Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Should you buy one?

On cold, hard rational grounds, it’s an easy car to live with, so yes. But it’s an opinion divider. If the brand is your bag, and a swelling family demands a swelling car, then MINI has at last conjured an offering fit for purpose.

Further adding to its appeal are that many of its key rivals – the Audi Q2BMW X1Lexus UX and Mercedes-Benz GLA – while good, are also flawed. Their pros and cons cancel each other out. No, the MINI’s biggest problem is that we’d recommend the Volvo XC40 over it – it’s a better car all-round, yet loses little in quirkiness. 

However, if you’ve got your heart set on a MINI Countryman, we’d steer you towards the all-round appeal of the Cooper with the Classic package to keep the smaller 16-inch alloy wheels. Go for the automatic, but stick with front-wheel drive. Plus, in a bolder colour, together with the optional Comfort Plus and Navigation Plus packs, you’ve got a sweet not-so-mini MINI.

What we like

The distinctive MINI styling works well married to the more upright design of an SUV, and that helps shape a practical interior, too. The cabin feels of high quality, as well. There are loads of powertrain options – so long as you’re happy with a petrol engine – and the JCW version makes for a quirky alternative to the usual hot hatches on the market. All versions are good fun to drive.

What we don’t like

The interior design is compromised by the retention of the big circular section in the middle – it doesn’t look great. Aside from that, those that don’t really appreciate the agile nature of the Countryman’s chassis may find the firm ride too much to bear.

Further reading

>> How good is the battery powered MINI Electric? Read our review

>> Find out if the MINI Clubman estate is the compact wagon of choice

>> Our Parkers star ratings explained