Mini Countryman (2010–): Review, Problems, Specs

Introduced by Mini in 2010 at the Geneva Motor Show and revised in 2014, the Countryman was the first subcompact crossover to be built by the BMW-owned British carmaker as an attempt to gain some popularity in a segment dominated with authority by the Nissan Qashqai. The Countryman was praised for handling and agility but lacked the functional and comfort credentials offered by its rivals


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • fun to drive
  • appealing design
  • frugal diesel engines
  • cheap to run

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • squeaky plastics inside
  • noisy
  • impractical
  • expensive range-topping models
  • confusing button layout inside the cabin

Stay Away From
  • petrol variants are noisy and unrefined
  • avoid JCW variants as they put a serious dent in comfort
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • brake judder and failure are one of the most common issues displayed by the Countryman
  • also, some owners reported gearbox/clutch problems and electrical malfunctions
  • there have been complaints about steering issues
Car Details
Powertrain

There’s only one petrol engine available under the Countryman’s hood, namely a 1.6-liter unit and derived in three power outputs: 98, 122 and turbocharged 184 hp. These figures are transferred to the asphalt through either a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive setup. In 2012, Mini introduced the Countryman John Cooper Works powered by the same engine but taken to 218 hp.

In Diesel Land, you can find a 1.6-liter engine with 90 hp, followed by a more powerful 112-horsepower version and the range-topping 2.0-liter mill delivering 143 hp. The latter serves you with plenty of resources and is suited for daily use as well as motorway trips; it’s also economical and clean.


Handling

Although not as agile as Mini’s smaller models, the Countryman still retains the flavor of the brand’s “go-kart feel.” However, the lifted ride makes room for body roll, but otherwise, grip levels are more than adequate on both AWD and FWD versions. The steering could have been a tad more feedback-providing but most of the times you know where the car’s front wheels are, gear changes are glitchy sometimes on the automatic gearbox.


Safety

Five safety stars earned after undergoing the Euro NCAP crash tests make the Countryman a proper choice when it comes to passenger protection. For example, adult protection received an 84% rating, child protection follows close at 83% while safety assist stands at 71%.

In addition, every Mini Countryman comes with six airbags, traction and stability control, EBD plus brake and hill assist.

Comfort

The driving position is high, but finding a proper posture takes some time. Also, the standard seats don’t provide sufficient lateral support, and longer trips will leave your back asking for a break. Visibility is generally decent, but take extra care when parking the car.

However, the sports seats improve the comfort level inside the Mini Countryman, yet keep in mind that the Countryman is a stiff car, so those at the back might want to get out after an extended trip on rough patches of road or potholes.

There’s also plenty of noise coming from the engine and tires, plus a great deal of wind noise at higher speeds. Overall, the cabin feels small and cramped, but if you are into Minis, you could say this is part of the brand’s philosophy.


Quality

Plastics inside the cabin are known to rattle and buzz especially on used cars. Otherwise, material quality is almost premium, and you can both see and feel that as you enter the Countryman’s cockpit.


Practicality

A soft spot for the Countryman, mainly because of the vehicle’s cramped interior. Boot space stands at 350 liters (expandable to 1,170 liters with the rear seats folded), but that’s still less than what you get from the likes of Skoda Yeti (416 liters), Audi Q3 (420 liters) and Nissan Qashqai (430 liters).

Things look better inside the cabin, where Mini designers did all they could to carve pockets or cup holders and install a central rail which also comes in handy, but this one comes only with the four-seater version.


Infotainment

Standard equipment includes a CD stereo system with MP3 and Bluetooth connection, but higher-spec models add the Mini Connected infotainment system with iPhone connection, hands-free, satellite navigation plus parking sensors.

Efficiency

As far as petrol units are concerned, fuel consumption ranges between 39 and 47 mpg – which is not bad, but not enough to beat the diesels. For example, with the diesels, it’s possible to achieve a combined value of around 64 mpg, which is more than pleasing for a mini-SUV.


Equipment

Every Mini Countryman comes with ESP, six airbags plus air conditioning and all-electric windows, power mirrors, parking sensors (rear only) and a multimedia system comprising a CD player with MP3 connectivity.

You’ll have to go further up the equipment ladder for amenities like sports seats, Mini Connected, alloy wheels. Also, Mini offers plenty accessorizing options for those who want a personal touch on their car, starting with metallic paint and ending with leather upholstery.


Acquisition

The Countryman retains strong residual values, and this means prices are bound to stay high. Before splashing the cash, make sure practicality is not on your priorities list. Most used Minis come with a well-cared-for interior, but our advice is to look for a mid-range diesel version if you want running costs kept to a minimum.

Click on a model to learn more about it.
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