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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 Performance

Reviewers say the Mini Cooper Countryman's base engine can feel underpowered, but they like the added oomph provided by the turbo engines on higher trims. They praise the six-speed manual for its precise shifts, saying it adds to driver engagement. Some reviewers note that the automatic transmission is occasionally slow to downshift when more power is needed. The Countryman exhibits much of the razor-sharp handling for which Mini is known, reviewers say, though there are a few compromises in agility due to its added bulk. Reviewers report that the Countryman’s brakes are strong, steering is responsive and it’s a lot of fun to drive.

  • "What every Mini offers is driving enjoyment that is unique and unmatched in its ability to deliver giggles per mile for the money. Even if faced with a long commute, at least you get to tackle those bumper-to-bumper miles in a Mini." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Though it's a bit slower and less nimble, many of the Countryman's traits feel as if they were lifted unchanged from its little brother, including the hefty steering, the mechanical clack of every manual transmission gearchange, the distinctive turbo buzz of the S engine and, yes, the sometimes too-firm ride." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • “All Countryman variants have crisp steering; athletic handling; and strong, smooth brakes with a compliant pedal feel. Pressing the standard 'Sport' button firms up steering feel and sharpens response." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "We've become very accustomed to the turbocharged Mini drivetrain over the past few years, and while the Countryman does feel heavier and more sluggish off the line, it's still plenty playful at speed." -- Autoblog (2011)
  • “That said, the two editions powered by a normally aspirated engine should be crossed off your shopping list because the Countryman is 400 pounds heavier and a substantially larger barn door to push through the wind than a base Mini hardtop." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman has a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that is rated at 121 horsepower. The S and John Cooper Works models have turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines that produce 181 and 208 horsepower, respectively. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional. All Cooper Countryman models use premium fuel, which is unusual for the class. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the base Countryman gets an EPA-estimated 25/30 mpg city/highway, which is good for a compact crossover, but slightly less than the fuel economy of competitors like the Nissan Juke. With the manual transmission, the Countryman gets one of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class at 28/35 mpg.

The Cooper Countryman’s base engine has the same horsepower rating as the original Mini Cooper Hardtop’s, and most test drivers say that it has trouble moving around the Countryman’s extra weight, and is noticeably slower off the line. However, they say that higher trims with turbocharged engines offer plenty of pep. Reviewers like the manual transmission for its crisp, satisfying shifts. They say the automatic transmission is generally responsive but can be slow to downshift when more power is needed. 

See the full 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman specs »

  • "If you want more, the turbocharged Cooper S version should do the trick or, to go all the way, the John Cooper Works editions bring more than 200 horsepower. Whichever one you pick, every Mini that rolls off a showroom floor is almost guaranteed to bring smiles to the face of its happy driver." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As on other Minis, the manual gearbox pleases with light, precise shift and clutch action. The automatic is mostly smooth and responsive, but often delays downshifts through slow corners and for highway passing, though the manual-shift feature helps compensate." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "While the base engine does just fine in the lighter Cooper, it's not up to the task of briskly motivating the Countryman's 500 pounds of additional curb weight. The wagon lags behind competitors in the sprint to 60 mph; its time of nearly 11 seconds places it behind slowpokes like the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. As such, we recommend opting for the S model." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The turbo demonstrates excellent enthusiasm for its work including a hearty howl as it crowds the 6250 rpm redline (common to all Minis). The manual transmission is a joy to use with well orchestrated clutch and shifter action." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers say the Countryman’s handling is excellent, and that the Countryman inherits much of the sprightly dynamics of the original Mini Cooper Hardtop. They also praise its strong brakes and precise steering, though some say that because the Countryman is heavier than other Minis, it sacrifices some agility and has modest body roll around curves. All-wheel drive comes standard with Cooper S ALL4 and John Cooper Works models.  

  • "Still, even though the bigger Countryman and Paceman might lack a bit of the storied quickness of the smaller models, they are still snappy and crisp when dealing with pavement that goes thisaway and thataway." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Out on the road, the Countryman possesses nearly the same nimble, eager driving dynamics as MINI's smaller models, albeit with more body roll and lower overall limits - the price paid for the larger interior." -- Left Lane News
  • "Countryman lacks the skateboard agility of the smaller, lighter Minis, but is little less entertaining, thanks to crisp steering, moderate cornering lean, and strong, smooth brakes with nicely judged pedal effort." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "And while the Countryman is bigger than the standard Cooper, its larger size doesn't significantly affect handling; this Mini is almost as nimble as its hatchback sibling." -- Edmunds (2012)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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