The Mini Countryman SUV is the first subcompact crossover style of vehicle produced by BMW under the Mini marque, first launched in 2010. It was then given several facelifts before the launch of the second generation model in 2017.
After an update in 2020, the current Mini Countryman feels like the grown up and more serious sibling to the Mini hatchback. It's now the biggest Mini that's ever been in production and a similar size to higher SUV models like the Nissan Qashqai and the Audi Q2.
Our Mini Countryman review will guide you through the current models and help you decide which specification and equipment is best for you and your needs.
The design of the Mini Countryman has been divisive since it's initial launch, primarily due to the size and shaping of it, with many people disliking the squared off shape at the back and bulkier proportions.
The Countryman was facelifted in 2020 to address some of the highlighted issues, including a new radiator grille, front and rear bumper, and the Union Jack tail lights that are instantly recognisable as belonging to Mini.
Mini does give you the option to change many of the aesthetic options on the exterior, allowing you to personalise the car to your own taste. This includes a range of exterior paint colours, changing the size and styling of the alloys, choosing different colours for the bonnet stripes and mirror caps, and adding accessories.
The interior of the Mini Countryman is equally as original as the exterior and it's definitely one of the most stylish on the market.
The 8.8 inch display screen in the centre of the console keeps Mini's unique circular design and now houses the full infotainment system and integrated sat nav. This is paired with an all new digital dashboard that was introduced in all models from March 2020 onwards and really pulls the interior together and modernises the new Countryman.
You've got the option to add in extras such as a rear centre armrest, darkened rear windows, or the Premium Plus Pack which upgrades the sound system, adds a panoramic glass sunroof, and a rear view camera for a start.
There's personalisation in the inside of the Mini Countryman too which really adds to the quality of the car overall. If you don't like the standard cloth seats you can upgrade to a leather or leatherette instead (depending on which model you've chosen) or choose a different style of alloys to suit your own style better.
As well as being stylish, the Mini Countryman can also be a practical family car. It's 274mm longer and 273mm wider than the 5 door Mini Hatch which makes it far comfier to five passengers. It's slightly larger in dimensions than the Audi Q2 but offers roughly the same amount of headroom.
There's also plenty of option to get comfortable too. Both front seats have manual height adjustment and opting for the Cooper S engine will upgrade you to sports seats which are more contoured to support you as you travel.
The rear seats fold in a 40/20/40 configuration which makes it much easier on the odd occasion you need to carry a full car of passengers and still be able to accommodate longer items like skis.
The boot space itself holds 450 litres with all seats in use although this is reduced to 405 litres if you opt for the Mini Countryman PHEV due to the space needed for the battery. For comparison, the Audi Q2 has a capacity of 405 litres at normal capacity and the Mini Hatch only offers 278 litres as a five door.
The Mini Countryman has joined many other cars in ditching diesel engines from its range in favour of a plug in hybrid and two petrol engines that are found elsewhere in the Mini line up.
The smaller petrol engine is 1.5 litre Cooper which offers 136HP and 44.8 mpg, not a terrible offering in the slightest. It's also the same engine that you can find in the Mini Clubman and the Mini Hatch and has CO2 emissions of 144 g/km.
The second petrol engine is the Cooper S, a 2.0 litre capable of 178HP, again the same as is offered on others in the range and can give you up to 43.5mpg with 147 g/km of CO2 emissions.
The Mini Countryman PHEV is a great option for those who like the Mini Electric but need a little more room, allowing you to keep the space that the Countryman offers whilst utilising an electric motor with your 1.5 litre petrol engine. Thanks to the electric motor supplying power straight to all four wheels, you can take advantage of all wheel drive with the plug in hybrid. Both the Mini Countryman Cooper and Cooper S are front wheel drive cars only.
Mini estimates that it can give as much as 29.8 miles of full electric driving which is ideal for short journeys like the school run or nipping out to do the weekly shop. Overall you can expect a combined mpg of 156.9 and emissions as low as 41 g/km from opting for the hybrid but you'll need to weigh up if the additional £7785 is within budget.
There are three trim levels available for the Mini Countryman: the Classic, the Exclusive, and the Untamed Edition.
Mini have a strong set of standard equipment and features that come with the Countryman. This includes automatic start/stop with brake energy recuperation, engine designation on the back bumper, heated washer jets, automatic LED headlights, LED front fog lights, floor mats, digital instrument cluster, multifunction steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, daytime running lights, a rain sensor and rear parking sensors. They also include Mini's Media, Navigation, and Premium packs which give you a range of infotainment comfort equipment in the cabin.
The Classic then adds in Moonwalk Grey as the standard exterior paint colour, body colour roof and mirror caps, a sports steering wheel, and Satellite Grey headlining. Cooper models will have 16 inch alloys and standard cloth seats with a Hazy Grey interior. Cooper S models will have 17 inch alloys, sports seat with cloth upholstery, and Piano Black interior trim. Opting for a hybrid model gives a combination of these.
The Exclusive gives 19 inch alloys as standard but gives you the option to change to 18s if you prefer, silver roof and mirror caps, a Walknappa steering wheel with Mini YOURS badging, Mini YOURS lounge leather seats, Mini YOURS shaded silver trim, and anthracite headlining.
The Untamed Edition adds a lot of additional styling to the Countryman range including 18 inch Untamed alloy wheels, Momentum Grey exterior Paint, Piano Black exterior, All4 exterior styling in body colouring, roof and mirror caps in black, an Untamed Edition design 3D printed on side scuttles, an Untamed Edition logo on the rear window, and Untamed Edition side stripes on the doors. Inside you have anthracite headlining, door sill finishers with Untamed Edition design and logo, Untamed Edition floor mats, Highland Green leather upholstery, Untamed Edition illuminated interior styling, and a Walknappa steering wheel which also has the Untamed Edition logo.
Opting for a plug in hybrid will give you a type 2 charging cable, a three pin plug charging cable, an eDrive button, Mini Drive Modes, and preconditioning through the Mini App.
Mini do also offer the John Cooper Works as part of the Countryman line up, which we have reviewed separately.
The Mini Countryman has a five star safety rating from Euro NCAP which places it on par with similar models like the Volkswagen T Roc and T Cross or the Audi Q2 and performs better than the Vauxhall Mokka.
As standard the Mini Countryman comes with a great range of safety features and equipment. This includes an anti lock braking system, auto drive away locking, dead-locking function, dynamic stability control, and intelligent emergency calling which will send an automatic emergency call in the event of a collision.
Intelligent emergency calling is also referred to as Mini E Call and can be activated manually by the driver if necessary and will transmit the location of the vehicle and the severity of the impact if possible.
Mini provide a three year manufacturing warranty with all new vehicles which also includes Mini Emergency Service too. You'll also benefit from three years of Roadside Assistance cover which is accessible 24/7 365 days a year and Mini Accident Support (which is free to use for all Mini drivers.)
The Mini Countryman isn't the cheapest option for a small SUV/MPV vehicle but the brand name and quality that's been built over it's long history certainly makes it worth it.
Starting with the entry level Classic trim will see you spending £28,815, although this climbs to £31,290 or £36,600 if you opt for the larger petrol or hybrid engine options alone. Stepping up to the Exclusive trim will cost £32,025 and the Untamed Edition starts at £33,660.
As previously mentioned if you opt to change the engine this can dramatically change the price especially if choosing the greener plug in hybrid option. The other customisation options that Mini offer will also increase the cost from the base price of the car and model and it's definitely worth keeping an eye on.
If you cross over the £40,000 threshold you'll find yourself eligible for the so-called "luxury car tax" which adds an additional £355 onto the VED for the first five years of the car's life.
The Mini Countryman has been a unique offering for the small SUV market since its launch thanks to it's familiar retro styling combined with lots of extra space.
It's one of the best small SUV options available and a great investment for a family car thanks to the removal of the diesel engine from it's line up and replacement plug in hybrid version, keeping the Countryman current and suitable for the future.