From £16,420
If you want a straightforward five-seat hatch or crossover, there are better buys

Our Verdict

Mini Countryman
Mini bigs itself up in a quest to find new and retain old customers

The Mini Countryman represents the biggest stretch yet for Mini – for the car and the brand

  • First Drive

    Mini Countryman Cooper S All4 first drive review

    Mildly revised Mini Countryman Cooper S uses improved economy, performance and refinement to fight off its growing band of rivals
  • First Drive

    Mini Countryman SD All4

    The Countryman has gained the engine it has been crying out for, with enough torque to deal with its extra weight and decent fuel economy, too.
5 September 2010

What is it?

Get past the oxymoron of a much bigger Mini and it’s easier to understand what the Countryman is about.

Mini has been losing customers to the need for a bigger car that it can’t supply, and this enlarged five-door – which is almost 15in longer than the three-door, sits nearly 6in taller and rides on a wheelbase 5in longer – is Munich’s answer.

The 1.6-litre diesel model – driven on British roads for the first time – features BMW’s new N47 engine.

See the first drive pics of the Mini Cooper D Countryman ALL4

In Cooper D tune it produces 111bhp and a fat 199lb ft of torque, against the 109bhp and 177lb ft of the previous PSA unit. All4 four-wheel drive, as fitted here, costs £1065 and channels torque to the rear axle on demand.

What’s it like?

Most, however, will want this bigger Mini for its space rather than any off-roading capabilities, which aren’t bad on mud, incidentally. There’s more room up front, and many will enjoy the seats’ additional height, but rear accommodation is mixed.

There’s a fair bit of space, but the standard-fit, split sliding bench is unyielding and only moderately supportive. The no-cost individual chair option is even less comfortable because the cushions are too flat. Backrests that merely fall forward fail to provide the biggest load space, although the boot itself is big when the false floor is removed.

The diesel Countryman pulls usefully hard with BMW power, even if it’s barely any more refined than the PSA engine, and it rides better than the lowered Cooper S Countryman.

Individual bumps are absorbed quite effectively, but camber changes will have your head bobbing and hard cornering produces plenty of roll.

The Countryman corners fairly neatly, given its height, and you can feel the All4 back axle helping if you push it, but those searching for traces of the original Mini tactile DNA will be disappointed; this is a long way from a go-kart with a roof.

Should I buy one?

There’s no question the extra space is useful, it’s as well finished and quirky inside as ever and it’s distinctive, if hardly beautiful. But if you want a straightforward five-seat hatch or a full-blooded crossover, there are better buys.

Mini Cooper D Countryman ALL4

Price: £19,875; Top speed: 112mph; 0-62mph: 11.6sec; Economy: 57.6mpg; CO2: 129g/km; Kerb weight: 1380kg; Engine type: 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power: 111bhp; Torque: 199lb ft; Gearbox: 6-speed manual

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Comments
37

13 September 2010

Autocar , Please can you do a back to back test of this against a DS4 when it arrives as they seem to be forming a new class of car . Er Cute ? Crossovers .

13 September 2010

I wouldn't call the countryman cute! Its not a complete munter in my book, but its hardly pretty or cute lol I'd be interested in driving one, but think it would be too big for my needs. I would rather spend less money on the far more distinctive Juke tbh but I can certainly see the appeal of this car to many a MINI owner.

13 September 2010

[quote superstevie]I wouldn't call the countryman cute! Its not a complete munter in my book, but its hardly pretty or cute lol I'd be interested in driving one, but think it would be too big for my needs. I would rather spend less money on the far more distinctive Juke tbh but I can certainly see the appeal of this car to many a MINI owner.[/quote]

I agree. I do like the look of this, in a strange sort of way, and I have considered it as a replacement for my present MINI. However it is larger than I need and pretty expensive, so I'm thinking the Juke might be a better value alternative. I just hope the interior and ride of the Juke are better than initial reports suggest.

jer

13 September 2010

Not sure that Mini understand yet what to do to grow. I can't see this and the countryman being a hit, maybe they break even. Perhaps that was inevitable after the success of the mini - Lords Mayors ball etc. I wonder if the Product Mangement is done from Munich or Oxford?

13 September 2010

There is no doubt that the Countryman is BMW's attempt to ensure that they do not get left behind by those people who need more than 2 cramped rear seats and a crummy boot. As far as its looks are concerned whilst I would agree that it is not an out and out dog, it still looks rather strange.

13 September 2010

I just can't see where they are going with this car -unless it's a up a (muddy) cul-de-sac. Barely practical according to the review, ugly as a box of frogs and pricey as footballer's friend. You'd really have to want to drive behind a Mini badge ever so much to buy this. But then there does appear to be a significant number of people who would do just that. Are there enough to keep Mini going? Unless they can come up with something significantly more desirable than this, I think the Mini brand may have jumped the shark.

13 September 2010

[quote superstevie]'d be interested in driving one[/quote] We've got a test drive in the Countryman Cooper D booked for Saturday. Will see how it compares to our Clubman. At the moment can't make my mind up if I like it or not; roll on Saturday.

14 September 2010

cool, let us know how you get on! The guys at totalmini went to test the cooper and cooper d and said the diesel was buy far the better car.

i do see the point of this car though. For many, the regular 3 door mini is fine, but some need the extra space. so in order to keep people buying the brand, they needed a bigger car. This is it. Ok its not everyone's tastes, but then, neither is a regular mini. I reckon this will sell very well indeed. Already loving the ads for it on TV

14 September 2010

[quote superstevie]think it would be too big for my needs. I would rather spend less money on the far more distinctive Juke tbh but I can certainly see the appeal of this car to many a MINI owner.[/quote] On the size front, I'm still not clear in my own mind about how big this car is physically - Golf-sized ? I'll have to see one in the metal to make up my mind, I think. I agree about the Juke looking good for less money, this Mini just looks akward in a clumsy, "can't-make-up-my-mind-what-I-am" way, whereas the Juke looks awkward in an "interesting-let's-see-more" way. Looking forward to seeing the DS4 as well.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

14 September 2010

[quote catnip]I would rather spend less money on the far more distinctive Juke tbh[/quote] Just checked the Nissan web-site again and found that you can now configure the Juke.


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

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