2020 Mini Cooper Countryman

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2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Review: Just Falls Short

While not quite venturing into the traditional crossover segment, Mini has attempted to make its traditional Cooper range more diverse over the years. Perhaps the most adventurous of these forays is the Mini Cooper Countryman, which borders on being a true subcompact SUV. However, Mini still plays to its strengths, focusing on fun over practicality. Yes, the cabin is comfortable and quite spacious, and the trunk is even usable, but more affordable rivals like the Mazda CX-3 offer a lot more for less. Still, Mini is about doing things in style, and you have to be willing to pay for panache. Oddly enough, the large Countryman still relies on the 134-horsepower turbo three-cylinder engine as its standard fare. Luckily, the stronger turbocharged four-pot, with 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque, is available. Unlike many of its rivals, though, the Mini Countryman can be had in either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive guise.

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
7.2
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New 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Cooper Countryman?

While not overly extensive, there have been some noteworthy changes made to the Mini Cooper Countryman for 2020. Perhaps the most important, and disappointing, change is the deletion of the six-speed manual transmission in favor of a seven-speed automatic gearbox with a double-clutch. Similarly, the ALL4 models come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Active Driving Assistant is now standard on every model, and the Cooper S gets LED head- and fog lights at standard. The Cooper S ALL4 also gets dual-zone automatic climate control and Comfort Access. A few new 18- and 19-inch wheel designs have been added to the catalog, too.

Pros and Cons

  • Iconic Mini style
  • Cheeky handling
  • Upscale, well-built cabin
  • Spacious rear seat
  • Available all-wheel drivetrain
  • Three-cylinder engine just doesn't cut it
  • Limited availability of safety specs
  • Cargo space is dwarfed by most competitors

Best Deals on 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman

2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Cooper
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,400
Oxford Edition
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$28,400
Oxford Edition ALL4
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Other
$30,400
Cooper ALL4
1.5L Turbo Inline-3 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Other
$30,400
Cooper S
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
7-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$31,900
See All 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

While not as spirited as its smaller Hardtop sibling, the Mini Cooper Countryman is far from boring to drive. True, it doesn't have that much punch, taking a fair amount of time to get up to speed, but once going, the Mini doesn't fail to impress.

The steering is well-weighed while still being precise and easy to handle. There is a fair amount of feed, which helps to draw the driver into the experience and give them enough confidence to play with the Countryman's limits. However, the heavier crossover leans a bit into overly enthusiastic turns. The ALL4 variants are even heavier and they lose some of the excitement that the front-wheel drivetrain provides.

Naturally, the brakes on a car designed to perform high-speed maneuvers are good. They are strong but still provide smooth, no-shudder deceleration. But most drivers are unlikely to push the Countryman as hard as they would its Hardtop sibling. The crossover also delivers a much more comfortable ride, especially when traveling at more reasonable speeds.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman A Good car?

In terms of sheer practicality, the Countryman falls short of almost all of its rivals in most areas. It's quite spacious inside, but not overly so, and while its trunk is certainly more usable than the shoebox in a Mini Cooper Hardtop, it's dwarfed by the cavernous holds found in many other subcompact SUVs. However, what makes the Countryman so appealing is that it remains moderately utilitarian while still providing a surprising amount of fun.

Once you discard the starter engine and focus on the available turbocharged four-cylinder, you'll start to see what the Mini has to offer. It may not deliver break-neck acceleration, but it's still relatively quick, and it doesn't shy away from corners or spirited driving. The stiffer suspension and multiple driving modes on the Cooper S are definitely a must in this regard.

However, once you get over the initial burst of adrenaline, the Countryman's shortcomings start to show a bit more vividly. The standard list of features is pretty scanty, and if you want even a modicum of what more practical rivals offer, you have to be willing to pay through the nose. The distinct lack of many advanced driver-assistance features is particularly disappointing in a segment aimed towards young families.

After all is said and done, the Mini Countryman simply doesn't stack up well against the competition in the areas that really matter to buyers in this market. If you can afford to spend the money on one, you may as well get a more affordable, practical subcompact for daily driving and a Mini Cooper Hardtop for a bit of fun on the side.

2020 Mini Cooper Countryman Comparisons

Mini Cooper Clubman
BMW X1 BMW

2020 Mini Cooper Countryman vs Mini Cooper Clubman

There isn't all that much difference between the Countryman and the Clubman, although the latter is a little smaller. This also means that it can do a little more with the power delivered by its identical turbocharged four-cylinder engine - it forgoes the three-cylinder completely. However, by still trying to be practical, the Clubman makes some questionable design choices that don't quite cut it. While the trunk is quite spacious, even more so than the Countryman's, the rear seats aren't as comfortable. In terms of quality and feature availability, the two Minis are basically identical, and they even have very similar price tags. With all that in mind, it seems wiser to go for the more practical and better-looking car that is the Mini Cooper Countryman.

See Mini Cooper Clubman Review

2020 Mini Cooper Countryman vs BMW X1

While both subcompacts may hail from the same parent company, they each have very different heritages and design philosophies. The X1 may be a bit bigger and heavier, but it has a far more powerful engine to work with - a 228-hp turbocharged four-cylinder. This gives the BMW far better acceleration, almost making the six-second mark with its all-wheel drivetrain. With handling that can rival the Countryman and equally high-quality materials, the X1 is just as fun to be in. On top of that, it's far more practical, with a spacious rear seat and 27.1 cubic feet of standard trunk space. It doesn't get much more in the way of safety features, though, with only lane departure warning and pedestrian detection added over the Countryman's standard features. It may be quite a bit pricier than the Mini, but the BMW X1 comes with more than enough to justify the purchase, and it serves the purpose of a subcompact crossover far better.

See BMW X1 Review
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