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Mini Countryman Review

8 / 10
6 November 2023
Mini Countryman review front three quarter

The Mini Countryman offers all the benefits of the Mini hatch on a larger scale.

It's usefully practical, while still being fun to drive.

What we like:
  • Fun to drive
  • Practical for its size
  • Frugal plug-in hybrid
What we don't like:
  • Confusing trim levels
  • Desirable features are optional extras
  • Slightly awkward styling

Should I buy a Mini Countryman?

The Mini Countryman has stretched the Mini brand further than ever before. If you love the Mini way of life and need to carry actual people or things, the Countryman is the model for you.

It features familiar Mini styling, with rounded headlights and bold curves – although you might argue it’s not quite as cohesive as the Mini hatchback. The Countryman is bigger and taller than the rest of the Mini range, so it isn’t quite as quick on its feet, but it’s still better to drive than the vast majority of SUVs in this class. Add in impressive practicality for its size and a high-quality interior and the Countryman has a lot to like.

Interior and technology

The interior is familiar from other Mini models, with a large circular zone taking centre stage. It now features a touchscreen in every model, with shortcut buttons underneath, and models with ambient lighting get a disco-like experience as the circle’s border illuminates. Some cars get a digital instrument cluster too, while all recent cars get sat nav and Apple CarPlay as standard.

Mini has changed the equipment levels several times throughout the Countryman’s time on sale, so make sure to check the spec closely. Older cars saw some desirable features relegated to the options list so they may not be fitted to used cars.

Whichever trim level you get, you’re guaranteed to have materials that look and feel great. The Countryman is one of the better small SUVs in this area, and it certainly feels on a par with the Audi Q2, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA.


Considering the Mini Countryman is shorter than cars like the Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3, practicality is very impressive indeed. The boot is deep and square and, at 450 litres, is a very usable size. It’s also more than double the space you get in a three-door Mini hatch and includes a deep underfloor storage area.

Rear-seat space is also pretty decent. The Countryman’s boxy shape means there’s plenty of headroom, while legroom and kneeroom is also generous unless either the driver or rear-seat passenger is particularly tall. It’ll be a squeeze to fit three adults across the rear bench, but that’s the same in many small SUVs.

Engines and performance

Diesel engines were phased out in early 2020 so, if you’re buying a Countryman built since then, you’ll need to put petrol in it. There are three purely petrol engines and one plug-in hybrid, featuring a petrol engine with an electric motor backing it up. The latter also has a battery that can store enough energy to power the car for up to 31 miles without starting the engine – although you’ll probably see an electric range in the teens in real-world driving.

Otherwise, the three petrols – called Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works (JCW) – are all good choices. Power increases as you go up the range, with the Countryman JCW likely to appeal to performance-hungry family car drivers. If you’re not too bothered about blitzing away from the lights, the entry-level Cooper still offers nippy enough acceleration and much better fuel economy.

Driving and comfort

With an unashamedly sporty bent, the Countryman has a fairly firm suspension setup. Despite this, it’s usually not uncomfortable – it’ll let you know the bumps are there but it filters out most of the harshness. The John Cooper Works version is rather more firm, and you may find it a bit bumpy over uneven surfaces.

While the smaller Mini hatchback is noticeably more nimble than the Countryman, Mini’s SUV doesn’t embarrass itself. It’s stable and secure on fast roads, agile through tight corners and nippy off the line, making it more enjoyable to drive than rivals like the Lexus UX and Volkswagen T-Roc.

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