Our cars: Mini Countryman - September

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  • Mini Countryman long-term test
  • Year-long review
  • Tested by Alex Newby
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman 1.6T Cooper S ALL4

Week ending September 30
Mileage 1646
Miles driven this week 85 miles

I've bought the Countryman a Sunshine Kids rear-seat child mirror (£11.99 from my local Halfords store) which lets me see in my rearview mirror what my baby is up to in his rear-facing seat. It was easy to strap around the rear headrest and helps make the Countryman a little more child-friendly.

Meanwhile, if I stretch my neck I can use the rear-view mirror to check on my forward-facing toddler. I’ve actually been tempted to avoid such craning and splash out on a child-view mirror that you can affix next to the normal rearview mirror – it's a standard fit on the most child-friendly vehicles, such as the Citroen C3 Picasso.
Alex.Newby@whatcar.com


Week ending September 23
Mileage 1561
Miles driven this week 66 miles

The Countryman’s sunroof is proving to be more than just a treat for me (it makes the cabin feel lighter and airier than it is, which is especially good news because I specified the seats in black to help hide any dirt). It’s also a useful way to keep the children amused, particularly my younger son who is stuck in a rear-facing car seat with only the back of the rear seat to look at.

Even if he were forward-facing he wouldn’t get much of the view because the Countryman’s door sills are too high for him to peer over, so the glass roof gives him an alternative and ever-changing view that I think he appreciates.
Alex.Newby@whatcar.com


Week ending September 16
Mileage 1495
Driven this week 155 miles


The Countryman’s sunroof is proving to be more than just a treat for me (it makes the cabin feel lighter and airier than it is, which is especially good news as I specified the seats in black to help hide any dirt).

It’s also a useful way to keep the children amused, particularly the baby who is stuck in a rear-facing car seat with only the back of the rear seat to look at. Even if he were facing forward he wouldn’t get much of the view, because the Countryman’s side windows aren't that deep. The glass roof gives him an alternative view that I think he appreciates.


Week ending September 16
Mileage 1495
Driven this week 155 miles


I've been cutting things extra fine this week, trying to make the most of a bit of spare time since my toddler has started nursery.

So I’ve been haring (responsibly, of course) between home, nursery and any other toddler-free chores, and my Cooper S Countryman has stepped nicely up to the challenge.

The engine is strong, smooth and responsive, body control is neat on corners and the steering is usefully light, all of which make it great for deftly navigating narrow backroads, mini-roundabouts and imminent traffic-light changes.

OK, so the steering is a little less accurate than you might expect from a sporty Mini, but it’s still quick enough to make driving fun, and the smooth gearshifts and well-positioned clutch pedal make the manual transmission very satisfying.

Parking the Countryman is a bit disappointing, though, especially at nursery where there’s a scrum for places and you’re under pressure to get into the first space you see: visibility out the back is pretty poor and the turning circle isn’t anything special, not to mention the fact the Countryman is needs a space bigger than a Golf. Still, no one ever said the Countryman was still a ‘mini’ in size, so I can’t really complain.
Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

strong>Week ending September 2
Mileage 1197
Miles covered this week 31

If you have a couple of very young children and are considering buying a Mini Countryman, chances are you will also want to know if the boot will take a Phil and Teds double buggy.

These smartly-designed prams, which cleverly position one child above the other to keep the pram's footprint to a minimum, are popular with design-conscious parents in particular, but they're pretty bulky once folded up.

We have a Sport model, which measures 76cm long by 51cm wide, and it fits with just a whisker to spare at the boot lip; space is less tight at
both ends, though there's not room on top for much more than a couple of small holdalls.

Obviously not every family needs to fit a double buggy in the boot of a Countryman but for those who do, it's worth noting that you won't have much room left for anything else. If your kids are still in a buggy they probably come with a lot of clobber, which you'll need to leave behind or - like me - relegate to the footwells while the kids' feet don't reach them.
Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

Our cars: Mini Countryman - August

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