Compared with premium rivals, the Countryman’s purchase price is on a par with the likes of the Audi Q2 and undercuts the Mercedes-Benz GLA. It’s worth remembering that bigger mainstream rivals are the same price if not cheaper, though. Equipment levels are fairly generous, but we suspect most buyers will want to add a couple of thousand pounds of toys and personalisation options. You do at least get the option of Mini’s fixed-price servicing (called TLC) and strong residual values.
Front-wheel-drive petrol Countryman models will be pretty frugal and are ideal if you’re not travelling too far every year. The diesels are the best bet if you’re planning on racking up the miles and the automatic gearboxes also improve economy and emissions. Four-wheel drive is optional, but we’d only recommend it if you find yourself dealing with mud and snow regularly. On road, buyers are best to save their money and enjoy the lowing running costs of the two-wheel-drive models.
Business users may be interested in the plug-in hybrid Cooper SE, thanks to emissions of just 49g/km. Even taking into account that model's high purchase price, and after you include the government grant, that should still mean affordable benefit-in-kind payments. That said, we would take the car’s official fuel economy figure of 134.5mpg with a pinch of salt. It might be achievable on a short journey with a fully charged battery, but once you’ve run out of electricity it’s not much more efficient than the regular Coopers. If you do lots of high-mileage journeys, then the Cooper D may be a better bet.
If you do go for the hybrid, an 80% charge takes three hours via a standard three-pin socket, or two hours using a public or wall charging point.