MINI Countryman Review 2023

MINI Countryman At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The MINI Countryman is the largest model from the British brand. It offers a sporty drive and a practical interior, but it’s expensive: other SUVs are more affordable to buy.

+The biggest MINI and the most versatile. Genuinely fun to drive. Lots of personalisation options.

-Not the cheapest compact SUV around. Firm ride accompanies the sporty drive. Plenty of newer rivals.

New prices start from £26,095
Insurance Groups are between 10–26
On average it achieves 68% of the official MPG figure

The second-generation MINI Countryman became the largest model in the MINI range when it was launched in 2017. As such, it offers plenty of practicality, matched with MINI’s usual idiosyncratic charm. However, this area of the market is very competitive, with a host of great small SUVs battling for sales including the new Nissan Juke, big-selling Ford Puma and value-focused Skoda Kamiq. Read on for our full MINI Countryman review.

Hopefully the world has moved beyond the ‘all MINIs should be small’ argument, and accepted that larger models like the MINI Countryman are here to stay.

As our MINI Countryman review will illustrate, the second-generation model is well established, and is set to be followed with a third-generation model late in 2023.

The current MINI Countryman has the cute and somewhat classic styling associated with the MINI brand. Some will find it overdesigned, but lots of others will love how this car looks.

Time has seen the MINI Countryman’s engine range rationalised and reduced. With diesel going out of fashion, there is now only a choice of petrol or plug-in hybrid power.

Given MINI’s emphasis on fun, all of these options are tuned with performance in mind. However, those wanting maximum engagement will be disappointed by the lack of a manual gearbox option.

Most will be perfectly happy with the range of automatic and dual-clutch auto transmissions fitted to the MINI Countryman range. Certain versions are combined with All4 all-wheel drive, although this is aimed more at aiding performance than delivering genuine off-road ability.

Despite its name, the MINI Countryman’s handling is targeted at the tarmac, rather than heading off-piste onto the dirt. All versions feel sporty, with quick steering and the ability to resist body roll well.

The downside is a ride that can range from taut to borderline uncomfortable, particularly on cars with big wheels and run-flat tyres. This can make for a bouncy experience for those inside, but at least they will have plenty of space to move around.

Being the biggest MINI means an interior with generous proportions, aided by the high roofline. Unlike some newer, coupe-styled crossover SUVs, there is no shortage of headroom in the back seats.

Boot capacity is competitive, at 450 litres (hybrid versions see this drop to 405 litres), while there is plenty of standard equipment fitted as well. MINI uses the BMW-sourced iDrive infotainment system here, with an effective 8.8-inch touchscreen included.

Classic specification now marks the starting point for the MINI Countryman range, and is likely to be the best option for balancing cost and equipment. Although there are numerous extra packages to personalise your MINI Countryman with, this can get expensive.

As with most things, the MINI Countryman can seem relatively costly to buy new. BMW has pushed the brand more upmarket, and prices have travelled northwards as well. Even the most basic MINI Countryman now costs more than £29,000, with a host of newer and cheaper rivals now available.

It leaves the MINI Countryman occupying territory between vehicles such as the Ford Puma, and premium models like the Volvo XC40 and Mercedes GLB.

Although it still has charm, the fast-paced nature of the SUV market means the MINI Countryman is starting to show its age. Competition from younger rivals, and the arrival of a new, third-generation MINI Countryman in the near future, make it a harder sell.

Looking for a second opinion? Read heycar’s MINI Countryman review.

Ask Honest John

What car should I buy to transport my disabled mum?

"I'm going to have to change my car to help transport my disabled mum. She has been in a Nissan Juke and Skoda Karoq both of which she can get into more easily. Given I do a lot of journeys on my own I don't want a big car but one that I can take Mum in, put her mobility aid (4 wheeled walker) in the boot, do the shopping and use as a run around. I'm looking for a petrol engine as I do mainly short journeys (20-30 miles round trips). I enjoy driving and would like a fun car to drive, if possible. I tend to keep my cars for 8-10 years so I'd like something that has good reliability. I could spend up to £30k, but would prefer to spend £20-25k."
We'd recommend a Ford Puma. It's similar in size to a Nissan Juke but more fun to drive, while it's also very practical (especially with a hidden 'megabox' compartment in the boot). You could also look at the MINI Countryman - another stylish and fun-to-drive SUV with easy access, or a used BMW X2.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What is the best petrol alternative to a diesel MINI Countryman?

"What small automatic petrol car do you suggest to replace my wife’s diesel MINI Countryman for £17,000?"
If your wife likes her Countryman, a petrol version is the obvious choice. You should be able to find the latest model (launched late in 2016) within budget. Alternatively, consider an Audi Q2 or BMW X1.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Can you recommend a PHEV 4x4?

"I would like to replace my diesel Honda 4x4 with a second hand PHEV 4x4. I have a budget of £18,000-£20,000 and plan to buy it second hand and keep it a long time. Most seem too expensive. I am after reliability more than anything and large enough to sling a bike in the back, The Honda has been perfect. The Mitsubishi Outlander seems possible but I am concerned that if Mitsubishi is no longer in the UK then I might struggle with parts. I think my Honda has 1-2 years left possibly but a lot doesn't work like the air conditioning. "
It might be worth holding onto your Honda for a little longer if you can – used car prices are currently inflated (due to a shortage of new cars) so you might find that your budget will go a lot further in a year or two. If you don't want to wait, however, I think a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV sounds like a good choice. It's a practical and reliable car, while IM Group (importer of Subaru and Isuzu models) have acquired Mitsubishi's aftersales business. There are lots of Outlanders on the road so there'll be demand for parts for a while yet – and, of course, Mitsubishi still sells new cars elsewhere. Otherwise, have you considered a MINI Countryman? It's smaller than the Outlander but it's still a very capable hybrid SUV that should have room for a bike in the back (with the rear seats dropped). Otherwise, take a look at 'self-charging' hybrids like the Toyota RAV4.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Can you recommend an alternative to the Audi Q2?

"I like the look and performance of the Audi Q2. What similar models would perhaps be a better choice?"
The Volkswagen T-Roc is a very similar car underneath to the Q2, powered by many of the same engines. Its cabin isn't quite as nicely trimmed but it's a newer design, with fresher tech. We'd also consider the BMW X1 or X2, the MINI Countryman and the Mazda CX-30.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
More Questions

What does a MINI Countryman cost?