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The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.0

The Countryman has a unique image and classy cabin and offers the option of a powerful and efficient plug-in hybrid model. It’s a shame that it’s not more comfortable, but it’s worth a look if you’re in the market for a stylish and practical compact SUV.

Reasons to buy

  • Distinctive image
  • High-quality cabin
  • User-friendly tech

Running costs for a MINI Countryman 3/5

As a premium-brand model you pay a bit more for the Countryman than for similarly sized SUVs such as the Ford Puma. Prices are closer to those of cars such as the Audi Q2 and BMW X1 and, as with those rivals, high-spec models look expensive for what it quite a small car. Standard equipment levels are high, though, and strong residual values help to balance long-term costs for private and fleet buyers.

Fuel economy and CO2 emissions for petrol and diesel models are average for the class and, as you’d expect, are slightly worse for four-wheel drive versions. The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model has a petrol-electric powertrain that will allow some drivers to commute using electric power only. It also has incredibly low CO2 emissions figures, which provides tax advantages. There’s spectacular fuel economy to match, although real-world fuel consumption will very much depend on your driving patterns and lifestyle.

Insurance costs and maintenance costs are average for the class; a fixed-price servicing package allows you to budget for maintenance costs by paying a set monthly fee.

Reliability of a MINI Countryman 3/5

Mini doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability as a brand, but it finished in the top third of the most recent JD Power UK Vehicle Dependability Survey. It currently has a respectable mid-table ranking in the Warranty Direct Reliability Index, which puts it above Audi, and parent brand BMW.

Like all Mini Models, the Countryman comes with a three-year unlimited-mileage warranty.

Safety for a MINI Countryman 4/5

The Countryman comes with a good standard of safety equipment and scored a maximum five stars when tested by Euro NCAP in 2017. All models come with an autonomous emergency braking system and eight airbags. An optional Driving Assistant Pack includes adaptive cruise control.

How comfortable is the MINI Countryman 3/5

With an appealing design and an abundance of high-quality materials, the Countryman’s cabin is a pretty good place to be. The retro details work in harmony with a sensible layout and intuitive infotainment system to make everything pleasantly easy to use, too.

The driving position is inherently good, and there’s plenty of adjustment for the seat and steering wheel so that you can fine-tune it to your taste. All-round visibility is fine, although the standard rear parking sensors are handy nonetheless.

As Mini’s biggest model, it’s no surprise that the Countryman is also its most practical. It’s a pretty spacious four-seater, with enough headroom and legroom for a pair of tall adults in both the front and rear seats. Things are a bit less comfortable in the central rear seat, but the same is true of most rivals.

The boot is a good size and very useful shape, although some compact SUVs offer more load space. Versatility is boosted by rear seat backs that have a 40/20/40 split/folding function.

While it’s more practical than other Mini models, the Countryman is less fun. It drives well enough in isolation but doesn’t have the same nimble, responsive feel and the steering is unhelpfully heavy at parking speeds. The firm ride isn’t ideal for a family car, either, and it certainly won’t help if your kids are prone to travel sickness.

Features of the MINI Countryman 4/5

The Countryman is well equipped for a compact SUV, with features befitting its premium badge and price tag. Each engine brings with it a different basic level of equipment, which increases in line with the power output. Entry-level Cooper versions get everything you really need, including LED headlights, air-conditioning, automatic headlights and wipers, rear parking sensors, sat-nav and Apple CarPlay integration. Cooper S and PHEV models add various cosmetic upgrades, while the range-topping John Cooper Works version is a high-performance model loaded with sporty extras.

For Cooper, Cooper S and PHEV models you specify either a Classic, Sport or Exclusive pack on top of the basic equipment level. A huge array of optional packs allow you customise the Countryman's interior and exterior, and add the kind of luxury and tech features that you’d expect on a much larger car. Tick a few boxes and it’s easy to add thousands to the car’s cost.

Power for a MINI Countryman 4/5

The Countryman is available with petrol, diesel and petrol-electric hybrid power. Performance ranges from pretty good to darned quick.

The petrol range kicks off with the 136-horsepower Cooper, which is nippy enough. The 192-horsepower Cooper S is quite a bit quicker, and a better bet if you’re regularly going to fill your Countryman up with people and luggage. The Plug-in Hybrid model is quicker still, thanks to its blend of petrol and electric power, with a 0-62mph time of less than seven seconds. For real speed freaks there’s the John Cooper Works model, which has a monstrous 306 horsepower and gives a 0-62mph time of just over five seconds.

Four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox are standard for Plug-in Hybrid and John Cooper Works models and optional across the rest of the range.