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#15

in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $22,100 - $34,950
Invoice: $20,330 - $32,155
MPG: 28 City / 35 Hwy
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MINI Cooper Countryman Review

The 2014 MINI Cooper Countryman ranks 15 out of 22 Affordable Compact SUVs. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the MINI Cooper Countryman, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 MINI Cooper Countryman is ranked:

Charming style and sharp handling make the 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman a compelling choice for those willing to forgo the added cargo space offered by rivals, test drivers say.

The 2014 Cooper Countryman's base four-cylinder engine struggles to lug this larger Mini's frame, test drivers say. They much prefer the more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engines of higher trims. Test drivers say the standard six-speed manual transmission shifts easily and precisely but the optional six-speed automatic can be slow to downshift when more power is needed. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the base Countryman gets an EPA-estimated 25/30 mpg city/highway, which is good for a compact SUV though slightly less than the fuel economy of rivals like the Nissan Juke. With the manual transmission, it gets one of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class. Though test drivers say the Cooper Countryman is slightly less agile than the original Mini Cooper Hardtop, they report it still has athletic handling, crisp steering and is a joy to drive.    

The Mini Cooper Countryman has a charmingly retro design, auto writers say, and quality materials give the cabin an upscale feel. However, test drivers report that the dashboard layout is confusing and that the audio display is controlled by a knob instead of a touch screen, which is cumbersome to use while driving. Cargo space is small compared to other crossovers, but reviewers say it’s adequate given the Countryman’s small size. All seats are comfy and supportive, auto writers note, adding that the rear seats offer plenty of headroom and legroom, and that entry and exit are easy. Standard features include a six-speaker CD audio system, an auxiliary input, HD Radio, Bluetooth, a USB/iPod adapter, push-button start and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Available upgrades include satellite radio, a Harman Kardon sound system, an infotainment system with a hi-def display screen, navigation, a panoramic sunroof and rear parking sensors.

  • "While the Countryman doesn't offer the cargo capacity of such as the Ford Escape or Honda CR-V, both it and the Paceman deliver the charming style and miles-of-smiles driving enjoyment that are built into Mini ownership." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “Still, the Countryman is the only SUV that's also a Mini, and that will be enough for many buyers. Those seeking a compact crossover with better space, refinement, and value should look elsewhere." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Still, while choices like the CR-V, Equinox, Soul and Tucson are more practical and better suited for most shoppers, the Countryman is simply more fun, thanks to its customization options and entertaining handling. As such, the 2012 Mini Cooper Countryman earns our recommendation for drivers who don't mind making a few sacrifices for the sake of pleasure." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • “The fact that the Countryman has four conventionally hinged doors, sufficient space for four adults and a good deal of luggage capacity will be enough reason to lay down their hard earned cash. Image is everything, right? It's a Mini after all." -- AutoWeek (2011)
  • “Compared with the Cooper, the Countryman is a giant. It offers more rear cargo space, more room for passengers and, thus, more utility than either the Cooper or Clubman." -- MSN Autos (2011)

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Other SUVs to Consider

Reviewers say the Ford Escape is one of the top performers in the compact SUV class thanks to its agile handling and powerful optional engines. Test drivers like the roomy back seat and the Escape has a lot more cargo space than the Mini Cooper Countryman.

Like the Countryman, the Nissan Juke has unique styling and sporty driving dynamics, test drivers say. The Juke has a powerful turbocharged engine and is nimble around curves, they note, adding that its tech features are simple to use.

Compare the Countryman, Escape and Juke »

Details: 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman

The Mini Cooper Countryman seats five and has standard front-wheel drive. It is available in four trims: base, S, S ALL4 and John Cooper Works. The base Mini Cooper Countryman has a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a standard-six speed manual transmission, while higher trims feature a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. A six-speed automatic transmission is optional. ALL4 is Mini’s all-wheel drive system, which is standard in S ALL4 and John Cooper Works trims. The Cooper Countryman hasn’t changed much since it debuted for the 2011 model year, so this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2011 to 2014 model years.

See the full list of 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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