The Countryman is the most practical member of the Mini family. With the largest cargo area, highest ground clearance and most interior space, it's the Mini that's most ideal for those looking for a small SUV. However, it is still a Mini at heart, so along with that practicality come serious doses of driving fun, whimsical attitude, and iconic style.
You'll Like The 2017 MINI Countryman If...
The cheery 2017 Countryman offers an engaging drive and modern-retro Mini style. It's near-lux, with a roomy, refined interior and upscale amenities. It's sporty, soon available with the feisty John Cooper Works trim, and one of very few SUVs offered with a manual transmission. And there are oodles of customization options.
You May Not Like The 2017 MINI Countryman If...
Because the Countryman puts a high priority on handling, the ride isn't as soft and compliant as in other SUVs. It's more practical than the first-generation Countryman, but there are still more practical options out there for less money -- and more luxurious options for around the same price.
Mini's Countryman is all-new for 2017. The Mini is longer and wider than before, with new engines and transmissions, a much roomier interior filled with upscale tech, and a new all-wheel-drive system. A plug-in hybrid Countryman is coming within the next year.
Mini’s new Countryman is based on a larger platform than its predecessor, making the cabin roomier than ever before. The second row has four inches more legroom, and its seat slides, reclines and folds, and offers a 40/20/40-split to accommodate people and cargo. Materials quality and tech features have both greatly improved for 2017. Options like quilted leather seating, panoramic sunroof, smartphone charging, a head-up display and a new navigation system bring the Countryman more in line with luxury models than mainstream ones. But there's still plenty of Mini in this Countryman, with accent lighting, oversized displays and toggle switches.
In the Mini world, the Countryman looks least like the archetype 2-door Hardtop. But that doesn't mean it doesn’t look like a Mini at all; it's as if the Mini were stretched and lifted. The 2017 Countryman has a new face, longer hood and longer rear end. New cargo-area features include a power tailgate and a fold-out picnic cushion. You may see Countrymen roam the streets, but chances are you haven't seen many that are identical. According to Mini, there are more than 10 million ways to customize a Mini, and a large percentage of buyers does just that.
The Countryman is imbued with the spirited, go-kart attitude that Mini is known for. Handling and steering are wonderfully responsive, and zipping through corners will cause plenty of ear-to-ear grins. There are two engines, and well-sorted manual and automatic transmissions to choose from. The 189-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine offers more horsepower than the 1.6-liter it replaces, but the Countryman isn't the fastest crossover SUV out there. Ride quality has improved greatly -- the Countryman was nicely composed over potholes and road ruts. It felt planted and confident in turns; driving over snow-covered roads or icy patches on the highway, the Countryman was secure and sure-footed. The 3-cylinder engine is fine for commuting, but when it comes to how this engine would fare with a Countryman full of passengers and gear, we are highly skeptical. For most people, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder will be the engine to get.
The base 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $26,950, and pricing moves up for the Cooper Countryman ALL4 ($28,950), Cooper Countryman S ($31,450) and Cooper Countryman S ALL4. A fully decked-out S ALL4 can cost $48,000. When the John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 arrives, it's expected to start near $39,000. A plug-in hybrid version will also join the lineup this summer, but pricing hasn’t been announced. The Countryman sits between mainstream-compact SUVs and luxury-compact SUVs. Lower-priced options include the driver-centric Mazda CX-5, starting at $24,985, and the adventure-minded Subaru Crosstrek, with pricing as low as $22,570. On the other end of the spectrum are the similarly sized Audi Q3, starting at $32,750, the Mercedes-Benz GLA, at $33,775, and Infiniti's QX30, at $30,945. To see what others in your area are paying for their Mini Countryman, check out KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price. Historically, the Countryman has held its value quite well against the competition.
The Cooper Countryman comes standard with a 3-cylinder engine, a 6-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive (FWD). A panoramic sunroof (which can be deleted if you don't want it) and dual-zone climate control come with every Mini, as do the sliding rear seats. All Countrymen also come with eight airbags, 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, Bluetooth, rearview camera and rear park distance control, automatic rain-sensing wipers, a 6.5-inch screen with Mini Connected, and Mini's selectable Green, Normal and Sport driving modes.
Countryman buyers can opt for the 4-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive (AWD). While some options are available as stand-alone items, most are part of packages. Some packages are the Cold Weather Package (including heated seats), Premium Package (where you can get power seats and power tailgate), Technology Package (key features are the navigation system, wireless smartphone charging and head-up display), Sport Package (with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, sport seats and dynamic damper control) -- or you can get the Fully Loaded Package, which includes it all.
One of the best ways to appreciate the roominess of the new Countryman is to sit in the back seat. Once a spot reserved for short trips and smaller people, the second row offers nearly four inches more legroom. Also, the manually sliding 40/20/40-second row can tilt, fold and recline.
The 8.8-inch touch-screen navigation system, head-up display and wireless smartphone charging are new for the Countryman. Surrounding the nav screen is a programmable LED ring that can reflect what the tachometer is doing, correspond to audio system volume changes, work with the forward-collision warning system, and more.
Under the Hood
The idea of a 3-cylinder engine powering a Mini crossover SUV may ring some alarm bells, but the 1.5-liter turbo-3 that comes standard with the Countryman has more horsepower than the engine in last year's base model, and almost as much torque as in last year's Cooper Countryman S. It isn't quick, but it's faster than you'd think. It's backed by a 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic or 8-speed automatic, all of which are programmed to wring out every bit of this engine's power. Most will likely choose the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, to get more power and somewhat comparable fuel economy. With the four, you can choose a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic with or without paddle shifters.
1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3
134 horsepower @ 4,400 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 mpg (FWD, manual), 25/33 mpg (FWD, automatic), 22/32 mpg (AWD, manual), 23/30 mpg (AWD, automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
189 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 mpg (FWD, automatic), 21/31 mpg (AWD, manual), 22/31 mpg (AWD, automatic) Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The Mini Cooper Countryman is the most practical member of the Mini family. With the largest cargo area, highest ground clearance and most interior space, it's the Mini that's most ideal for those looking for a small SUV. However, it is still a Mini at heart, so along with that practicality come serious doses of driving fun, whimsical attitude and iconic style. The Countryman is all-new and grown-up for 2017, now larger, more refined, roomier and more efficient. It's a bit of a tweener, so its size and price may appeal to adventurers who like the Subaru Crosstrek, driving enthusiasts who like the Mazda CX-5, and shoppers of entry-level luxury models such as the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Infiniti QX30.