From £16,420
2WD Countryman is no real-life compromise, but eco-friendly diesel lets down the package

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.
7 April 2011

What is it?

The two-wheel drive diesel Mini Countryman is Mini’s answer to the biggest criticism of the turbocharged petrol versions, namely it’s 25mpg fuel economy. As the 4WD car has no switches inside to control the drive system, beyond the traction control, the interior of the 2WD versions looks exactly the same.

What’s it like?

It’s a strange reflection on the 21st-century car industry that we need to reassure buyers that they won’t notice the lack of 4WD on the school run, but the fact is that even our All4 long-term test car can be provoked into spinning the front wheels ‘at the lights’, as it doesn’t have drive to all four wheels engaged at standstill.

What proves to be more of a problem, only partly compensated by the 45mpg economy we achieved, is the diesel engine, which has a most undiesel-like lack of low-end torque and only feels like its pulling properly at 2000rpm. Combined with long gearing (20mph equals 1700rpm) in second, this means that you often have to change down into first gear to pull out confidently at junctions, even if you’re already doing 15-20mph.

Four million people in the UK now have an iPhone, so it’s worth pointing out that mine would not play music through our test car’s entertainment system, although the same phone works perfectly in the Countryman I drive every day. The only apparent difference was a lack of sat-nav in the test car.

Should I buy one?

Drivers looking for a tidy-handling car with a premium finish for the school run will find that the two-wheel-drive diesel Countryman ticks many of the boxes, but the package as a whole lacks the charisma provided by the zesty, 184bhp petrol engine in the Cooper S.

Ed Keohane

Mini Cooper D Countryman 2WD

Price: £21,805; Top speed: 118mph; 0-60mph: 10.5sec; Economy: 64.2mpg; CO2: 149g/km; Kerb weight: 1385kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power: 112bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 199lb ft at 1750-2250rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
40

9 April 2011

So to sum up, the 4WD petrol is too thirsty, the diesel installation has not gone well and unless you get satnav you cant play with your iphone, oh and its still ugly, it will sell well, just proving some people have more money than sense, and just like the iphone, they must have one, even though the competition is better. What was it people who want a gadget buy an iphone, people who want a smart phone buy an Android and people who want to do business buy a blackberry.

9 April 2011

If my memory serves me right, whenever I read a test of a MINI fitted with the previous PSA 1.6 diesel engine the amount of low down torque was always praised and highlighted, but this is the second review I've seen of the new BMW diesel engine which has said its lacking in this respect. The other test was, I think of the 1.6D convertible.

This would seem like a backward step, but I guess its all about BMW wanting to fit its own engines in all its cars, rather than using any joint ventures. The petrol engines will be replaced in the next couple of years with the new 3-cylinder ones being developed by the company at the moment.

9 April 2011

[quote catnip] If my memory serves me right, whenever I read a test of a MINI fitted with the previous PSA 1.6 diesel engine the amount of low down torque was always praised and highlighted, but this is the second review I've seen of the new BMW diesel engine which has said its lacking in this respect. The other test was, I think of the 1.6D convertible.[/quote] My experience is the other way round. We test drove a Countryman Cooper D when it was launched and it pulled more cleanly in first gear from low revs than our 2008 Cooper D. Felt like the torque built faster from lower revs in the BMW diesel than the PSA diesel. I wonder how many miles the test car driven here had. Perhaps the BMW diesel needs a bit more running in.

9 April 2011

Which of the two prices you quote is correct? £21805 as tested or £23325 listed as the price in the data paragraph at bottom of the test? Whichever it is it seems too expensive by far for such an ugly car. I had thought that it might look better in the metal but saw one on the road the other day, in white which didn't help, but it just looked completely ungainly; huge goggling headlamps, strange detailing around the bottom of the a-pillars with those mock vents and the odd shape of the lower roofline where it drops down behind the rear doors - all very strange. To read now that the diesel engine is not up to the job just adds to the number of reasons never to consider buying one. And they say that no-one makes bad cars these days...............


Enjoying a Fabia VRs - affordable performance

9 April 2011

Let's face it, BMW just don't do good looking and of late have excelled themselves in the 'ugly and pointless' stakes....1 series, X1, X3, X5, X6, 5 series GT, 6 series convertible and soon to come, the Mini coupe.

When will you all realise that they are not the ultimate in all eyes??

9 April 2011

[quote dezzie]

When will you all realise that they are not the ultimate in all eyes??

[/quote]

Calm down, I don't think anyone here does think that.

Personally though I love the looks of the 1, 3 and 5 series, and the new 1 series M coupe is a stunner.

10 April 2011

As a mini owner, I really really want to like the countryman, but i seriously cant. Dislike the looks too much. PLus, having spent a day driving a Nissan Juke last weekend, I would buy that! I specced up an equivalent countryman cooper to the same spec (1.6 petrol, satnav, bluetooth, leather, heated seats, auto lights/wipers etc) and it cost a whopping 5.5k more for the countryman! for what??

I appreciate most of you think the Juke is ugly, I don't personally, but when it comes down to it, it make more sense than the countryman. Basically they are after the same market, its just that Nissan does it a lot cheaper. Its am extremely good car to drive about, even if the engine is a little weak for the weight of the car.

10 April 2011

One thing that has really annoyed me recently about BMW's handling of the mini brands, is the use of "Cooper" as just a model name now, and not a special vehicle as the original was. You would never get Ford building a diesel hatchback and calling it an RS, or for that matter BMW building a diesel M3, so why are they building diesel Coopers faux suv's.

10 April 2011

[quote Citytiger]One thing that has really annoyed me recently about BMW's handling of the mini brands, is the use of "Cooper" as just a model name now, and not a special vehicle as the original was. You would never get Ford building a diesel hatchback and calling it an RS, or for that matter BMW building a diesel M3, so why are they building diesel Coopers faux suv's.[/quote]

Well, Ford did a pretty comprehensive job of ruining the Ghia brand by reducing it to no more than a trim level, even in its most lowly cars.

btw, I thought most things about BMW annoyed you.

10 April 2011

[quote Citytiger]So to sum up, the 4WD petrol is too thirsty, the diesel installation has not gone well and unless you get satnav you cant play with your iphone, oh and its still ugly, it will sell well, just proving some people have more money than sense, and just like the iphone, they must have one, even though the competition is better. What was it people who want a gadget buy an iphone, people who want a smart phone buy an Android and people who want to do business buy a blackberry.[/quote] I agree with part 1, but seriously an iphone outsmarts and fruit i.know

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