A Mini that is designed to cope with family living, the Countryman is a small SUV that takes the cute retro styling of the hatch, but adds greater practicality. It’s hugely popular and a rival for crossovers such as the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, and even larger rivals such as the Skoda Yeti and Audi Q3. However, despite its larger size and weight, the Countryman uses the same engines as the hatch, so performance is quite slow on the entry-level models.
Four-wheel drive is available on most cars in the range, as is a six-speed automatic gearbox, but the Countryman suffers from poor refinement, a firm ride, low-rent cabin and shortage of standard kit – most of the options are expensive too.
The Countryman is hard to recommend, despite its funky retro looks, reasonable practicality and low running costs. It’s far too noisy, expensive and uncomfortable, and not as good to drive it should be. The shortage of standard equipment, plus the high list prices make it an even harder sell, especially compared with some of the larger, more versatile SUVs that can be bought at the same price.