Mini Countryman JCW review

Category: Sports SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Mini Countryman JCW 2020 rear cornering RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 front cornering RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 rear cornering RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 dashboard RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 rear seats RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 dashboard RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 front cornering wide RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 front cornering rear RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 front seats RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 boot open RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 front cornering RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 rear cornering RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 dashboard RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 rear seats RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 dashboard RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 front cornering wide RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 front cornering rear RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 front seats RHD
  • Mini Countryman JCW 2020 boot open RHD
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Let’s start with the good. Minis have always been famed for their “go-kart-like handling”, and you’ll be pleased to know the Countryman JCW manages to maintain some of that reputation, despite being so much bigger than the brand’s other models. Body control is impressively tight and there’s plenty of grip when you throw it into corners.

However, unlike the smaller Mini hatch, which handles such behaviour in its stride, the Countryman betrays its considerable extra weight with noticeable body lean on especially winding roads. The T-Roc R manages to remain more composed, feeling more like a hot hatch than a bulked-up SUV. 

We have yet to try the optional adaptive suspension, which softens or sharpens the ride on demand, in collaboration with the JCW’s three driving modes. The latter are standard, though, and allow you to determine the accelerator response, the steering weight and, most importantly, the exhaust noise. Sport mode sharpens everything up and unleashes an exaggerated rasping noise from the exhaust, while Green mode holds back on the accelerator to help save fuel.

The eight-speed ‘sports’ automatic gearbox is pleasingly quick to respond, and slicker than the auto ‘boxes found in the German rivals. Put your foot down and it jumps into life with minimal delay, so doesn’t leave you frustrated like you would be in the more expensive Audi SQ2. You also get steering-wheel-mounted paddles to let you take control of the changes yourself, which also react sharply. 

Mini Countryman JCW 2020 rear cornering RHD
New car deals
Target Price from £39,375
Swipe to see used and leasing deals