High-performance subcompact crossovers aren't exactly a dime a dozen in the USA. The few that are available are similar, though, so you're looking at spending around $35k-$50k to get a 0-60 time of around five seconds, all-wheel drive, and some pseudo-SUV looks, if not SUV ability. With its $44k base price, the 2024 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman featured here isn't cheap, but it has the bite to back up the bark, with 301 horsepower from its BMW-sourced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine getting it to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds. Its in-house BMW X1 M35i rival comes closest on performance but pushes $50k, as does the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35, which is also slower to 60 mph to boot. This actually makes the Mini look like good value, though you'll have to live with a stiff ride and limited trunk space in exchange for its best-in-class performance and sharp handling. Does this make it a sensible car to buy, considering you can get a much more spacious and practical Audi Q5 for the same money? Not at all, but it's a hoot to drive and isn't something you'll see on every street corner.
There's quite a bit of action lower down the Countryman range, with the base Classic sub-trim returning after a short hiatus, a PHEV Signature now available, and some additional standard features, but the 2024 John Cooper Works Countryman escapes alteration and continues on unchanged with last year's features and specifications as a carryover model. The only thing worth reporting is a price increase of over $2k. The 2024 Countryman will be the last model year of the current generation before a redesigned model debuts for the 2025 model year.
This year, the price of a new Mini John Cooper Works Countryman starts at $43,800. This is for the car in its Classic sub-trim; upgrading to the Signature sub-trim will cost you $1,600 extra, while the jump from there to the top Iconic sub-trim is a more substantial $4,700. Keep in mind that these prices are MSRP and exclude Mini's destination fee, which is still pegged at a low $995.
For a fairly modest premium, the Signature sub-trim looks like the best deal of the lot. The actual equipment added isn't that extensive - essentially a power liftgate, navigation, more wheel options, and real-time traffic reporting - but it unlocks more options and available paint colors, as well as personalization options such as a contrasting roof.
The cabin feels premium and retains classic Mini styling cues, but some plastics simply don’t live up to the price tag.
Getting inside the JCW Countryman is easy, thanks to tall doors. The 6.5-inch ground clearance isn't much higher than that of a car, but it's raised just enough to make boarding an easy slide across instead of stepping down into the supportive and generously bolstered front seats. Interior space is unexpectedly commodious, even in the second row. The view out the back is a bit restricted, but at least you get a backup camera and rear parking sensors to help with parking. The dashboard still has the traditional chromed toggle switches and the familiar Mini circular screen in its center, but it contains a touchscreen nowadays, not the gigantic speedometer of yore. The controls are easy to master, and an additional rotary controller gives you another welcome way to navigate the infotainment system. The snazzy interior design gives off a premium air, but don't go poking around too much because you'll find quite a few cheap materials and hard plastics. These are palatable in lesser Minis but difficult to accept at well over $40k.
Mini's biggest car is pleasantly roomy inside, and while it's no Escalade, there is more legroom and headroom in the second row than you would expect, beating even the latest X1 and nearly matching the Tonale/Hornet twins. Despite having the shortest wheelbase of all these cars, the Countryman's interior packaging cannot be faulted. The sunroof robs some headroom, but there's still enough for average-sized adults, even in the rear.
The trade-off for the roomy cabin is trunk space. The JCW Countryman has 17.6 cu-ft of cargo space behind the second row, and while it's not a bad figure, it pales in comparison to the mentioned competition. The Mini claws back some ground with the 60/40-split rear seats folded down, liberating a total trunk volume of 47.6 cu-ft, more than the X1.
Cabin storage is reasonable, with the usual glovebox, two front cupholders, and a lidded under-elbow storage area in front. There's a space to put your phone at the base of the center stack. The four door pockets incorporate bottle holders, and there are front seatback pockets as well. A center rear armrest with dual cupholders is an option on the base sub-trims and standard on the Iconic.
|Mini John Cooper Works Countryman||BMW X1 M35i||Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce|
|39.9-40.5 in. front|
37.5-38.3 in. rear
|42.1 in. front|
39.4 in. rear
|38.8 in. front |
38.2 in. rear
|40.4 in. front|
37.6 in. rear
|40.4 in. front|
37 in. rear
|41.7 in. front |
38 in. rear
|17.6-47.6 ft³||25.7-46.9 ft³||22.9-50.5 ft³|
In Classic and Signature configurations, the JCW Countryman comes with an all-black interior and seats upholstered in Carbon Black Dinamica faux suede and cloth. Carbon Black leatherette and Black Pearl cloth/leatherette are no-cost options. The Signature also gives you access to the $1,400 Signature Upholstery package, which introduces real leather and more interior colors. Your options are Dinamica/leather or leather Cross Punch in Carbon Black or Chesterfield leather in Malt Brown, Indigo Blue, or Satellite Grey. Some options also require the addition of extras, such as the piano-black interior surfaces. The Mini Yours Leather Lounge option in Carbon Black has to be combined with the Signature Upholstery package at a total outlay of $2,150. The Iconic gets leather upholstery and piano-black interior finishes as standard. In all cases, you get an Anthracite headliner and leather-trimmed JCW steering wheel.
The JCW Countryman in Classic guise isn't all that generously equipped for the asking price. The seats are upholstered in faux suede and cloth, and the front pews are heated but not electrically adjustable. You do get keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, a digital driver-information display, and a panoramic sunroof. The higher the sub-trim, the more you get, with a proximity key, power front seats, leather upholstery, a garage-door opener, and a heated steering wheel all making an appearance. Some options cost extra on the base trims and are standard on the Iconic, such as a center rear armrest with cupholders
The infotainment has an 8.8-inch center touchscreen, but it's very narrow on account of having to fit into the dashboard roundel. A high resolution and good contrast make it easy enough to read, though. Bluetooth dialing and audio streaming, a six-speaker audio system, HD Radio, SiriusXM, front and rear USB-C ports, and a 5.5-inch digital gauge cluster are all standard, but Apple CarPlay was only added last year, and Android Auto isn't offered. A 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system is standard on the two top sub-trims, while a head-up display is standard on the Iconic and optional on the Signature.
|JCW Countryman Classic||JCW Countryman Signature||JCW Countryman Iconic|
|Heated front seats|
|8.8-in. touchscreen, Apple CarPlay|
|Power front seats|
The powertrain doesn’t put a foot wrong, with strong performance and a slick-shifting eight-speed auto.
The Mini John Cooper Works Countryman's engine is a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder borrowed from BMW, delivering 301 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. The only available drivetrain is an eight-speed automatic transmission and AWD. This is good enough to give the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman a 0-60 time of just 4.9 seconds, quicker than the X1 M35i's 5.2 seconds and well ahead of the Tonale and Hornet. It has proven even quicker in independent testing. Its top speed is limited to around 144 mph. It's basically a higher-riding hot hatch, and despite its all-wheel drive, the 6.5-inch ground clearance and lack of low range rule out off-road driving.
If all of this sounds like the JCW Countryman was bred to handle well on paved surfaces, you're right on the money. True to its Mini DNA, the car's sport-tuned suspension and Germanic damping means it's resolutely strapped down in corners with minimal roll and high grip levels. Its adaptive damping can be stiffened up via the Sport driving mode (Signature and Iconic sub-trims only), which also dials up the exhaust noise, making for an entertaining backroad blaster. The ride borders on being too stiff, but it relaxes just enough in Comfort mode to be usable every day on decent roads without turning the Mini into pudding. All the while, the progressive brakes and a steering system that for once provides decent feel, hold up their end of the bargain to make the JCW Countryman the best sportster in its class. The potent engine pulls hard and with minimal lag from low down and plays well with the slick eight-speed auto, so this well-calibrated partnership adds to your driving enjoyment.
The Mini John Cooper Works Countryman's mpg figures are very impressive, considering its AWD and has 300-odd horsepower. The EPA's city/highway estimates are 23/30 mpg, with the combined cycle returning the exact same 26 mpg as the X1 M35i. The JCW's 16.1-gallon fuel capacity gives it a range of around 419 miles on a tank.
|2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas |
Crash results are still good after all these years, and a decent number of driver assists are fitted as standard equipment.
There's only a partial 2024 safety review of the Mini Countryman from the NHTSA, with the John Cooper Works included in the range-wide result. The agency gave it four stars for the frontal crash and five for the side crash. The IIHS tested the structurally identical 2023 Countryman more comprehensively, giving it all-round Good scores for most of the tests, but it hasn't performed its tougher updated tests on the car.
The JCW, just like all Countrymans, comes with eight airbags and the typical tire-pressure monitoring, ABS, stability control, and a backup camera, in addition to rain-sensing wipers, automatic LED headlights, and LED foglights. A suite of additional driver assists includes front-collision alert, pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, and rear parking sensors. The Signature sub-trim has access to extra-cost adaptive cruise control ($250), a head-up display ($750), and automated parallel parking ($500), but these features, along with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, are standard on the Iconic.
|JCW Countryman Classic||JCW Countryman Signature||JCW Countryman Iconic|
|Front-collision alert with pedestrian detection|
|Rear parking sensors|
|Adaptive cruise control|
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
With a very good JD Power score of 83 out of 100 for Quality & Reliability, the Mini Countryman range - John Cooper Works included - outperforms the newly redesigned BMW X1's 72. It seems as if all the teething troubles have been ironed out after seven years on the market, as recalls are also vanishingly few; the last time any regular Countryman was recalled was back in 2021 for a seatbelt malfunction.
The 2024 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman's warranty cover is valid for four years/50,000 miles - and that is applicable to both the limited and powertrain warranties. Mini generously includes complimentary maintenance for three years/36,000 miles.
Though it has evolved and grown over the years into a far larger car than the pint-sized classic two-door Mini's diminutive 120-inch-long frame, the Countryman is still instantly recognizable as a Mini, with the sharply defined glasshouse, roundish headlights, and upright taillights. It's a thoroughly modern car now, of course, with all-LED exterior lighting, including foglights, and premium detailing. The Classic's wheels are black 18-inch items, but you can also get them in silver on the Signature, or a special JCW two-color 19-inch wheel on the Iconic. Dual chromed exhausts sit on either side of a sporty diffuser panel, and the Union Jack taillight motives remove any doubt as to its British heritage. All trims come with a panoramic sunroof, but this item can be deleted from the spec sheet if you prefer. The glasshouse and pillars are blacked out, and rear privacy glass is optionally available. The Classic comes with a body-color roof and mirrors, but the upper trims can be had with a Chilli Red, black, or white roof and mirrors.
There are better subcompact SUVs than the Mini Countryman that offer better general refinement and more cargo space, such as the Volvo XC40 and BMW X1. But the John Cooper Works Countryman occupies a special niche, where all-out performance is more important than such mundane considerations. And here, it's not only quicker and sharper handling than all its obvious rivals - until the next Hyundai Kona N arrives, perhaps - but also cheaper. It also has a heritage that most rivals can't boast about. So if you're looking for a hot hatch on stilts for less than $43k, there's nothing out there to touch it. A narrow spec, we admit, but one at which the JCW Countryman is the best you can currently get.
The most popular competitors of 2024 Mini John Cooper Works Countryman: