Review: MINI Countryman (2010 – 2016)
Golf sized MINI has five seats and a 350-litre boot. Available with BMW's chain cam 1.6 diesel engine. Option of diesel automatic with 4WD.
Styling isn't a universal success and divides opinion. Top models are expensive. Handling of 2WD versions is unexciting.
MINI Countryman (2010 – 2016): At A Glance
The 'MAXI' sized Countryman is a major new chapter in the MINI success story. In a nutshell, it offers four or five-seat practicality and a 350-litre boot in addition to the usual MINI trademarks such as sharp steering, fun handling and that all-important quirkiness.
It's impossible to think of this as any other car than a MINI. The Countryman might well be Golf-sized but the styling shares many MINI hatchback details, such as its large, round(ish) headlamps, floating roofline, and down-in-the-dumps radiator shape. That might make it easy to accept for existing owners, but those looking for an alternative to their Qashqai they may well find it a little too wacky.
The Countryman is actually considered to be a crossover by MINI and as such, there is also a four-wheel drive option, otherwise it's powered by the same low emission chain-cam diesel and petrol engines as the standard MINI hatchback. There are no shortage of versions to choose from - it's offered in One, Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper versions with 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre engines.
The big news for MINI owners looking to trade up is that the Countryman has a large and usable boot. There is plenty of room for four adults and thanks to plenty of carried-over controls and shared styling, they will feel very much a home. In 2010, the Countryman received a new centre console and - for the first time - electric window switches mounted in the doors.
What does a MINI Countryman (2010 – 2016) cost?
Buy a used Mini Countryman from £10,412
MINI Countryman (2010 – 2016): What's It Like Inside?
There's plenty of room inside and standard Countryman models come with sliding seat squabs that are split 60/40. The back seats are easy to get in and out of and rear seat passengers have good knee room and leg room as well as exceptional head room - although we would describe it as a four rather than five-seater (even when specified as the latter).
In the front it's the same story. It's worth noting that the Countryman continues the MINI hatchback's provision for masses of seat travel, meaning even those with very long legs will get comfortable.
The Countryman's interior is just as quirky - if not more so - than its smaller hatchback cousin. Much is shared between the two which is good if you like the retro design. The overall quality feels decent but not overly premium given the price tag.
Still you can't accuse the Countryman of being boring inside. The dashboard still has its signature oversized centrally-mounted speedometer, but for those buying models higher up the range, there's a new high-definition colour screen in the centre. The same chrome toggle switches line the centre console and the roof panel, but new window switches in the doors make that arrangement a little less confusing.
The heating a ventilation controls remain the same - great if you're going for climate control, not so good if you've chosen the standard set-up with its poor direction control wheel. And for a lifestyle vehicle, there's a disappointing lack of storage cubbies. Four seats, rather than five, are optional, but choosing the former brings the benefit of an extended centre rail system that carries accessories.
You don’t have to glance across to the dinner plate-sized central speedometer because your road speed is also displayed digitally in the centre of the line-of sight rev counter. The steering wheel is fully adjustable in all directions and because the rev counter and speedometer move with the wheel you never obscure them.
The boot capacity is okay at 350 litres with the seats upright and 450 litres with the rears slid forwards. The split rear bench does not fold flat though and the loading lip is high. Bear that in mind, if you have an active lifestyle.
Standard equipment from launch:
* Roof rails that facilitate various attachments like roof boxes or roof racks
* Thatcham Category 1 alarm system,
* Air conditioning,
* Heated door mirrors and washer jets,
* Rear park distance control
* MINI Central Rail system.
* Multi-function rear seats - the five seat fitment being standard in the UK, although the four seat option will be at no cost.
* Dynamic Stability Control
* Electric power steering with Servotronic speed-related assistance
* Six airbags
* ISOFIX child safety seat mountings
* Tyre puncture warning system
* Standard Central Bass Hi Fi system with six speakers
* DAB digital radio with Radio Boost.
* Bluetooth telephone preparation
* USB connection.
* Passenger Airbag deactivation
* Preparation for a bicycle rack
Child seats that fit a MINI Countryman (2010 – 2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the MINI Countryman (2010 – 2016) like to drive?
Unless you choose to buy your MINI Countryman with large alloy wheels, the ride is smooth and comfortable on uneven roads thanks to supple suspension and the raised ride height. Plus, the high driving position means general visibility is good.
The car is based on an extended version of the Clubman and that means that MINI has been able to give the much larger Countryman some of the standard hatch's dynamic pizazz. The steering is light, communicative and very direct. That means the driver can confidently place the Countryman in bends and really feel what's going on. Sadly, although it has the smaller car's tidy steering, it does not have its overall body control.
In bends, there's a disappointing amount of body roll, while the grip levels, even in the ALL4 version are lower than you might expect. It's all to do with the 10cm of additional height, which raises the centre of gravity and makes it all feel a little ponderous in bends. But wind it back and it's still a good car to drive, especially in town.
Performance is okay, rather than exceptional. The best way to a fast Countryman is to go for the Cooper S or John Cooper Works, which with 185PS and 215PS respectively are brisk. Both are quick in a straight line, but suffer slightly from the Countryman-typical lack of enjoyment factor in the bends. We'd say that's probably more down to the excellence of the smaller car that it's trying to emulate.
The 2.0-litre Cooper SD version boasts 140PS, but it's not quite enough to justify the 'S' moniker. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 9.3 seconds and while it's smooth and refined with good mid-range pull, it doesn't feel like a sporting model. If you want a diesel, the 1.6-litre Cooper D, with 110PS is a far better all-rounder - it's not much slower, far more economical and is also even more refined.
The ALL4 system works well and is a good bet if you're someone who lives in the country, or likely to find yourself in areas of low grip on a regular basis. It variably splits the power to all four wheels, somewhere between 50/50 front/rear to 100 per cent at the rear - all dependent on the conditions. It's worth bearing in mind that ALL4 is standard on JCW models, but is optional on the Cooper S, Cooper SD, and Cooper D Countryman.
The jacked-up suspension and optional ALL4 four-wheel-drive system means it's possible to take the Countryman off-road but it's not as good as the Mazda CX-5 in this area.
|Cooper||39–48 mpg||10.4–11.6 s||137–168 g/km|
|Cooper ALL4||41–42 mpg||11.5 s||160–161 g/km|
|Cooper ALL4 Automatic||39–40 mpg||11.7 s||164–169 g/km|
|Cooper Automatic||40–41 mpg||11.6 s||159–164 g/km|
|Cooper D||64–67 mpg||10.9 s||115–116 g/km|
|Cooper D ALL4||58–60 mpg||11.6 s||123–129 g/km|
|Cooper D ALL4 Automatic||46–48 mpg||11.9 s||153–160 g/km|
|Cooper D Automatic||49–50 mpg||11.3 s||149–153 g/km|
|Cooper S||40–47 mpg||7.5–7.9 s||139–166 g/km|
|Cooper S ALL4||37–44 mpg||7.7–8.3 s||148–180 g/km|
|Cooper S ALL4 Automatic||39–40 mpg||8.1 s||165 g/km|
|Cooper S Automatic||40–42 mpg||7.8 s||166 g/km|
|Cooper SD||60–63 mpg||9.2 s||122–124 g/km|
|Cooper SD ALL4||57–59 mpg||9.3 s||126–131 g/km|
|Cooper SD ALL4 Automatic||46–48 mpg||9.4 s||150–160 g/km|
|Cooper SD Automatic||50 mpg||9.4 s||150 g/km|
|John Cooper Works ALL4||39 mpg||6.9 s||169 g/km|
|John Cooper Works ALL4 Automatic||37 mpg||6.9 s||179 g/km|
|One||39–50 mpg||11.9–13.9 s||134–168 g/km|
|One Automatic||41 mpg||13.9 s||168 g/km|
|One D||64 mpg||12.9 s||115 g/km|
Real MPG average for a MINI Countryman (2010 – 2016)
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.
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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What do owners think?
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- 5 star 17%
- 4 star
- 3 star 50%
- 2 star 33%
- 1 star