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2018 MINI Countryman

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2018 MINI Countryman Expert Review

By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor

As the largest member of the Mini family, the 2018 Cooper Countryman combines the brilliant driving dynamics of its smaller companions with a roomy and versatile interior. Befitting its off-road image, the Countryman also has more ground clearance than the other Mini models. From its iconic styling to its retro interior, the Countryman displays a level of refinement and capability uncommon in a Mini. Fresh from its redesign last year, the Countryman appeals to Mini fans with a more adventurous side, those who may be considering a Subaru Crosstrek or Jeep Compass but would rather stay with the British brand. The Countryman also now offers a plug-in hybrid model with a 65-MPGe rating.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2018 Mini Countryman delivers Mini style, comfort and driving enjoyment in a larger package that is more amenable to the needs of families on the go. The upscale interior and amenities will impress, as will options such as the John Cooper Works package and available all-wheel drive.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Countryman is a unique prospect in that it doesn’t ride as comfortably as most compact-crossover SUVs and costs significantly more than similarly equipped rivals. You’ll find better off-road performance from a Subaru or Jeep SUV, and a larger dealer network as well.

How It Ranks

#10

out of 21

Fuel Economy

#21

out of 21

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 MINI Countryman Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The 2018 Mini Countryman gains a few new features this year. The Head-up Display switch has been relocated to the touch screen, and the fuel gauge is redesigned. Along with a John Cooper Works package, a new Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid joins the line.

Driving the Countryman
2018 MINI Countryman Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Even with its added size and ground clearance, the Countryman delivers all the go-kart-like moves expected of a car wearing the Mini badge. The steering is quick and responsive, the...

... handling like running on rails. It takes only a few moments on a winding mountain road to fall in love with this car. While the standard 3-cylinder engine is fine for daily commutes, you’ll really want the added power from either the 2.0-liter turbo or the new plug-in hybrid. With 189 and 221 horsepower respectively, both engines offer a more engaging drive with really no penalty in fuel economy. And of course, there’s the 228-horsepower John Cooper Works option, but that pushes the price up another $8,000. In the S model, we found a nicely composed vehicle with strong acceleration, a rather stiff ride and, when fitted with all-wheel drive, the sure-footedness of a mountain goat wearing cleats.

SECOND-ROW SEATING
Unlike the Mini Hardtop, the Countryman offers a roomy and comfortable rear seat. With plenty of legroom, even taller occupants will feel at home, and the 40/20/40 seat not only slides fore and aft, it can be folded, reclined or tilted as well.

MINI TECH
Along with its advanced navigation, head-up display, available Apple CarPlay and wireless charging pad, the Countryman also features cool details like a programmable LED ring that mirrors audio volume changes, mimics the tachometer’s movement and works in conjunction with the forward-collision systems.

2018 MINI Countryman Details
2018 MINI Countryman Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Mini’s Countryman is based on a larger platform than its predecessor, making the cabin roomier than ever before. The second row has four inches more legroom, and its seat slides, reclines and folds, and offers a 40/20/40-split to accommodate people and cargo. Materials’ quality and tech features are first-rate. Options like quilted leather seating, panoramic sunroof, smartphone charging, a head-up display and a new navigation system bring the Countryman more in line with luxury models than mainstream ones. But there's still plenty of Mini in this Countryman, with accent lighting, oversized displays and toggle switches.

Exterior
2018 MINI Countryman photo

In the Mini world, the Countryman looks least like the archetype 2-door Hardtop. But that doesn't mean it doesn’t look like a Mini at all; it's as if the Mini were stretched and lifted. The 2018 Countryman has a more expressive face, a longer hood and longer rear end. The cargo-area features include a power tailgate and a fold-out picnic cushion. You may see Countrymen roam the streets, but chances are you haven't seen many that are identical. According to Mini, there are more than 10 million ways to customize a Mini, and a large percentage of buyers do just that.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Countryman comes standard with a 3-cylinder engine, a 6-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive (FWD). A panoramic sunroof (which can be deleted if you don't want it) and dual-zone climate control come with every Mini, as do the sliding rear seats. All Countrymen also come with eight airbags, 17-inch wheels, automatic headlights, Bluetooth, rearview camera and rear park distance control, Attentiveness Assist, automatic rain-sensing wipers, a 6.5-inch screen with Mini Connected, and Mini's selectable Green, Normal and Sport driving modes.

Optional Equipment

Countryman buyers can opt for the 4-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission and all-wheel drive (AWD). While some options are available as stand-alone items, most are part of packages. Some packages are the Cold Weather Package (including heated seats), Premium Package (where you can get power seats and power tailgate), Technology Package (key features are the navigation system, Apple CarPlay, wireless smartphone charging and head-up display), Sport Package (with 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and fog lights, sport seats and dynamic damper control) -- or you can get the Fully Loaded Package, which includes it all.

Under the Hood
2018 MINI Countryman Engine photo

The idea of a 3-cylinder engine powering a Mini crossover SUV may ring some alarm bells, but the 1.5-liter turbo-3 that comes standard with the Countryman has more horsepower than the engine in the 2016 base model, and almost as much torque as the previous Cooper Countryman S. It isn't quick, but it's faster than you'd think. It's backed by a 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic or 8-speed automatic, all of which are programmed to wring out every bit of this engine's power. Most will likely choose the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, to get more power and somewhat comparable fuel economy. With the four, you can choose a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic with or without paddle shifters. The new plug-in hybrid uses the 2.0-liter engine paired with an electric motor for a combined 221 horsepower. AWD is standard, as is a 6-speed automatic transmission.

1.5-liter turbocharged inline-3 (Countryman)
134 horsepower @ 4,400 rpm
162 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg (FWD, manual), 24/32 mpg (FWD, automatic), 22/32 mpg (AWD, manual), 23/30 mpg (AWD, automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (S Countryman)
189 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/32 mpg (FWD, automatic), 21/31 mpg (AWD, manual), 22/31 mpg (AWD, automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (John Cooper Works)
228 horsepower @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,450-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (manual), 22/30 mpg (automatic)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4/electric motor assist (S E ALL4)
221 horsepower (combined)
284 lb-ft of torque (combined)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27 mpg combined, 65 mpge

The base 2018 Mini Cooper Countryman starts with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $27,450, and pricing moves up for the Cooper Countryman ALL4 ($29,450), Cooper Countryman S ($32,050) and Cooper Countryman S ALL4 ($32,550). A fully decked-out S ALL4 can cost $48,000. The John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 starts around $38,650, while the S E plug-in hybrid lists for $37,650. The Countryman sits between mainstream-compact SUVs and luxury-compact SUVs. Lower-priced options include the driver-centric Mazda CX-5, starting around $25,000, and the adventure-minded Subaru Crosstrek, with pricing starting under $23,000. On the other end of the spectrum are the similarly sized Audi Q3 and Mercedes-Benz GLA both starting around $34,000, and Infiniti's QX30 at just under $31,000. To see what others in your area are paying for their Mini Countryman, check out KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price. Historically, the Countryman has held its value quite well against the competition.

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