not to significantly improve on it with this Mk2 version. Happily, it has succeeded.

>> We rate the best hybrid SUVs for 2020

While the original Countryman looked like a conventional MINI Hatch that had endured a long period of confinement in a pie factory, the second generation is much more it's own car. Yes, it's bristling with familiar design cues, but the proportions, shapes and detailing aren't like other MINIs, either contemporary or historic.

Self-evidently much more of an SUV rather than just a tall hatchback this time around, the bodywork looks more muscular, with greater definition and robustness. There are roof rails, chiselled edges, gapier grilles and headlamps that look like rounded-off rectangles rather than cutesy circles.

Good quality Countryman interior

For the Mk2 Countryman, MINI made the tailgate smaller, and electrically operated, either by a button or a foot wiggle under the rear bumper. The tidy loadspace volume is some 100 litres larger than before, and incorporates a nifty option lurking beneath the floor; a 'picnic bench' which folds out without fuss to provide a padded cushion on which to perch while changing into your walking boots, and an extra anti-dog-claw flap of material to protect the sill paintwork.

On board, much of the symphony of plastics which dominated the first Countryman has been replaced by plusher, BMW-esque fittings, including the large circular-framed multimedia area, housing a choice of 6.5- or 8.8-inch screen, the latter being a touch-operated variety.

MINI claims that the Countryman improves on the standard equipment levels of its predecessor to the tune of some £1,900 model-for-model; kit includes such goodies as the roof rails, sat-nav, a rear-view camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, DAB radio and cruise control.

Wide range of engines

Powering the Countryman line-up is a range of all-turbo engines found elsewhere in other MINIs and BMWs. Cooper models feature a 1.5 litre, 136hp, three-cylinder petrol, while the Cooper S has a 2.0-litre, 192hp, four-cylinder motor. Performance enthusiasts will be keen to know that there's once again a John Cooper Works - JCW - flagship model packing a 306hp punch and a 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds.

Diesel fans are restricted to the 2.0-litre 150hp Cooper D since the 190hp Cooper SD was discontinued.

If economy's at the forefront of your mind then there’s also plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Countryman Cooper S E, which combines the 1.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor power to deliver range-topping performance of 0-62mph in 6.8 seconds, while boasting of an impressive fuel consumption figure of to 156.9mpg.

Every variant is also available with All4 all-wheel drive - standard on Cooper S E and JCW models - capable of directing up to 100% of power to either the front or rear wheels, depending on how much traction they have.

Drives like a MINI should

Helped by a slightly longer wheelbase - the distance between the front and rear wheels - the ride's better than before, but not brilliant. Though a hint more suppleness has been built-in, there's still a deal of thumping over imperfections in the road and the car never really settles. Its restlessness on poorer surfaces is especially noticeable at pottering-about speeds.

The steering feels well-weighted - this is particularly pleasing as speeds rise, and seems a fitting accompaniment to the bulkier dimension of the car. Given its greater heft and added ground clearance it's no surprise to discover that the Countryman handles very much in the manner of an enlarged version of the MINI Hatch - essentially, that's what its underpinnings are. All-wheel drive adds a useful degree of extra traction.

Revised Countryman line-up from 2018

Along with the rest of the MINI range, the Countryman line-up was given a tweak late in 2018 to incorporate new trim levels - Classic, Sport and Exclusive, each available with the Cooper, Cooper D, Cooper S and Cooper SE engines. You can still blow a fortune on extra-cost options, but many of these are now bundled into packages rather than as standalone features.. 

Rivalling the likes of upmarket compact SUVs such as the Audi Q2, Lexus UXMercedes-Benz GLA, and Volvo XC40, as well as the closely related BMW X1, the Countryman has its work cut out convincing customers that it's the cute crossover of choice.

So is it the one to have? Read our full MINI Countryman review to find out.

MINI Countryman SUV rivals

Other MINI Countryman models: