The Countryman is the largest Mini to date with four doors and plenty of space to accommodate five adults. Packed with stylish features and characteristics that defines the Mini brand name, the Countryman is available with 4WD.
The goodClassic styling with bags of room inside and ALL4
The badQuite pricey as you move through the trim levels
MINI Countryman John Cooper Works ALL4 (2020)
MINI describes its Countryman model as the largest in its line-up making it ideal for families who live for adventure and when you add in the John Cooper Works factor it really cranks up the appeal.
The Countryman is big, bold and beautiful, but another vital factor for fans of the car maker is that it still delivers MINI driving fun through and through.
The latest Countryman has grown in stature too making it more viable as a practical family car with ample room for four occupants – or five at a bit of a squeeze. It boasts all-wheel-drive capabilities and, with a choice dazzling paintwork designs, it’s a vehicle that’s guaranteed to turn heads wherever it goes.
Our five-door model was in a striking British Racing Green shade with a red roof and plenty of red stripes and trim, including the mirror caps, front grill surround, side skirts, brake calipers and front vents. Factor in black roof rails, twin tailpipes and 19-inch John Cooper Works two-tone alloys and this is a MINI that simply cannot be ignored.
Move inside and the car oozes MINI DNA throughout with the traditional giant circular dial housing most of the infotainment systems, plus toggle switches to activate the ignition, drive modes and other features. There is a sports steering wheel, ambient lighting, circular instrumentation dials and lots of JCW badging. Most of the materials are black in colour, but there are once again flashes of red trimmings to jazz things up.
The sports seats are comfortable and supportive with ample adjustment available to help find the perfect driving position. The driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility and there’s a wealth of on-board technology to explore. Features include full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay, a navigation system, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging, plus lots more besides.
Our Countryman JCW test car was priced at £36,145 (£39,525 with options) and was powered by a 2.0-litre petrol engine delivering 306hp and 450Nm of torque mated to a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox. It could sprint from 0-62mph in just 5.1 seconds and maxed out at 155mph. According to official figures it can deliver combined fuel economy of 32.1-34.9mpg with carbon emissions of 188g/km (WLTP).
So, looking at those performance figures, it would be fair to assume the MINI Countryman JCW is quite a powerhouse, delivering all the driving dynamics associated with the brand. Yes, it’s much bigger than the standard models we are used to seeing in order to accommodate families and all their kit, but it still handles really well.
The acceleration through the automatic gearbox is beautifully smooth and swift with paddles for extra driver engagement. It’s a car that is poised and balanced out on the country lanes with excellent grip thanks to the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system that calculates the optimal torque for each wheel, helping you power your way out of tough situations. That means corners and tight bends can be attacked with confidence.
The steering is nicely weighted with ample feedback and the suspension, although quite firm, does a good job of smoothing out the rougher road surfaces along the way.
The Countryman effortlessly eats up the motorway miles and the impressive agility makes it an ideal car for city dwellers too. But it’s really out on the B roads where this MINI excels as it blasts its way along the quieter country lanes gripping the surface like glue. Bursts of pace to overtake slower moving vehicles are easily achievable and there is a constant stream of power on tap from this punchy engine.
There are different drive modes called Green, Mid and Sport that alter the way the car reacts and, as you switch through these settings, the outer rim on the main dial changes colour from green to yellow and finally, to red.
When it comes to storage, the MINI’s boot capacity ranges from 450 litres to 1,390 litres with the rear seats dropped flat, and there are numerous convenient storage options scattered throughout the car, including a glovebox, door bins, cup holders, central cubby box and trays.
All in all, when you factor in a comprehensive list of safety equipment and driver assistance aids, the MINI Countryman JCW is quite the all-round model for the active family that doesn’t want to compromise on style, performance or standards.
MINI Cooper D ALL4 Countryman
MINI has described its latest Countryman car as the ‘biggest and most versatile model to be launched in the brand’s 57-year history’ and after a week whizzing around the countryside in one, I have to say I totally agree.
For despite featuring the largest dimensions of any MINI, the five-seater still oozes all the characteristics associated with the marque and that translates into fun, fun and yes, even more fun!
The MINI Countryman is guaranteed to draw attention from onlookers and the test car was supplied in British Racing Green which certainly helped it stand out from the crowd. It carried a £25,450 price-tag, but a number of optional extras bumped up the asking price to £35,740 which is quite a steep fee for a MINI. In fact, it’s into Land Rover Discovery Sport territory. But for that outlay, you will get a car that is packed with lots of premium kit and drives like a demon.
Eye-catching features include 18-inch black alloys, a contrasting black roof with black door mirror caps, adaptive LED headlights, roof rails, tinted windows plus the word COUNTRYMAN spread proudly across its rear end.
Move inside and the cabin is truly charming. The layout is elegant with lots of upmarket premium materials. It has a clutter-free feel to it, yet there is bundles of technology to explore. The Countryman boasted leather sports seats that can be heated, an excellent sat nav system, Bluetooth connectivity, wireless charging, automatic air conditioning and plenty more besides. And, of course, as is MINI’s tradition there’s the array of toggle switches.
Despite its ultra-modern design, the car still remains true to its heritage with the huge central dial that is a not-so-subtle tribute to bygone days when the circular dial contained the speedo. Now it houses the likes of the sat nav and multi-media system and is surrounded by an LED ring that changes colour according to driving modes and performance, so it’s definitely a modern twist on an older feature.
The new Countryman is 20cm longer than its predecessor and the wheelbase has grown by 7.5cm and that translates into extra room inside. The second row consists three full-sized seats and the rear door openings have been enlarged making it much easier to get in and out of the car. Back seat passengers are also treated to an extra 5cm of knee room and this trio of seats can be shifted back and forth up to 13cm so leg or boot space can be maximised accordingly.
And talking of boot space, the new Countryman has a 450-litre capacity which can be increased to 1,309 litres with the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. The boot is accessed via an electric tailgate and one of the options fitted to the car was a picnic bench costing £250 that folds out from the luggage compartment and provides seating for two people.
In addition, there are practically-sized door pockets in the front and back that are big enough to hold one litre bottles, there are two cup holders, a glovebox and a central storage compartment for safely hiding away bits and bobs.
The test car was powered by a 2.0-litre, 150PS diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. It could sprint from 0-62mph in 8.8 seconds and maxed out at 127mph. According to official figures, the combined fuel economy is 58.9mpg with carbon emissions of 132g/km.
So, the latest MINI Countryman certainly looks the bee’s knees and is packed to bursting with top notch kit, but how does it perform when put to the test? The answer is very well indeed. Admittedly, it doesn’t have the same dynamism of some its smaller siblings in the MINI range, but for a compact SUV this car is a delight to throw around. Put the car into sport mode and it seems to burst into life with lots more driver feedback along with sharper driving dynamics.
MINI has always been judged on its outstanding handling based on its go-karting heritage and although the Countryman is a large unit, it still delivers a performance-packed drive. The acceleration is nice and sharp, the body roll virtually non-existent and the road-holding is flawless. And when you factor in the ALL4 all-wheel-drive set-up then even an unexpected mood swing from Mother Nature won’t knock you off course.
All in all, the Countryman certainly feels larger and heavier to drive than other MINI models but it still exudes all the same charm that has been winning over fans both before and after BMW took over the reins.
MINI Cooper D ALL4 Countryman 2.0 Auto
The British public has had a healthy and long-standing love affair with the MINI over the years and there has been a vast range of models to choose from including open-tops, estates and sporty coupes.
But there’s no denying which model wears the king of the MINI line-up crown – the mighty Countryman – the first model to boast four doors, five seats and the option of all-wheel-drive.
Yet despite its beefier proportions, the Countryman priced at £22,670 (plus £4,605 optional extras), still oozes the MINI charm and DNA through and though.
It looks amazing from any angle thanks to 17-inch alloys, sweeping headlight clusters, a powerful-looking grille, a large tailgate, along with distinctive added protection around the wheels and side sills highlighting the car’s increased ground clearance and ability to wander from the Tarmac if necessary.
And once you take your seat behind the wheel it takes all of a nanosecond to familiarise yourself with the instantly-recognise MINI interior with the ever-present circular theme and toggle switches throughout.
There is, of course, the giant circular dial in the centre of the dashboard housing the speedo, fuel gauge and all the car’s techno systems in the middle. These include the sat nav, CD and multi-media settings, Bluetooth connectivity, radio, vehicle information and plenty more besides. The door mirrors are oval-shaped, as is the rear-view mirror and even the chrome door handles are semi-circular.
Everywhere you look you are met with great quality craftsmanship with the finest materials used throughout. For example the seats, which can be heated, are made from beautiful leather and the dashboard is soft-touch.
And when it comes to driving dynamics and performance, the Countryman lives up to the very high MINI standards with the 2.0-litre diesel engine delivering plenty of power and punch. The car can sprint from 0-62mph in 11.8 seconds and has a top speed of 109mph. According to official figures it can return a very creditable average fuel economy of 47.9mpg and has carbon emissions of 155g/km.
And the MINI Countryman is a still very willing to prove it’s a car for all eventualities. In busy town centres it weaves through the crowds with ease and despite being the largest MINI on sale, it is beautifully nimble and very easy to manoeuvre and park in tight spaces.
Then out on the faster motorways it can hold its own alongside fast moving traffic with ample power on tap as it accelerates through the six-speed automatic gearbox. But it’s the twisting country roads where the MINI Countryman really bursts into life thanks to its firmly planted road-holding and responsive and sure steering. This means sharp bends can be attacked with confidence and for a slightly edgier ride with enhanced driving dynamics you can select a sport driving mode.
I did find there was a little road surface noise when pushed particularly hard, but it was not really that bad and a very small price to pay for such a fun-packed driving experience.
And when it comes to practicality, this particular model really shines. In the past, MINI has come under fire from some critics for the lack of storage space, but the Countryman can accommodate 450 litres of luggage which can be increased to 1,170 litres with the rear seats folded flat.
All in all, the MINI Countryman is a super all-rounder. It oozes all the MINI charm and characteristics one would expect, it drives beautifully and can actually store luggage these days too. And the all-wheel-drive capabilities mean it will keep you going no matter what Mother Nature chucks at you.
Mini Cooper S ALL4 Countryman
Mini’s latest and largest model – the Countryman – somehow manages to encapsulate everything that is great about the brand and take it one step further.
All the traditional characteristics are maintained and from the outside, the Countryman looks every inch a Mini.
But, this model is the biggest yet with four doors and the room to easily seat four adults in comfort. You may not associate the term legroom for back seat passengers with Mini- well, now you can. For all occupants are treated to an abundance of room.
And that’s not all. The model supplied for my test drive even boasted four-wheel-drive to cope with the flexibility of lifestyle demands that buyers are looking for these days.
However, the Countryman has managed to keep all those traditional Mini characteristics and touches that we have come to love over the years. These include the instantly recognisable roofline with roof rails, the hexagonal radiator grille and the prominent headlight units integrated into the bonnet.
The leather seats are very comfortable and all dials are bright and clearly marked. In the centre of the dashboard there is a massive – and I mean massive – circular readout which houses the speedo and sat nav and then there is the smaller traditional rev counter above the multi-functional steering wheel.
Creature comforts are plentiful and include air con, an audio system with DAB radio, the Mini navigation system, front seat heaters, automatically dimming mirrors and plenty more besides.
So the latest Mini has great looks and great features, but what about the drive? Well, hang onto your hat – that’s all I can say. The 1.6-litre petrol-driven engine just loves to cut loose. Out on the faster country lanes, it hugs the bends with ease and the acceleration through the six-speed manual gearbox is superbly smooth and efficient.
All-round visibility is very good and despite being crammed to bursting with top notch gadgets and specifications, the overall length of the Countryman means it is still great for parking in smaller spaces.
Many models are designed for five adults, but the test drive model was a four-seater with a centre rail running through it that can be personalised for different purposes such as cup holders, sunglasses holder, music players, power chargers, mobile phones. This rail runs from front to back so each item can easily slide to where it’s needed.
And as one would expect, the safety features packed into the Countryman are very comprehensive with six airbags, dynamic stability control, dynamic traction control, run-flat tyres, a tyre pressure warning system, cornering brake control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution and loads more.
So, it has the looks, the performance and all the gadgets you could dream of, there has to be a catch. Well, to be honest the only downside would be the asking price £22k or £28.5k with all the trimmings. It is a lot of money, but in my opinion – worth every penny.