Top Mini Countryman Model Picks:
- Most sensible: Mini Countryman Cooper D
- Most fun: Mini Countryman John Cooper Works
- Don’t bother: Mini Countryman Cooper ALL4 auto
- Must-have tech: Navigation System XL with 8.8-inch screen, Harmon Kardon stereo upgrade
It’s a Mini but not as you know it and that, says Evo, is a problem since the Mini Countryman ‘moves further away from the characteristics that have allowed even the least mini-Minis to put a smile on your face.’
What the problem? Simply that the compact SUV is ‘a more mature, refined product.’ Which means, says What Car?, that it has ‘a bigger body, a plusher interior and more standard kit’ than its predecessor. Not bad, then.
There’s no boring entry-level One version. Instead, it’s Coopers all the way: six of them, ranging from a 136bhp three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol that can do 51mpg without, says Carbuyer, ‘being unbearably slow’, to a 228bhp John Cooper Works that can do 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds. In between, a couple of diesels capable of up to 61.4mpg and a hybrid that can do 134mpg but is ‘faster than the Cooper S petrol’. ALL4 four-wheel is an option.
Evo prefers the new Toyota’s CH-R which, it says, ‘has the nimble handling, precise steering and throttle adjustability you found in a Mini back in the day.’
Perhaps Auto Express has got its Minis mixed up because it reckons the Countryman ‘still has plenty of Mini DNA.’
What Car? likes the driving position and although it feels more like a conventional hatchback than taller rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, says ‘visibility is good.’ All versions get a digital radio and you can specify what is, in effect, BMW’s superb iDrive infotainment system, ‘but it’s expensive’.
Build quality is better than the old model and the car is roomier, too. So roomy, says Carbuyer, it ‘makes a very versatile family car’. It’s particularly impressed with the spacious rear cabin and a boot that’s 100 litres bigger than before.
The Cooper D is Auto Express’s favourite and it’s hard to disagree. It’s expensive but discounts average 8%, which helps. However, it’s all about PCPs these days, so be sure to haggle a good deposit contribution with low-rate finance.
Mini Countryman Rivals:
Chunky styling, lots of equipment and an engine range that includes very economical diesels plus a rip-snorting AMG version, but this posh SUV is let down by a high price, a cramped cabin and a below-par ride and handling experience.
Peugeot’s new SUV has set the cat among the pigeons with a premium look inside and out, good refinement, and efficient diesel and petrol engines but some testers reckon it’s dull to drive and the rear cabin is tight on space.
Inevitably, it’s the little Audi SUV’s build quality and strong resale values that attract the highest prise but it’s fun to drive, too. Is it spacious? The jury’s split on that one: some saying it is, others saying some rivals are roomier.
Spacious, fun to drive, good value for money – according to the reviewers, the new Ateca can do no wrong. Oh, wait a minute, the interior is dull and not especially versatile, and basic versions feel a little stripped out, so perhaps not the shoo-in they suggest.
Best Mini Countryman review: Autoexpress 4/5
Mini Countryman (2010-16): Think small, not as well built, less sophisticated and less refined than the new one – but a lot cheaper, and if Evo is to be believed, a tad more faithful to the Mini philosophy.