2022 Mini Cooper Countryman

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2022 Mini Cooper Countryman Review: Maximum Size, Minimum Features

To many people, the Mini Cooper Countryman is a travesty. The clue is right there in the brand name, which is literally a synonym for tiny, minute, small, and diminutive. But did you know that Mini was actually the name of the model and not the brand? Yep. The original was the BMC Mini, and later the British Leyland Mini. Rover was the final company in charge of building the original Mini. So, the argument that the Countryman goes against the very name of the company is wrong. You can make an argument that it goes against the ethos of what Mini was supposed to be, but more on that later.

The Countryman subcompact SUV exists for the same reason the Porsche Cayenne does. As much as we'd like a manufacturer to stick with one epic car like the 911, it also needs to make other cars to turn a profit. A Mini SUV was the answer, and to make it work Mini had to go maxi. Unfortunately, it didn't go maximum with the power, as most models rely on a turbocharged triple that delivers 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. Thankfully, a 189 hp/206 lb-ft turbocharged 2.0-liter is also available, as is a new plug-in hybrid model. Both the base Audi Q3 and BMW X1 are more powerful than the base Countryman, and the BMW especially offers far more cargo space. Although it falls short in some key areas, the Countryman is the easy choice if you simply must drive a Mini and also need some space for the family.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 6 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 7 /10
  • Value For Money 7 /10
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2022 Mini Cooper Countryman Changes: What’s the difference vs the 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman?

The 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman is carried over mostly unchanged to the 2022 model year. However, there are some feature and equipment tweaks; for example, LED headlights with a cornering function are now standard across the board, as are a 12-month SiriusXM satellite radio subscription, a digital gauge cluster, and lane-departure warning. A limited-run special edition based on the Cooper S and called the Boardwalk Edition is added too. It can be distinguished by its model-specific Deep Laguna paint and blacked-out exterior styling elements and wheels, as well as its unique interior clad in black leather.

Pros and Cons

  • Iconic design made bigger
  • Fun handling
  • Quality cabin
  • Available all-wheel drive
  • More character than most crossovers
  • Three-cylinder engine's performance is poor
  • Not as much cargo space as other crossovers

What's the Price of the New Mini Countryman?

The Countryman is on the pricey side, with the base Cooper Countryman retailing at an MSRP of $29,100. A Cooper ALL4 adds $2,000 to the price. The Countryman S is for sale from $31,900, and you can add $2,000 for the ALL4 AWD system. The Boardwalk Edition costs $38,365 for the FWD and $40,365 for the ALL4 model. Finally, the price of the Mini Cooper Countryman reaches $41,500 with the PHEV model. The cost of the Mini Cooper Countryman excludes the $850 destination charge.

These base prices can be deceiving, however. All of the prices above are for the standard Classic trim. Adding the Signature trim to the Cooper costs an additional $3,000 while upgrading to the Iconic costs $7,800. The Signature trim adds $3,600 to the price on Cooper S models, increasing to $8,500 for Iconic. The plug-in hybrid comes standard in Signature trim, with the Iconic trim costing $3,900 in the US.

Best Deals on 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman

2022 Mini Cooper Countryman Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Oxford Edition
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
Oxford Edition ALL4
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Cooper ALL4
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
Cooper S
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
See All 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Let's just start by dispelling a widely believed and overused myth. A Mini does not handle like a go-kart. In fact, not even a classic Mini handles go-kart-like, but it's easy to understand where the correlation comes from. A classic Mini weighs around 1,200 lbs, sits extremely close to the ground, has a wheel at each corner, and zero power assistance. If you brake or lift going into a corner, it will oversteer.

The new Mini Countryman is none of these things, but that doesn't mean it's not good. In fact, it's one of the least boring compact crossovers out there. The steering is sharp, direct, and provides a lot of feedback. You do feel the additional weight over the small hatch, especially in the nearly 4,000 lbs plug-in hybrid. If you press too hard going into a corner, it will start leaning. We don't see this as a problem, as enthusiastic drivers will most likely go for the five-door hatch or the JCW Countryman.

The brakes are strong, and the ride is smooth. It has a well-engineered chassis, borrowed from BMW. This isn't too bad considering BMW has around 20 years of experience in engineering FWD cars. It feels like a BMW, which is high praise: Firm, yet compliant. Eager, but not difficult to handle. There's an excellent balance between an engaging drive that you'll only use occasionally, and a comfortable suspension that you'll use all the time. As for off-road ability, BMW defines this as an SAV, not an SUV, and we are confident that the vast majority of Countrymans won't see much more than a short stretch of gravel or a steep driveway.

Verdict: Is the 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman A Good SUV?

The Mini Countryman is a car, but it's also a novelty item. It lures you in with its attractive retro looks and brand appeal. Minis are for cool people who don't want to follow the herd, right? It's enchanting for a month or so, but then you realize that it's just a BMW X1 wearing a Sex Pistols shirt paired with dirty jeans. For some, the iconic badge is enough, but we prefer our cars to have some substance as well.

Is the Mini Countryman a horrible travesty, spitting on the grave of Sir Alec Issigonis? A little bit, but we can forgive it for that. Why? Because the Countryman needs to exist so niche cars like the three-door Cooper S and the splendiferous John Cooper Works GP can exist. It's a good little SUV, but it competes with some heavy hitters. Apart from the X1 it's based on, you can also get an Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Volvo XC40. Or you can make another bold retro move and get a Ford Bronco. It has that same retro flavor, just better executed.

We also don't appreciate the fact that Apple CarPlay isn't standard on all models. The cheapest car on sale in the USA (the $13,400 Chevrolet Spark) comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. We're also not impressed by the lack of driver assistance features, although it has improved a little this year. We get why people would buy a Countryman. Mini is a well-known and beloved British brand that makes quirky cars. For some, that will be enough, but it's not good enough for us.

What Mini Cooper Countryman Model Should I Buy?

The 1.5-liter engine should be avoided at all costs, which means you should get the Cooper S Countryman. If you live in a cold-weather state, get the ALL4 AWD system. The FWD model is a little lighter on its feet, and the S suspension setup improves the handling. With that sorted, you need to decide on a trim level. We'd avoid the base Classic trim. The Signature trim allows for more customization, like a British Racing Green hue paired with a white roof. It also boasts more convenience features like keyless entry, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a power tailgate as standard.

2022 Mini Cooper Countryman Comparisons

Mini Cooper Clubman Mini

2022 Mini Cooper Countryman vs Mini Cooper Clubman

The Clubman and Countryman retail for more or less the same price and feature the same sub-trim structure. Mini's Clubman scores massive points by not bothering to offer the lazy 1.5-liter engine. The turbocharged 2.0-liter is the only engine available. The Clubman isn't without its flaws. The twin trunk doors are a silly solution to a problem that never existed, and the rear seats aren't as spacious as the Countryman's. We're tempted to recommend the most practical solution, but there isn't one. If you have your heart set on a Mini, some compromises have to be made. The Countryman is just too expensive for what it is, and the same goes for the Clubman. If we had our choice of the Mini range, it would be the standard Cooper hatch every day of the week. Get a 4-door for added practicality.

See Mini Cooper Clubman Review

2022 Mini Cooper Countryman vs BMW X1

Both cars hail from the same German mothership, but BMW was cautious to separate the two. The X1 is far more traditional, featuring less radical styling and a more conventional model and trim selection process. The X1 is more expensive, but in return, you get a 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It's just as fun to drive as the Mini, and the material quality is just as good. Because BMW's designers weren't limited by design, the X1's trunk is larger, and the interior space is more usable. The Mini might look more attractive price-wise, but the X1 looks like the better deal once you consider the sub-trim structure. Overall, it's just a better compact luxury crossover than the Mini.

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