By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
Think of the 2013 Mini Cooper Countryman as the "big Mini." Though still small by regular-car standards, the Countryman is the roomiest, most passenger-friendly vehicle in the expanding Mini lineup. With four real doors, seating for five and a rear cargo hatch, the Mini Cooper Countryman breathes more everyday practicality into the British marque and BMW sub-brand. As a crossover SUV, the Countryman doesn't have the cargo-hauling or towing capability of bigger vehicles such as the Ford Escape or Honda CR-V, but it does offer something those others can't match: The nimble driving characteristics for which all Minis are known. Given these traits plus fuel efficiency and the availability of all-wheel drive, the Countryman may just be the motivator needed for those who yearn for a Mini but need more room.
If you want the go-kart driving dynamics that Minis offer but need everyday practicality to haul people and cargo, the Countryman could be your happy medium to happy motoring.
Among the changes to the 2013 Countryman is a little one that's a rather big deal in Mini Land: The power-window controls are integrated into the armrests vs. the cute-but-frustrating prior setup of tiny toggles in the center dash. For 2013 the Countryman will be available in even more potent John Cooper Works form, marking the first JCW model with all-wheel drive.
Driving Impressions Minis are known for their go-kart handling. Though not necessarily lightning fast, these diminutive British vehicles are immensely fun to fling around corners. That dynamic nature extends to the 2013...Countryman, but due to its larger size and added weight, it isn't quite as agile as its smaller and lighter siblings. For a crossover SUV, though, the 2013 Mini Countryman is immensely fun to drive, especially for drivers willing to shift for themselves via the snappy 6-speed manual transmission. Those drivers will also likely prefer the higher-powered Cooper S version of the Countryman that features a turbocharged engine. Mini enthusiasts willing to take the financial plunge of the new, $35,000-plus John Cooper Works edition of the Countryman will be rewarded with an invigorating little mover that has an intoxicating exhaust note that growls with the best of them. On the flip side, the Countryman's stiffer suspension results in a firmer overall ride.
TRADITIONAL WINDOW SWITCHES
Don't get us wrong: We love the eccentricity of Mini's retro-style switches. But having to target the awkwardly placed metal toggles in the low center dash gets to be a pain in daily driving. After a chorus of criticism, Mini has finally relented and placed the switches where you expect to find them: in the door panel.
MINI CONNECTED INFOTAINMENT SYSTEM
In addition to the usual tech features such as navigation and Bluetooth connectivity, Mini's system uses a driver's smartphone and apps to play Web-based audio, access social-media sites, and even utilize Google Send to Car, which emails destinations you've chosen beforehand to check out. Further, the digital goodness is presented on a color 6.5-inch screen housed within Mini's ginormous speedometer.
The Countryman's cabin is just as charismatic as others in the Mini lineup. That's to say there is the usual dichotomy of the massively oversized speedometer in the center of the car with scads of small buttons and dials below. Thankfully the power window switches have finally been removed from this area and placed in the door housings like the majority of other cars. For 2013, the Countryman now comes standard with a 3-person rear bench, with the pair of individual rear seats now a no-cost option. With that latter setup is a unique rail system that runs between the seats. Available as one or two sections, the rail enables you to attach cup holders, an iPod cradle, eyeglass case and more.Exterior
Picture a Mini that's gone muscular, and you'll probably imagine something like the Countryman. In addition to being more than 16 inches longer than a Mini Cooper Hardtop, the Countryman is distinguished by its two rear passenger doors, extra height, and additional curves. Like the Mini's interior, the exterior is highly customizable. There are a wealth of choices for everything from paint scheme to wheels and headlight housings. The performance-oriented John Cooper Works models are fitted with an aerodynamic kit and, like the Cooper S version, twin exhaust outlets.
The 2013 Mini Cooper Countryman comes in three major trims: Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works, with the biggest difference being their engine power output. Standard on all models are a 6-speed manual transmission, leatherette seats, AM/FM/CD/HD Radio audio with six speakers and an auxiliary input, a climate-controlled glove box, and remote entry. On the safety front, there are seven airbags, 4-channel antilock brakes, and traction and stability control. Like other new Mini models, the Countryman comes with no-cost maintenance that includes oil changes, wiper blades, brakes and rotors for three years or 36,000 miles. Roadside assistance comes standard for four years and unlimited models.
As with other vehicles in Mini's growing stable, the Countryman can be configured over 10 million different ways. We won't count them here, but will instead mention some of the bigger options that can be had, often grouped in packages. The Mini Connected package is available with or without navigation and includes a nifty infotainment system and color screen that syncs with smartphones. Other goodies include a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, a harman/kardon premium sound system, parking sensors, leather seating, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Configuring a Mini online is meant to be a fun experience as you tailor the interior and exterior to your individual taste.
The 2013 Mini Countryman is powered by the same 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine as its smaller siblings. Like them, it comes in various power outputs. The base S model makes a just-adequate 121 horsepower, while the S model makes a more robust 181 horsepower. The top dog is the John Cooper Works,which delivers a potent 208 horsepower that can shuffle this vehicle from 0-60 mph in about seven seconds. Base Mini Countryman models are front-wheel drive only. The Cooper S Countryman can be had with Mini's ALL4 all-wheel drive, which comes standard on the John Cooper Works model. Standard on all models is a snappy 6-speed manual transmission, with a 6-speed automatic optional. The Mini Countryman has good fuel economy, but it also requires premium fuel. Towing is not recommended.
121 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
114 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/35 mpg (manual), 25/30 mpg (automatic)
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
181 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/32 mpg (manual), 25/32 mpg (automatic), 25/31 mpg (manual, AWD), 23/30 mpg (automatic, AWD)
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
208 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
192 lb-ft of torque @ 1,850-5,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/31 mpg (manual), 23/30 mpg (automatic)
By Pablo on Thursday, December 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun To Drive"
Cons: "Missing Some Basic Design Features That You Expect"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I purchased the Countryman S after driving a pickup truck for 10 years fully expecting to be blown away. I wasn't. It is a very high performance car, but it lacks some really basic features that I would expect a $30K car to have. For example, the center console is a joke (and is not standard you have to buy it extra). Not enough room to store much of anything. Also, there is not an overhead storage area for glasses and sunglasses. There is a small inconvenient storage location in the center console strip to store 1 pair of glasses. Since I have 3 pairs I am out of luck. The base radio is very poor quality. If you are considering purchasing one of these cars, spend the $$ for the better stereo. The hands-free phone feature does not include texting, only phone calls. My pickup truck had a true hands-free system which was nice and I miss it. Also, the side mirrors sit low and are partially covered by the door. When you are sitting in the driver's seat, you can't see the entire passenger side mirror which causes a blind spot. Lastly, the MPG is at least 20% less than sticker. I get 28-29 HWY MPG and 26-27 Combined MPG. The sticker said 28 Combined and 34 HWY. Overall I am disappointed. I would not buy another until they improve these basic design flaws."
By baprice on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty, fun, reliable"
Cons: "small, limited storage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car has been a joy to drive. The four door countryman is still sporty and the manual transmission brought back many great memories of younger days. The small size is inconvenient and requires a family with multiple vehicles for any activities that require storage."
15 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By MontanaMike on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Driving dynamics, look..."
Cons: "Gas mileage, sunroof shade"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I've had my Mini Countryman for 1 year and thought it time for a review. What do I like. The looks, driving dynamic, brakes, fun factor, quality build, transmission, engine get up and go, I can fit 4 people and easy access to back seat, added space for carrying stuff in boot and fact that it's a unique car that not a lot of people in my area own. What I don't like. Mediocre gas mileage for a car this small, uses premium gas, mesh sun shade on sunroofs which lets in way too much heat and light, run flat tires, limited interior storage and badly placed, and too small, cup holders. Overall this has been a great car. I'm leasing and will I keep in when lease ends -- still undecided on that issue."
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Gilligan on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,100overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks good"
Cons: "bad interior, terrible transmission in base model"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I wish I had bought the "S" model, because the automatic transmission in the 2012 Countryman is far below expectations in terms of getting off the line. "Sport Mode" helps to improve the transmission performance, but it must be enabled every time you start the car (and there are some drawbacks to the use of "sport mode"). The 2012 Countryman has a bunch of BAD (which we considered "quirky" when we bought it) design features. Nearly ALL of these bad choices have been fixed in the next year's models. (for instance, window controls moved to from console to door, back seats converted to bench without the separating rail, standard center arm rest) I have had buyer's remorse with this car since month one. It is essentially a highly styled, expensive "Toyota Matrix" but without the zip. I was shocked to drive my mother-in-laws 5+ year old Matrix only to find out that it was a much better drive than my Countryman. Disappointed!"
5 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Nina on Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Unique, thrilling, comfortable, fun tech, eco"
Cons: "Pricey, not meant to be automatic"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I don't know many cars that can haul down the highway, fit four-five passengers comfortably, offer decent gas mileage, take on the snow/rain/dirt like champ, and all at a reasonable price. Having BMW build this car puts me a little more at ease with the bumper-to-bumper warranty and the excellent safety ratings. This is my second MINI and by far my favorite. It's different--not your day-to-day sedans everyone and their mother owns. Trendy but efficient. MINI offers thousands of customizable options to create your unique car. No car is perfect and I'm not looking forward to the expenses after the warranty runs out, but that's a problem most cars and their owners run into. I've always owned GM cars, but wanted something out of the ordinary. MINI certainly delivers. I get compliments everywhere I go and have had people roll down their windows mid-highway to ask me how I like the car. I'm a little bias, but I feel cars like MINI's are meant to be manual. All turbo, small-liter cars should be manual; and the manual doesn't disappoint. Smooth shifting, light clutch, and so much fun to drive."
15 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Josh G on Friday, April 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, space, functionality, sunroof"
Cons: "Pickup, MPG, cost of repairs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"If I were to do it again, I'd pony up the extra cash for the 'S' model. I had a Clubman S, and downgrading to the base is very noticeable. The pickup on my car is terrible and the gas mileage isn't so great either. I hope with the redesign in 2016-2017 we see these 2 items addressed! Otherwise, I am a die-hard Mini fan - love everything else about my Countryman."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful