MINI Countryman review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
With good space for passengers and luggage, the Countryman is 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 £500) 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 can be added for around £450.
The MINI Countryman is 4.3m long, 2.0m wide and 1.56m tall. That’s a little longer and wider than the previous-generation 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 accommodate 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 Countryman’s boot is 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 not-so-little MINI Countryman offers family friendly space, with efficiency and an indomitable style
- 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, which helps to justify its high purchase price
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Countryman’s exterior look is divisive, but the attention to interior detail is impressive, while quality and tech are both top notch
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingWith good space for passengers and luggage, the Countryman is a genuine small SUV
- 6Reliability and SafetyCustomers can be reassured by the Countryman's good standard safety kit and top Euro NCAP rating