2017 MINI Countryman

2017 MINI Countryman Review

The 2017 Countryman offers classic Mini driving dynamics and design in a passenger-friendly package.
4.0 / 5
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

What do you do when you love the exciting driving dynamics of the playful Mini Hatchback but need more passenger and cargo space than it provides? Luckily, the 2017 Mini Countryman embodies the spirit of its diminutive siblings in a package that makes it easy to share that experience with your friends and family.

The fully redesigned Mini Countryman is longer and wider than its predecessor, with more headroom, legroom and cargo room than before. The base four-cylinder engine in the previous model has been replaced by the turbocharged three-cylinder found in other Minis, while the optional turbo-four offers more horsepower and torque. Current-generation Mini interior design is finally incorporated into the Countryman; the speedometer is now in a normal position in front of the driver and the central display is now a touchscreen.

The 2017 Mini Countryman retains the features that made us like it in the first place. The 40/20/40-split second row slides and reclines, allowing rear passengers to make full use of the compact dimensions. Interior materials look and feel like they are worth the price premium Minis command. The stylized cabin design is also undoubtedly more interesting than those of the Countryman's reserved rivals. Whether you view it as a family-friendly Mini or simply a unique alternative to competing small crossovers, the 2017 Countryman is ready to take you on your next adventure.



What's new for 2017

The 2017 Mini Countryman is fully redesigned. Highlights include new styling, upgraded engines, and a revamped and roomier interior.

We recommend

There's no doubt the standard Countryman Cooper is a good deal; smaller Mini models such as the four-door Hatchback and Clubman have a similar price when equipped to the Countryman's starting configuration. Though the base three-cylinder Cooper engine is perfectly acceptable in the smaller Minis, it might be a bit outmatched if you're frequently using the heavier Countryman to haul around people and cargo. We'd go with the Cooper S. The significant increase in performance (Mini estimates a 2-second difference in the sprint from zero to 60 mph) makes it worth the upgrade in our eyes, and we expect fuel economy between the two engines to be very similar.




Trim levels & features

The 2017 Mini Countryman is a sporty and fun alternative to the standard set of small crossovers and wagons. The Countryman earns the premium price tag it carries by offering a substantial list of standard features, and a plethora of available options allows buyers to customize the Countryman to their heart's content. The two trims, Cooper and Cooper S, have similar feature content but are differentiated by the engines underhood. Whichever you get, you'll be rewarded by a Mini that prioritizes passenger space and driving thrills in equal measure.

Powering the base front-wheel-drive Cooper trim is a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine (134 horsepower, 162 pound-feet of torque) matched to your choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. On the all-wheel-drive Countryman All4, the automatic transmission has eight speeds.

You get a lot of features with the Countryman, including 17-inch wheels, summer performance tires, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a heated windshield wiper system, roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, adjustable driving modes, height-adjustable front seats, 40/20/40-split rear seats, faux leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient lighting, Bluetooth, a 6.5-inch display screen and a six-speaker audio system.

Our pick is the Cooper S, though. It has a peppy turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (189 hp, 207 lb-ft) mated to a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. It also gets 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and foglights, and heated front sport seats. All-wheel drive is optional.

Though both Cooper and Cooper S typically draw from the same pool of options packages, the Sport package is unique to the Cooper. It includes the 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and foglights, and sport seats from the Cooper S, along with adaptive suspension dampers. The Cooper's Cold Weather package adds heated front seats and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Every other package can be outfitted to either model. For those looking for additional luxury and storage features, there's the Convenience package (rear armrest, vehicle alarm, cargo divider, and a choice between a cargo area flip-out seating cushion or spare tire) and Premium package (power-adjustable front seats, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, tinted glass and a hands-free power liftgate). The Technology package includes a wealth of upgrades, including an 8.8-inch touchscreen, navigation, a head-up display, wireless phone charging and an automated parallel parking system. The Fully Loaded package includes all four above packages plus satellite radio and the Cold Weather package.

If appearance-oriented upgrades are more your thing, the John Cooper Works Interior package includes a unique steering wheel, sport seats (if not already equipped), a black headliner and JCW-branded decorations, while the JCW Exterior package adds 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, additional stability control choices and aerodynamic modifications.

Many of the above options can be ordered separately. Additional stand-alone options include 19-inch wheels, all-season tires, leather upholstery, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters (automatic-equipped Cooper S models only), and exterior and interior styling modifications.



Trim tested

Edmunds has not yet driven any version of this vehicle. The following is our first take on what's significant about it and what you can expect.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5

Driving

4.0 / 5

Acceleration3.0 / 5
Braking3.0 / 5
Steering4.5 / 5
Handling4.5 / 5
Drivability4.0 / 5

Comfort

3.0 / 5

Seat comfort2.0 / 5
Ride comfort3.5 / 5
Noise & vibration3.0 / 5
Climate control3.0 / 5

Interior

3.0 / 5

Ease of use3.0 / 5
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5
Driving position3.5 / 5
Roominess3.0 / 5
Visibility5.0 / 5
Quality5.0 / 5

Utility

3.0 / 5

Small-item storage3.5 / 5
Cargo space2.5 / 5

Technology

4.5 / 5

Audio & navigation3.5 / 5
Smartphone integration3.0 / 5
Driver aids4.0 / 5
Voice control5.0 / 5

Driving4.0

The Countryman Cooper S is more entertaining to drive than most traditional compact crossovers, but it's not as quick as luxury alternatives such as the BMW X1 and Volvo V60. It splits the difference between these two groups in most other performance-related areas as well.

Acceleration3.0

Even though this is the sporty Cooper S model, the Countryman feels sluggish at partial throttle in Green and Mid driving modes. It's not until you select Sport that it feels like it's got some pep. It doesn't rocket off the line, but we were achieved a decent 0-60-mph time of 7.2 seconds.

Braking3.0

Brake pedal has a light to moderate amount of resistance, with good initial bite when you tap into the pedal. It's not grabby, however, and stopping force feels linear with effort. It came to a halt from 60 mph in 117 feet, average against standard crossovers and a bit long versus luxury rivals.

Steering4.5

True to Mini's sporting intentions, steering effort is a little heavier than in competitors. Effort doesn't change while cycling through driving modes, but the car feels quicker to react in Sport. Feels good at highway speeds; you don't need to make corrections to keep the car tracking straight.

Handling4.5

The Countryman is more fun to zip around turns in than most other cars in this class, but it's best to think of it as a sporty alternative to small crossovers and wagons rather than a large Mini. It doesn't quite live up to those expectations. Feels like there's more body roll than in a Mazda CX-5.

Drivability4.0

The clutch is easy to operate, with a catch point just off the floor, so you barely have to ease up before forward movement ensues. The clutch pedal isn't heavy, either. Shifter throws are a little long and rubbery, but it's easy to find the right gate. Cruise control reduces set speed when turning.

Comfort3.0

The Countryman exhibits a degree of comfort that is surprising given Mini's sporting reputation. The ride is rarely choppy, and the cabin is typically fairly quiet. The rear vents help keep rear passengers happy. Aggressively bolstered front seats and heat-trapping upholstery are major drawbacks.

Seat comfort2.0

The side bolsters on these seats are thick and don't move much during hard cornering. However, the seatback and bottom are narrow, making it nearly impossible to not rest your legs on the thigh bolsters. Many people will find them too confining. Milder seats are not available.

Ride comfort3.5

The ride is surprisingly comfortable, even with large 18-inch wheels and run-flat tires. It feels a bit livelier than you might expect from some competitors, but it's supple by Mini standards. Adaptive dampers are available if you want to choose your own adventure.

Noise & vibration3.0

There's not much wind noise, and even tire noise is reasonably quelled. The sunroof covers rattle if they're closed and you hit a bump, but move them slightly out of place and that'll disappear. The engine stop-start system sends a shudder through the cabin when it kicks on.

Climate control3.0

Auto climate control has to work hard to cool the cabin and counteract heat radiating from the panoramic sunroof on a hot day. Temperature adjustments are in 2-degree increments. Seats don't breathe well, but the cloth/faux leather coverings may still be better than non-cloth seats in warm climes.

Interior3.0

The Countryman boasts a sense of roominess that you won't find in other Minis. There are thoughtful touches such as an instrument panel that moves with the steering wheel and folding rear headrests. There are some ergonomic issues, including an awkwardly located seatback tilt lever and lumbar knob.

Ease of use3.0

Most things up front are easy to reach, from the toggle switches to infotainment system controller. The awkward lumbar knob, located on the inboard side of the seatback, is an exception. The door-mounted armrests are at a perfect length, but there's no rear center armrest.

Getting in/getting out3.0

The Countryman has a step-in height that's slightly taller than that of high-riding hatchbacks such as the Mercedes GLA-Class and BMW X1, so you don't fall down into the seat when you enter. That said, ingress and egress aren't quite effortless; large seat bolsters can make hard to exit the front.

Driving position3.5

The front seats allow plenty of fore, aft and height travel, ensuring drivers of any size will be able to find a good position. Eventually, that is, as the headrests are angled too far forward and the clutch pedal travel is long, making it difficult to find a comfortable setup initially.

Roominess3.0

Tall people will find there's an abundance of headroom up front, even with the panoramic sunroof. Shoulder room is lacking due to the aforementioned seat bolsters. There's decent legroom and headroom in the back, and the front seatback is sculpted for extra kneeroom.

Visibility5.0

All windows are tall and wide, and there's even a large window in the rear three-quarters portion to eliminate blind spots. A standard rearview camera is nice but unnecessary given the ample window openings. A power bump on the hood makes it tough to figure out where the right side of the car is.

Quality5.0

Inspired interior design and high build quality elevate the Countryman above the usual selection of compact crossovers and even give the luxury brands a run for the money. Molded plastic on the upper door panels, a soft-touch surface on the dash, and cloth on the door make it feel premium.

Utility3.0

While the cargo area is a bit small for the class, the floor sits well below the top of the back seat, so you can load tall items without encroaching on rear visibility. There are limited storage solutions for those in the back because there's no armrest or flip-out tray behind the center console.

Small-item storage3.5

There are large cutouts in all the doors, each split in two sections. Both sections will hold a bottle of water. There's a small tray in front of the shifter and a bin under the armrest for front occupants. There's no fold-down center armrest in the back, which would normally house a tray.

Cargo space2.5

The cargo area is wide and boxy, with a liftover height that's a couple inches lower than a typical crossover. It measures 17.6 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 47.6 cubes with them folded; both figures are small for the class. A nifty LED light in the back helps you find stuff in the dark.

Child safety seat accommodation4.5

There are four LATCH anchors, two on each of the outboard seats. There are easily accessed, located under clearly marked flip-up covers. There's one tether on the back of each portion of the 40/20/40-split rear seats. You'll have to pop the cargo door or remove the cargo cover to access them.

Technology4.5

The newest version of Mini's user interface is attractive but seems to be a bit more cumbersome to use than in previous iterations. The maps, however, are less cluttered than before. Voice controls work well, with natural voice commands. Many advanced safety features are available.

Audio & navigation3.5

The Countryman's central display screen gains touchscreen functionality this year. Because there's so much iconography (at least from the main screen), you're better off using the controller. The menus' horizontal buttons further make the case for the controller. Satellite radio frequently drops.

Smartphone integration3.0

There are two USB ports in the front: one in a bin in front of the shifter and one under the central armrest. There are no USB ports in the back. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren't offered, but some apps, such as Spotify and Pandora, are accessible through audio menus.

Driver aids4.0

A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are standard on all models. Our tester was also equipped with the Technology package, adding front sensors and a larger central screen. Park too closely to an object in front and the sensor issues a loud alert even if you're not in gear.

Voice control5.0

The voice controls are excellent. The system recognizes natural speech rather than forcing the user to travel down a path of predetermined phrases. The navigation function can redirect to a similar house number if it can't find yours in the system. Siri Eyes Free is available for iPhone users.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.