2018 MINI Cooper Countryman

Performance


$26,600 MSRP
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2018 MINI Cooper Countryman Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.9

The 2018 Mini Cooper Countryman features a standard three-cylinder base engine, but it offers two available turbo-four engines that move this SUV more easily. The 2018 model year also sees the introduction of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Countryman’s ride is firm but comfortable, and it delivers poised handling on winding roads.

  • "It might be the biggest Mini of them all … but the Countryman is still a small SUV. And it drives like one, too. The Cooper S ALL4 Countryman automatic we sampled on the launch program in the U.K. zipped along narrow British country lanes like a tall hot hatch, especially with the transmission in Sport or Manual modes to make the most of the 2.0-liter engine's 207 lb-ft of torque from 1,250 rpm. The ALL4 system delivered welcome grip in icy corners, and the meaty steering allowed the big Mini to be accurately placed between the hedgerows." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • "This new generation of the Mini Cooper Countryman drives well, while feeling spacious and comfortable for road trips. I didn't find it entirely convincing for offroad exploring due to the ground clearance, but the all-wheel-drive system should help traction in during winter weather." -- CNET (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Countryman comes standard with a 134-horsepower turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is optional with this engine. The base engine has adequate power around town, but it feels sluggish when weighed down with people or cargo.

A 189-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (in the S Countryman) and a 228-horsepower twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (in the John Cooper Works Countryman) are available. These engines deliver better power and acceleration, and they’re probably worth the upgrade. In addition to the six-speed manual transmission, these engines can be paired with an eight-speed automatic.

New for 2018, the Countryman also offers a plug-in hybrid powertrain (in the S E Countryman) that features a twin-turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to put out 221 horsepower. The plug-in hybrid is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.

With the base engine, the Countryman gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. That’s below-average for a subcompact SUV. Fuel economy is about the same with the turbo-four engine. The S E Countryman can go 12 miles on electric power alone while getting 65 mpg-e combined city/highway. It gets a 27 mpg combined under gasoline power.

  • "The good news: The new base-model Countryman feels more powerful than the old one. The bad news: It still isn't powerful enough. The 1.5 liter engine turns out a healthy 162 lb-ft of torque, as much as a stout 4-cylinder engine, and it pulls strongly and steadily, if not very enthusiastically." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "The Cooper S feels much quicker than the Cooper, with acceleration punch both around town and out on the highway that's addicting. Pop the mode selector into Sport and everything gets even more fun, with a different shift program, firmer steering, different suspension settings and better accelerator response that turns the compact crossover into a tossable, snarling little beast." -- Cars.com (2017)
  • "Mini says that the Countryman will actually, perhaps counter-intuitively, be more popular than its other, smaller models in urban and densely packed suburban areas (just like Portland) where customers are more likely to have one car and thus need it to be more functional. If that's the case, the base Cooper engine might be sufficient if all you're going to do is putter around town. However, with two sizable people aboard, the base Countryman struggled to get up to speed, and flooring it up an incline really didn't accomplish much. Opting for Sport mode was needed just to keep the small three-banger on its toes around town." -- Autoblog (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Countryman comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive (which Mini calls All4) is available. This Mini has better handling than many other subcompact SUVs, and its steering is responsive. Still, the Countryman isn’t quite as nimble as other Minis, and it exhibits a bit more body lean than Mazda rivals. The ride is smooth but feels a little stiff over uneven pavement. There are selectable modes that let you tailor driving dynamics more to your liking.

  • "The Countryman is more fun to zip around turns than most other cars in this class, but it's best to think of it as a sporty alternative to small crossovers and wagons rather than a large Mini. It doesn't quite live up to those expectations. Feels as if there's more body roll than in a Mazda CX-5." -- Edmunds
  • "In terms of handling, you won't hear us complain: Despite its extra bulk, the new Countryman delivers exactly what we expect from a MINI. The steering is hyper-responsive, and no matter how hard you tug the wheel, the car refuses to lose its composure. It's as if body lean simply doesn't exist in MINI's universe. The Countryman's ride is significantly firmer than competing SUVs, but it's not uncomfortable – at least, not unless you crash straight through a pothole you didn't see … and noise levels are reasonable. The ALL4 system provides good traction on slick roads, but this is not an off-road-ready crossover like the Jeep Renegade." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "The new Countryman is still on the firm end of the spectrum, but that's just in keeping with its road-hugging character. Importantly, the impact harshness is now gone and there's a nicely damped ride very much in keeping with its BMW roots. Not only is the suspension more sophisticated than before … but crucially, the 18-inch wheels are now shod in higher-profile rubber. You can also get non-run-flat tires and a compact spare to smooth things out further." -- Autoblog (2017)
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