MINI Countryman (2017) Review

MINI Countryman (2017) At A Glance

4/5

+Biggest ever MINI. Upmarket and quirky interior. Good to drive. Available as a plug-in hybrid.

-Very expensive to buy new. Firm ride. Not great at long distances. Most of the smart kit is optional.

Insurance Groups are between 10–36
On average it achieves 71% of the official MPG figure

First things first - the new Countryman is the biggest MINI ever. For most people that’s not an issue by now, but if you’re still in the "Minis should be small and packaged cleverly" camp, this Countryman crossover is conspicuously offensive.

That said, it is packaged cleverly. Remove the BMW-era MINI design nonsense and you’ll see that the Countryman actually squeezes a lot of space and practicality into a relatively compact footprint.

It’s also fantastic to drive, as these things go. No other mid-sized crossover feels as sharply engaging as the Countryman. That BMW has managed to expand the dynamic essence of the MINI hatchback into a package this large is truly impressive.

The downside of that is relatively firm ride quality, making this one of the less comfortable crossovers over long distances. Added to that, the seats – although good looking by design – are on the small side and won’t suit all.

Its combination of practicality and downright quirkiness will really appeal to some, though. MINI’s cabin design is both unique and high quality, and although the whole ‘central speedometer and toggles aplenty’ shtick is losing its lustre now, three generations in, it’s still a refreshing change from the ever-more-homogenous cabin design of many crossovers.

The Countryman is practical too, with plenty of headroom and a significant improvement in rear leg space compared to the outgoing model.

Alongside the familiar MINI petrol and diesels - Cooper and Cooper D, Cooper S and SD, and John Cooper Works - there’s a plug-in hybrid too, called Cooper S E. It boasts some startling numbers with 134.5mpg and 49g/km.

That makes the PHEV a fantastic company car proposition because of the tax breaks, though private buyers will find its high list price and poor real-world economy off-putting.

A standard Cooper or Cooper D should suffice though, offering decent performance and economy while keeping the price reasonable – in the mid-£20k range. For that you’ll get a crossover full of personality that’s practical, versatile and great to drive, albeit not flawless.

MINI Countryman Cooper S ALL4 2017 Road Test

MINI Countryman PHEV ALL4 2017 Road Test

MINI Countryman and PHEV 2017 Video Test

Real MPG average for a MINI Countryman (2017)

RealMPG

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

71%

Real MPG

25–88 mpg

MPGs submitted

95

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

What hybrid crossover should we replace a Nissan Qashqai with?
"My nephew, his wife and two children (aged 8 and 6) are moving from London to a leafy village in Sussex. They have £16000 to spend on a hybrid, plus a 2009 Qashqai. They want something no smaller than the Qashqai and 90% of their new journeys will be less than 2 miles. They will have an EV charging point in their new house. What should they go for, please?"
We'd recommend a MINI Countryman PHEV. It's a desirable choice that'll be capable of covering most of their journeys under electric power alone. It'll have a similar boot capacity to the Qashqai but, if they'd prefer something a little bigger, look at the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Why won't my boot shut properly?
"I have a 2016 MINI Countryman. The boot won’t shut properly no matter what I do."
Check the rubber seals and the metal panels around the opening of the boot either of these will prevent the boot from closing. Next, check the lock itself. Is it in the open or shut position? Is anything blocking the metal loop that attaches to the lock? If the lock is jammed, some WD40 may free it. However, if the lock has failed, it may need to be replaced.
Answered by Dan Powell
MINI Countryman - Cooper S or Cooper?
"I want to buy a MINI Countryman. Can you tell me which model is best - Cooper S or Cooper?"
We'd recommend the Cooper. It uses a punchy 1.5-litre petrol engine which is more than adequate for the majority of drivers. The 2.0-litre used in the Cooper S is a bit more powerful but it's not exactly exhilarating.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I be in Drive or Neutral at traffic lights?
"I have a 2018 MINI Countryman auto. I've read that the gearbox allows for stopping at lights while still in Drive. But I've also read that it's best to slip into Neutral to save wear on the dual clutches. With previous Torque Converter cars, I always stayed in D but now with the MINI I select N. Your opinion, please?"
Stay in D unless you're stopped for a prolonged period. Also bear in mind that, if you're stopped with your foot on the brakes, your brake lights will be illuminated. That can be a good thing (ensuring you're seen on a quiet road, for example), but can also cause discomfort for the driver behind in traffic.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a MINI Countryman (2017) cost?

Buy new from £21,204 (list price from £24,595)