MINI Countryman JCW Review & Prices

The Countryman JCW isn’t the last word in driver engagement, but it’s good fun, practical and has a super-cool interior

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RRP £41,575 - £46,775 Avg. Carwow saving £1,274 off RRP
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Reviewed by Tom Wiltshire after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • High-quality interior with cool display
  • Roomy
  • Quite good fun

What's not so good

  • Not as fast as previous model
  • Some materials not very family-friendly
  • Style over substance in some areas

Find out more about the MINI Countryman JCW

Is the Mini Countryman JCW a good car?

The Mini Countryman John Cooper Works is a small SUV with a sporting makeover. The Countryman itself being the bigger, more family-friendly variant of the iconic Mini hatch, you might wonder why it needs that fizzy, sporty character putting back into it - but the popularity of other fast, small SUVs like the Audi SQ2 or Volkswagen T-Roc R shows that these cars are really quite popular.

The Countryman JCW is certainly a long way from what many people consider a ‘real’ Mini - it’s a bit like a Victorian terraced house that’s had triple-glazing, a loft extension, and basement cinema installed. There’s way more room, more utility and improved performance, at the expense of some of its original character.

This model is longer and taller than the car it replaces, but doesn’t actually come with any more power. In fact, taking 5.4 seconds to get from 0-62mph means it’s actually marginally less quick than the old car, though that in no way makes it a slowcoach.

Plus, with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox, driving the Countryman JCW isn’t difficult at all - whether you’re using it for the school run and grocery shopping, or blasting down one of your favourite B-roads. There’s loads of grip, plenty of punch and several driving modes to tailor it to your liking.

A serious dose of style inside and out plus great performance, but it comes at the expense of some family friendliness

The biggest transformation from the previous Mini Countryman is to be found inside. Here, the Countryman JCW has an interior that’s unlike any other car on sale, with a fabric-covered dashboard dominated by a fully circular infotainment display. Cool design details and homages back to earlier Mini models feature in earnest, but don’t think practicality has been forgotten - there’s a sliding rear seat with plenty of space, and a 505-litre boot.

There are sporty touches, too, from lashings of ‘John Cooper Works’ badging, to red detailing both inside and outside. You get very supportive sports seats, and exclusive JCW wheels in either 19- or 20-inch sizes.

All sound good? Well, check out the latest Mini Countryman deals on Carwow, or you can find a great used deal on the previous model. Check out our other used Minis for sale, too, and remember that when the time comes for car-changing you can sell your old car right here on Carwow.

How much is the Mini Countryman JCW?

The MINI Countryman JCW has a RRP range of £41,575 to £46,775. However, with Carwow you can save on average £1,274. Prices start at £40,378 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £492.

Our most popular versions of the MINI Countryman JCW are:

Model version Carwow price from
2.0 John Cooper Works ALL4 5dr Auto £40,378 Compare offers

With a starting price of a little over £41,000, the Mini Countryman JCW is surprisingly good value among small, fast SUVs. Even the Volkswagen T-Roc R - from a supposedly less posh brand - is a few thousand pounds more expensive. The same goes for the Audi SQ2, while the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 is significantly more still.

John Cooper Works acts as its own trim level within the Countryman range, and it comes well stocked with adaptive LED headlights, keyless entry, front heated seats, a head-up display and more. For an additional £2,500 you can step up to ‘Level 2’ of the equipment packs, which adds driving assistance features, bigger wheels and a panoramic sunroof. 

Level 3 - a further £2,700 on top of that - adds electric front seats, even more driver assistance kit, an interior camera, Mini’s clever ‘Parking Assistant Plus’ that parks the car for you, and augmented reality navigation.

Performance and drive comfort

Stiff suspension doesn’t make speed bumps much fun but otherwise the Countryman is fun and easy to drive

In town

Despite being larger than its predecessor - and seeming positively massive for something labelled ‘Mini’ - the Countryman JCW isn’t a huge car in the great scheme of things, so it’s not difficult to thread through tight city streets. Good visibility from the upright windscreen and square windows helps, too.

The engine is quiet and powerful, and the gearbox excels at being unobtrusive at slow speeds. The bugbear is that the suspension is set up to be very sporty, and that means you feel every bump around town.

The infotainment screen needs a mention here too, as you’ll find yourself a little frustrated if you’re trying to follow the sat-nav through a crowded city that the information isn’t presented quite as clearly as you’d like. There’s an awful lot of information on the one display, and being circular means it’s sometimes a little awkwardly squashed in. We also don’t find the ‘augmented reality’ feature - where the car overlays directions onto a live camera feed - to be especially useful.

On the motorway

Here, the powerful engine and great gearbox once again combine to make driving pretty effortless. Not only can you get up to speed quickly and make decisive overtakes, but in top gear the engine is revving nice and low at the legal limit, boosting fuel economy and refinement.

The silence is spoiled a little by wind and road noise. The Countryman JCW’s wide tyres kick up quite a bit of roar from the tarmac, while its upright windscreen and large door mirrors make for a decent amount of wind noise. It’s not awful, by any stretch - and it’s more refined than a Volkswagen T-Roc R - but it’s noticeable.

The firm suspension is less of a problem on smooth motorways, though expect to feel the jolt of expansion joints or poor surfaces.

The Driving Assistant Plus comes with the Level 2 equipment pack, or it can be added later through the BMW store. It includes adaptive cruise control with stop & go, to take the sting out of stop/start traffic - as well as lane-keeping aids. 

On a twisty road

This is where the Mini Countryman JCW should excel, and in a way it does. It’s very easy to drive quickly, with loads of grip in the bends thanks to four-wheel drive and wide, sticky tyres. Put it into the sportiest of its many driving modes - named ‘Go-Kart’ - and the throttle response becomes sharper, the steering weightier, and the gearbox holds onto ratios for longer.

Leave the gearbox to its own devices and it’s pretty good, but you can take manual control if you like - and you’ll find changes to be very quick. Annoyingly, though, there’s no way to ‘lock’ it into manual mode, and after a while the car will reassert control and start changing gears itself again. This is very annoying if you want to hold it in one gear for a long time.

The Countryman JCW stays pretty level in the bends and the steering is accurate, so you can position the car just where you want it. But really keen drivers will find themselves craving just a bit more connection with the driving experience. There’s not much feedback through the steering wheel or seat base, and even at its most raucous the engine and exhaust doesn’t have the exciting noise you might hope for from a car badged as JCW.

Space and practicality

Plenty of space in the boot and legroom in the back seats, but not the best for three adults

The Countryman is the roomiest Mini you can buy, and growing over its predecessor means you benefit from even more space than before. There’s plenty of space in the front, and the sporty JCW seats are very adjustable as well as being both supportive and comfortable. There’s not a great deal of adjustability in the steering wheel, but you can at least have it anywhere you like - with no traditional instrument panel, there’s no danger of you blocking out useful information.

Door bins in the front aren’t the largest but they do have space to store a bottle of water, and there’s a wireless charging pad with a grippy surface to keep your phone safe and secure. A couple of cupholders and a slim space under the centre armrest provide storage for odds and ends, as does a posh-looking bin in the centre console that appears as if it should come out, but is in fact fixed in place.

Space in the back seats

Two adults can really get comfortable in the backseat, moreso than they can in an Audi SQ2 or Mercedes-AMG GLA. The rear bench even slides, allowing you to balance boot space and rear legroom. Three passengers will be a little bit squished, though, as the Countryman isn’t the widest car.

However, square rear doors that open nice and wide plus useful flip-up covers for the ISOFIX points mean that mounting child seats is an absolute doddle. Rear passengers benefit from a couple of cupholders in the centre armrest and a pair of USB-C charging ports.

Boot space

With up to 505 litres of space, the Countryman’s boot is a pretty useful size - easily besting the 355-litre Audi SQ2 or 445-litre Volkswagen T-Roc R. With the rear seats slid back, though, you get a more average 460 litres, and some of that capacity is underneath the flip-up boot floor.

Usefully, though, you can lock the boot floor against the rear seatbacks to make full use of the space, and when it’s down you get a nice square area with no ridge between the floor and the folded rear seat backs. Space with the seats down is a useful 1,530 litres. The tailgate is also the full width of the rear of the car, too, so it’s easy to fit bulky items in.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Circular screen and fabric dash look and feel the business, but may not be as usable everyday as you’d like

The dominating feature of the Mini Countryman’s interior is the infotainment display. It’s the first fully circular OLED screen fitted to a car, and it measures 9.4-inches in diameter.

It looks amazing, with almost no bezel, bright colours and a super-high resolution making it feel like something from a concept car. However, it has a lot to deal with - not only does it control the usual things like the sat-nav and media, but the top portion is given over to the instrumentation - like your speed and revs - while the lower portion has to hold the climate controls.

Add into this a rather busy interface and there’s quite a lot going on, so it’ll take some time before using it becomes second nature. Some features - like the really tiny on-screen buttons to change temperature - just feel awkward. 

You do get a head-up display as standard in the JCW, so you don’t need to totally rely on the screen. Physical switchgear is limited to what’s on the steering wheel, plus a small panel below the infotainment display with the car’s on/off toggle, a volume dial, the gear selector and a switch to change between different driving modes.

Another awkward moment comes when you try to use the round screen for square content. Mini’s own interface - such as the sat-nav - works quite well, but if you prefer to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto you’ll have to do so through quite an awkward window in the middle. Talk about a square peg in a round hole.

The interior trim is positively lovely. The dash and the tops of the doors are finished in intricately detailed fabric, while the seats have artificial leather bases and the same fabric at shoulder level. It feels great to the touch, and makes a fantastic change from the usual plastics you’d find in most SUVs - however, we wonder about its longevity, and how easy it’ll be to clean the crud of family life off it.

MPG, emissions and tax

The Countryman JCW’s sole engine is a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged petrol with 300hp. Thanks to all that power, and all-wheel drive, fuel economy drops to just 36.2mpg officially, while CO2 emissions are high at 177-188g/km. 

Make full use of all that performance and you’ll soon see that figure drop below 30mpg, though at a cruise it’s likely you’ll be able to come close to the official figure. However, those CO2 emissions mean that first year road tax is high, and company car tax will be similarly pricey.

Safety and security

Euro NCAP hasn’t yet tested the new Mini Countryman. However, it does share a lot of its technology with the BMW X1, which scored a full five stars back in 2022 - we’d expect the Countryman to achieve a fairly high score when it is tested.

You get plenty of driver assistance tech as standard - lane-keeping aids and adaptive cruise control come on all models, as does a blind-spot monitor which is usually an optional extra on most alternatives. Upgrading to the Level 2 or Level 3 option packs bring additional tech, but this is aimed more at driver comfort than safety.

Reliability and problems

Mini’s reputation for reliability isn’t faultless but it’s far from the worst, and sharing its engines and technology with increasingly reliable BMW models does seem to be helping. The outgoing Countryman was one of the brand’s most reliable offerings.

The warranty is just three years in length but does cover unlimited mileage, making it great for drivers who cover a lot of ground. That’s about standard too, with Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes all offering a similar level of cover. You do get more from manufacturers such as Toyota, Kia, or MG, though.

Buy or lease the MINI Countryman JCW at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £41,575 - £46,775 Avg. Carwow saving £1,274 off RRP
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