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In-depth reviews

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.

Size

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.

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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.

Boot

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.

Towing

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.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 Cooper Classic 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £22,600

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 Cooper S E Classic ALL4 PHEV 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £31,300

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 [306] John Cooper Works ALL4 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £35,550
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