MINI Countryman (2016-2023) Review & Prices

The Mini Countryman is practical for its size, has a high-quality interior and is fun to drive. But its cutesy looks are less convincing than they are on smaller Minis and options are pricey

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7/10
Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Lots of character
  • Classy build quality
  • Amusing to drive

What's not so good

  • Awkward looks
  • Slow One models
  • Expensive optional extras

Find out more about the MINI Countryman (2016-2023)

Is the Mini Countryman a good car?

The Mini Countryman is the sort of family car for those who need a practical family car but still want it to be fun to drive and look out of the ordinary.

Bear in mind, though, that ‘practical’ also means ‘big’, so it’s less of a Mini and more of a Maxi. Nevertheless, it’s a highly customisable small SUV with enough paint and contrasting roof colours, bonnet stripes and sticker packs to ensure you’ll never park next to an identical one.

It’s also spacious, looks premium and even has some of the fun-driving characteristics of smaller Minis, although all this does come with quite a big price tag.

Watch: Volvo V40 XC v Mini Countryman v Audi Q2

If you don’t mind stumping up the cash, then the Mini Countryman gives you much of the charm of a smaller Mini but enough space to make it a genuine family car. The interior has a quality feel to match the Audi Q2 but with fun touches such as a circular infotainment screen and chunky toggle switches that make mundane tasks such as starting the engine feel that little bit more special.

All the cutesy looks in the world don’t necessarily make for a decent family car though, but thankfully the Mini Countryman is also reasonably practical, with plenty of room in the front and back, and a comfy driving position. You can spoil the kids by spending £300 on rear seats that slide and recline for a bit more comfort on long trips, although this reduces boot space a bit in the rearmost position.

That said, the 450-litre boot is pretty big for a car this size and the lack of a boot lip makes it easy to slide heavy luggage into place. The boot’s maximum capacity of 1,320 litres is decent enough and the rear seats split three ways, so you can carry long loads and two rear passengers at once.

The Mini Countryman’s styling is a little bit a dad dancing at a wedding – it tries to be young, hip and happening but somehow doesn’t quite pull it off

What’s great is that the Mini Countryman combines this practicality with a true Mini driving experience. It has a range of decent petrol and PHEV hybrid engines – although you’re best off going with the frugal and nippy 1.5-litre petrol. All Countryman models have pointy steering and little body roll that makes them quite fun to drive, although the downside is that the firm suspension can get on your nerves in town. There are also some fairly big blind spots to deal with – so it’s worth budgeting for the £310 reversing camera option.

Sadly expensive options are part and parcel of the Mini experience. If you want to boost safety you’ll need the £810 Driving Assistance pack that includes adaptive cruise control, which can match the speed of the car in front before returning to your preset cruising speed when the way is clear – handy if you do a lot of motorway driving. But even without that it’s a safe car, and earned five stars in Euro NCAP’s tough 2017 crash tests.

To find out how much you could save on a Mini Countryman when buying through carwow, make sure you have a browse through our latest new Mini Countryman deals and used Mini deals. You can also sell your car online through carwow.

How much is the Mini Countryman?

The price of a used MINI Countryman (2016-2023) on Carwow starts at £9,697.

It might be a Mini in name, but the Countryman is neither small nor minimally priced. It is designed to appeal to drivers who like the cutesey looks and fun-to-drive feeling of the brand’s other models but need more space and the raised driving position of a small SUV. There’s even a four wheel drive option if you need to drive in more slippery conditions.

Its main rivals therefore are cars like Audi Q2, Nissan Qashqai and perhaps the Mercedes GLA, too.

The Countryman range stretches from the more accessible Cooper to the bonkers 306hp John Cooper Works. There is also a PHEV option which makes the most sense for company car drivers as it has much lower official emissions levels.

Performance and drive comfort

The Mini Countryman might be bigger than other Minis but it’s almost as fun to drive – sadly it’s also quite noisy at a cruise and its suspension can feel too firm on bumpy roads

In town

The best all-round engine is the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol fitted to Cooper models. Its small size helps the Mini Countryman feel light on its feet and also means it can return official fuel economy of 50.4mpg, or around 40mpg in normal driving.

Although it’s hardly small, the Mini Countryman is a little more compact than most SUVs which is a distinct advantage when in urban traffic. It has been designed to have a sporty ride, as you would expect from the brand. Trouble is, that fun handling has come at the expense of comfort, so when you’re driving in town it can be a little bumpy on poorly surfaced roads. If you want it to be as comfortable as possible, choose smaller wheels. They might not look as bling, but the squishier tyres are far more compliant around town.

Sadly, there’s no such trick to fix the big blind spot around the windscreen, which can block your view of traffic when exiting junctions. The small rear window is also a pain when reverse parking but you can get around it by choosing an option pack which includes front and rear parking sensors. In fact, they’re almost essential, even if you’re a confident parker.

The eight-speed automatic gearbox is now standard on all models (except the PHEV, which makes do with six ratios), which is good news if you drive a lot in town and want to give your left foot a break from operating the clutch. It changes gear smoothly and has no noticeable effect on fuel economy.

On the motorway

The Mini Countryman is perfectly happy on the motorway, even with the smaller engine and auto gearbox. The suspension which feels firm on broken urban roads is happier and more settled at speed on well-maintained Tarmac. However it suffers from more tyre roar and wind noise than you would find in a BMW X1 or the Mazda CX-30.

The PHEV’s battery range will be quickly depleted by motorway speeds, but there is an option to keep the charge so it can be used later when you reach town, for example at the end of a commute. Be warned though – the hybrid has a smaller fuel tank, which means you’ll be filling up often on long journeys.

On a twisty road

The Mini Countryman feels sporty to drive thanks to quick steering and firm suspension. It is no sportscar and certainly isn’t as much fun on a twisty road as the smaller, lower Mini models, but it does have some of the ‘go-kart’ feeling which buyers expect from the brand. It is more fun to drive than the BMW X1 and other, more ‘mature’ small SUV rivals.

The four-cylinder motor even has a sporty rasp from the exhaust, especially in the JCW trim, but the auto gearbox isn’t the most involving or responsive.

Models fitted with wider, bigger wheels have even better steering feel and grip but the payoff is a more fidgety ride on rougher roads.

Space and practicality

You can forget any preconceptions about Minis being small and impractical with the Mini Countryman – it’s impressively roomy inside, although some of its handy storage areas cost extra

The Mini Countryman’s front seats feel roomier than any other Mini’s. Both front seats are height adjustable and they crank up high so no matter what size you are, you can make full use of the SUV’s sizeable headroom. It means you can get a high-set driving position, or sit snugly in the cabin. A steering wheel that adjusts for height and reach means you can get comfy however high you’ve set the seat.

If you want adjustable lumbar support to avoid back ache, though, you’ll have to go for the optional electric seats. They’re easier to adjust than the manual versions and can return to your seating position at the touch of a button after someone else has used the car.

All the Mini Countryman’s door bins are large enough to accommodate a small bottle of water and the glovebox will also swallow a litre bottle. You also get a tray for your phone in front of the gearstick, a couple of cupholders and a lidded storage area under the front centre armrest. If you want the added comfort of an armrest in the back, though, you’ll need to spend an extra £210, although it includes an additional pair of cupholders too.

Space in the back seats

The Mini Countryman is also one of the roomier SUVs of its size in the back – where it has more space than an Audi Q2. There’s decent knee and headroom and, as an option, the back seats can slide forwards and backwards by 13cm for either more knee room or a bigger boot. They will also recline a few degrees to help your passengers get a bit comfier on long journeys. This added flexibility is worth the extra cash.

The Mini Countryman’s back seats don’t even feel too crushed if you carry three average-sized adults – the two footwells are big enough for a trio of people’s feet and the middle seat is relatively flat and comfortable. That said, three larger adults will feel squished.

Fitting a child seat is an easier job than in any other Mini thanks to the Countryman’s wide-opening rear doors and its extra height, which means you don’t have to stoop so much when slotting the base of the seat into the clearly marked Isofix points.

Boot space

The Mini Countryman’s 450-litre boot is a substantial 239 litres bigger than the load bay you get in a normal Mini 3-door, making it clear why this is the best Mini for families. It’s still pipped by the 505-litre boot you get in the BMW X1, mind you, but beats the 405 litres in the Q2.

Frustratingly, handy features such as a 12V power socket, securing straps and a smaller cubby at the side of the boot are – predictably – an option you must pay for as part of the storage compartment pack.

The boot floor sits flush with the rear bumper, making loading it easy – even heavy luggage can be slid into place without you having to risk tweaking your back.

Everyday stuff such as a pushchair fits easily and there’s space for a large and a small suitcase without you having to remove the parcel shelf. With the rear seats folded away, which leaves a small step in the floor that’s easy to push things over, you get a total boot capacity of 1,320 litres – enough to swallow a bike without needing to remove the wheels.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Mini Countryman’s interior looks fun and easy to use. It’s nicely built and feels posher than most SUVs, but you’ll need to fork out for some expensive options to get the best from it

You pay a premium for a Mini Countryman compared to other family SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai, but it does feel like a more premium product. Most of the plastics you’ll touch are squishy and expensive-feeling, the toggle switches are metallic and satisfyingly cold to the touch, and cubbies open with a damped smoothness.

You get that same sense of quality with a BMW X1, but you don’t get the Mini Countryman’s fun touches such as its large circular infotainment screen that looks like a huge speedo, and its red engine starter toggle. The infotainment screen’s bezel even switches colours depending on what you’re doing as if the car has its own personality.

Cooper models come with Cloth Firework upholstery that’s dark and will resist stains. Trading up to Cooper S buys you body-hugging sports seats with racing stripes, although John Cooper S models are sportiest of all – their seats are even more heavily bolstered, you get JCW-branded metal kick plates in the door openings, a sports steering wheel and a sportier gear shifter with a red-stitched gaiter.

The Mini Countryman comes with a 6.5-inch infotainment screen. It has DAB digital radio, a Bluetooth phone connection and sat nav with pretty graphics and menus that are easy to navigate. It’s controlled via a rotary dial in between the front seats which makes it easy to scroll through menus on the move.

It’s worth upgrading to the larger 8.8-inch system, though, which comes as part of the Media Pack. It’s really colourful, slick and easy to use, and can be navigated either via the touchscreen (it recognises hand gestures such as pinch and zoom), or by using the scroll knob in between the two front seats.

If you have an iPhone you can use Apple CarPlay to stream Apple Maps and your favourite media-streaming services to the car’s screen and sound system – it also removes the temptation to fiddle with your phone when you’re driving.

MPG, emissions and tax

The entry-level engine in the Mini Countryman range is a 1.5-litre which has a 0-60 time of 9.7 seconds - just under the 10-second barrier which seems to be the acceptable maximum for a supposedly sporty car these days. Fuel economy is reasonable for a car of this size with an auto gearbox at 44.8 mpg, with CO2 emissions of 144g/km. 

You needn’t worry about using too much more fuel if you like a bit more performance though. The Cooper S has a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine and a more lively 7.4 second 0 to 60mph time, yet the consumption and emission figures are only marginally worse at 43.5mpg and 147g/km.

The PHEV version has a sprightly 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds, but of more interest to most drivers will be the 41g/km emissions and the all-electric range of around 30 miles on the official cycle. This means it has 12% benefit-in-kind tax, which will save company car drivers hundreds or even thousands every year compared to the petrol models. While that is impressive, 12% is only averagely tax-efficient for a PHEV, and all-electric cars are charged just 2%.

As you might expect, the John Cooper Works uses a lot more fuel than the other models, but is much faster too. It records a 5.1 second time to 60mph and has official figures of 37.2 mpg and 174g/km. Bear in mind that choosing bigger wheels will make these figures worse, though.

Safety and security

The big Mini is a safe car, according to the independent safety testing organisation Euro NCAP – it scored five stars when it was crash-tested 2017. Bear in mind that the tests have become stricter since then though, so it’s not fair to compare that rating with rivals which have been tested more recently.

Besides the good strength and six airbags which protect the passengers in the event of an accident, all models come fitted with automatic emergency brakes as standard. The Countryman does lack some of the more modern crash-prevention tech seen on newer rivals however.

As you’d expect, the outer rear seats have ISOFIX mounting points. They are an optional extra for the front passenger seat if you like to keep your kids closer.

Reliability and problems

Independent reliability and satisfaction surveys rate the Mini Clubman highly compared to other small SUVs, which should mean you won’t need to make use of the warranty. At three-years it is only average compared to rivals, some of whom offer up to seven year’s worth of cover. However, the unlimited mileage is better than the 60,000 mile restriction placed on some competitor cars.

The PHEV model also has an extra three year’s cover for the battery health.

Buy or lease the MINI Countryman (2016-2023) 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
Carwow price from
Used
£9,697
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare used deals