MINI Countryman review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
The larger size means more space for passengers and luggage, and makes the Countryman a genuine small SUV
The second-generation Countryman is larger in almost every dimension than the old car, so it’s unsurprising that space increases inside. Leg and headroom for rear seat occupants is on a par with rivals like the Audi Q2, meaning four adults can travel long distances in decent comfort. There are Isofix points for child seat mounting, too.
The 450-litre boot is genuinely practical. There’s some clever kit on the options list, with the Activity Pack (costing about £850) adding sliding and reclining rear seats to either maximise boot space or seat room. You can also spec a 10-litre larger fuel tank to increase the car's driving range, while an electric tailgate and even a picnic cushion that folds out of the boot floor can be added as options.
The MINI Countryman is 4.3m long, 1,82m wide and 1.56m tall. That’s 20cm longer and 3cm wider than the previous car, although the height hasn’t increased. That has the effect of making the Countryman look more squat and purposeful while also benefiting passenger room.
Legroom, headroom and passenger space
MINI has extended the wheelbase of the Countryman by 75mm, which benefits rear legroom and means two adults will be comfortable in the back for longer journeys. Five is a bit of a squeeze, though, thanks to the large transmission tunnel and sculpted seats, despite the increased cabin width.
The S E hybrid has to accomodate its battery pack below the rear seats, so the bench is raised up by about 25mm. It's not too noticeable, however, and there's still a good amount of headroom.
The outgoing Countryman’s boot is a reasonable 350 litres, but the new model’s increased size sees that jump to an impressive 450 litres – that’s 20 litres more than a Nissan Qashqai. It also extends to 1,390 litres with the seats folded, while the chairs can split 40/20/40 for increased versatility. That means this is a genuinely practical MINI, rivalling the Clubman for outright space.
The hybrid powertrain in the S E robs the boot of 45 litres of space, although in reality you're unlikely to notice the reduction.
The MINI Countryman has a modest range of towing capabilities. Starting at 1,500kg for two-wheel drive manual and automatic versions, you will need to move up to the ALL4 Cooper to gain another 200kg of towing capacity. However, if you still need more, ALL4 versions of the Cooper S and Cooper D allow you to tow 1,800kg.
In this review
- 1MINI Countryman reviewThe new-for-2017 Mini Countryman offers better space, greater efficiency and more advanced tech than its predecessor
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Countryman’s ride is quite firm, but in handling and refinement terms it’s up there with the class best
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Countryman is competitive across the board for running costs, justifying its high purchase price
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Countryman’s exterior look is divisive, but the attention to detail in the interior is impressive, while quality and tech are both top notch
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingThe larger size means more space for passengers and luggage, and makes the Countryman a genuine small SUV
- 6Reliability and SafetyThere’s a wealth of safety kit as standard, which should stand the Countryman in good stead, although the brand’s reliability record should be better