What's the used Mini Countryman hatchback like?
Let's face it, there are loads of used SUVs out there, but very few have that extra panache to make them stand out from the masses. Apart from the Mini Countryman, which is stuffed with so many retro styling cues that you couldn't mistake it for anything else.
Naturally, the Countryman is an awful lot bigger than the original Mini the designers have tried so hard to imitate, but among SUVs, it's actually in the smallest class of all – and goes head to head with the Audi Q2 and Fiat 500X.
This changed somewhat in late 2018 with the introduction of 'style' tiers to Cooper and Cooper S models: Classic, Sport and Exclusive. Think of them as Classic being the standard version, Sport having the more athletic styling inside and out (and also a firmer ride, because most had sports suspension fitted; it became a no-cost option from the 2020 facelift), and Exclusive being the posh one with a bespoke alloy wheel design and fancier leather seats inside. The various optional packs continued as before.
Minis have a reputation for terrific handling, and the Countryman is certainly sharper than most SUVs to drive, with minimal body lean if you throw it into a corner and a responsive front end that turns in sharply, making the whole car feel agile and nimble.
However, it isn’t perfect; for one thing, the steering doesn’t offer the same incisive feedback as smaller cars, and it’s far too heavy, making the Countryman a bit of a chore when the time comes to park it.
You also pay the price for that tight handling the instant you go over a bump. Well, actually, you don’t even need a bump to tell how firm the Countryman’s suspension is; the slightest imperfection in the road surface will communicate that to you. Even the regular models suffer from a bouncy ride, while the hot Cooper S model is firm enough to jiggle your teeth around.