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2024 Mini Countryman Review

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Modern Minis are about having fun. Exuding personality, they’re infused with nimble and zippy driving dynamics wrapped in retro design and built on BMW know-how. That’s right. BMW owns Mini, just like it does Rolls-Royce.

The 2024 Mini Countryman is the largest model in the automaker’s lineup but is among the smallest crossover SUVs in America. It has room for four adults and their luggage if you pack sparingly. Mini positions the Countryman as a premium choice, and if you’re not careful when selecting drivetrain, option, and accessory upgrades, you can spend more than $50,000 on one.

Mini is preparing to wrap production of the second-generation Countryman, which arrived in 2017. However, with Mini ranking near the top of the brand chart in the J.D. Power 2023 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) and with small SUVs like the Countryman proving more popular each year, we wanted to take a closer look at this model before the redesigned 2025 Mini Countryman goes on sale.

So, what’s new for the 2024 Countryman? First, the Classic trim package returns and is now the only equipment level for the base Countryman models. In addition, the mid-level Signature trim package adds a standard navigation system this year. Lastly, the Cooper SE ALL4, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), adds a more affordable base model, while the PHEV’s Iconic trim package includes more standard equipment.

In 2025, the redesigned electric 2025 Mini Countryman will arrive. Mini says it kicks off the brand’s plan to go fully electric by 2030, and BMW will build it in Leipzig, Germany, starting in November of 2023. (Currently, the second-generation Countryman hails from Born, Netherlands.) The 2025 Countryman will be taller and longer than the second-gen model, with about 300 horsepower in the top specification. Mini estimates the driving range to be 280 miles or so.

If you want to grab a gas-fueled, second-generation 2024 Countryman while you still can, the lineup offers a turbocharged three-cylinder or a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), and up to 301 horsepower in John Cooper Works specification.

Mini bases the Countryman PHEV is on the turbo three, and it gives you 18 miles of electric driving range. When battery power drops and you drive it as a gas-electric hybrid, the PHEV gets 29 mpg in combined driving. The PHEV is more powerful and quicker than the Cooper S but not quite as fast as the John Cooper Works.

What Owners Say About the Mini Countryman

J.D. Power categorizes the Mini Countryman as a Small SUV. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2022 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 59 percent of new Countryman buyers are female (vs. 58 percent for the segment), and the median age of a new Countryman buyer is 56 years (vs. 54).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Countryman in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences, from their favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Powertrain
  • Interior design
  • Getting in and out
  • Feeling of safety
  • Setting up and starting
  • Driving comfort
  • Infotainment
  • Fuel economy

In the 2022 APEAL Study, the Countryman ranks second out of 19 Small SUV models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Mini Countryman

In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a 2024 Countryman equipped with the following options:

  • Cooper S specification
  • Iconic trim package
  • Dark-tinted rear privacy glass
  • Dynamic damper control
  • 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires

The test vehicle’s price was $41,945, including the $995 destination charge.

Getting In and Getting Comfortable

Though a Mini Countryman sits lower to the ground than some crossover SUVs, it remains easy to get into and out of the front seats. The narrower rear door openings require extra care if you’re taller, but shorter adults and kids will find it easy to enter and exit the back seat.

From behind the thick-rimmed steering wheel, the driver faces a retro-themed dashboard injected with modern technology. The Countryman renders Mini’s traditional pod-style gauges as a small digital display and the dashboard features a classic round center panel filled with an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. A dual-panel panoramic glass sunroof bathes the interior in natural light.

In addition, the control layout includes rubber-trimmed climate system knobs, chrome toggle switches for secondary functions, and an electronic shift lever with a shift boot sitting in a dished housing on the center console. It somewhat resembles a manual gearbox. Storage space is sparse, but areas on the center console have liners with a subtle plaid-pattern for extra flair.

The test vehicle’s leather-wrapped front seats were small but comfortable, and each had a manually-adjustable thigh support cushion. However, I consistently found it hard to buckle up quickly, possibly due to the buckle’s anchor point or my middle-aged girth. Or both.

Rear-seat passengers will find their accommodations surprisingly comfortable. My 33-inch inseam legs came into contact with the lower portion of the front seat but gratefully encountered a soft, padded surface instead of hard plastic. My size-13 feet tucked under the front seat without a problem, and Mini provides rear air conditioning vents and USB charging ports. However, the Countryman is narrow, so squeezing in a fifth passenger in isn’t a recipe for happiness.

Open the Countryman’s rear liftgate, and you’ll find a reasonable amount of cargo space. The trunk holds 17.6 cubic feet of cargo with the rear seat in use and features a pass-through into the cabin for carrying longer items. Fold the back seats down, and the Countryman offers 47.6 cubic feet of cargo space. These numbers are low even for the small SUV segment.

However, two full-size suitcases can lay flat on the load floor, and if you remove the cargo cover, the Countryman will accommodate smaller roll-aboard suitcases or duffle bags on top of them. In addition, my test vehicle had a large storage compartment under the cargo floor and robust roof rails for easy tying down of added cargo atop the SUV.

2024 Mini Countryman Infotainment System Review

Every 2024 Countryman has a digital instrumentation panel and an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The infotainment system includes:

  • Bluetooth
  • HD Radio
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto)
  • Connected services
  • Six stereo speakers

Upgrade to Cooper S, Cooper SE PHEV, or John Cooper Works technical specification and the Signature trim package, and the Countryman adds:

  • Navigation system
  • Real-time traffic information

Choose the Iconic trim package, and you’ll get the following:

  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system

Mini’s infotainment system uses an older version of BMW’s iDrive technology. The display’s layout and graphics are specific to Mini, but the underlying menus and overall operation mirror a BMW right down to the physical controls located on the center console.

You can operate the infotainment system using the physical controls, the touchscreen, the switchgear on the steering wheel, voice commands, or a mix of all four types of inputs. It sounds complicated, but in reality, the system is intuitive. Besides, Mini provides a stereo volume knob, radio tuning buttons, and separate climate controls, so your interaction with the screen is minimal after you’ve set the technology up.

Impressively, the voice recognition system quickly and accurately responded to all my test prompts, except for a request to change the temperature. That system is separate.

In addition, I generally found the technology easy to use. However, when using the physical controls on the center console or the steering wheel controls to select menus and settings on the display, I find the Mini’s responses counterintuitive. For example, I might twist the control knob, thinking I will move up a radio dial, but the action moves me down the radio dial.

That’s a minor complaint, and with time, you acclimate. However, you never get used to the Countryman’s wireless smartphone charger. Mini locates it under the center armrest, and it impedes access to the small storage bin below. The design is a compromise, reflecting the need to add this feature long after the second-generation Countryman went into production. And it is inconvenient.

What It’s Like to Drive the 2024 Mini Countryman Cooper S

In a word, driving the 2024 Countryman in Cooper S specification is fun. However, you’ll most enjoy this little SUV’s favorable dynamic traits during the daily drive.

Since the Countryman’s standard turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine provides just 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque, I recommend getting the Cooper S. This version of the SUV has a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine good for 189 horsepower and 206 lb-ft of torque, and it shaves more than two seconds off the Countryman’s zero-to-60 acceleration time.

Also, because Mini prices the optional ALL4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system at $2,100, I think you should stick with the standard front-wheel drive (FWD) configuration unless you need the added traction for snow or traveling off-road. The Cooper S comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) with FWD. With AWD, you get an 8-speed sport automatic.

Drivers can select from Green, Mid, and Sport driving modes. My test vehicle also had an optional adaptive damping suspension system and larger 19-inch wheels wrapped in 225/45 Goodyear Eagle F1 summer performance tires.

The Countryman’s turbo four makes good power, and when you select Sport mode, there is a distinct change in character. From snappier acceleration response to a more evident and engaging exhaust note, Sport mode might as well be Scrappy mode.

With FWD, the Cooper S uses a 7-speed DCT, which behaves as expected. In other words, it feels like an automated manual gearbox instead of a traditional automatic transmission with a torque converter. As a result, it isn’t as smooth in operation, but if you understand how a DCT works, its behavior can enhance instead of detract from the driving experience.

In daily driving situations, the Countryman’s zippy acceleration, tidy dimensions, excellent forward visibility, and quick electric steering make every errand or commute enjoyable. However, the brakes are a little grabby and hard to modulate smoothly, and despite the adaptive damping suspension, the Countryman dislikes traversing speed bumps and speed humps at any velocity more than a crawl.

Also, on the highway at speed, the steering feels a little numb and sticky on center, wind noise from around the windshield enters the cabin, and on rougher aggregate surfaces, the road noise is substantial. Furthermore, the lack of front suspension isolation remains evident when traveling over Southern California’s Bott’s Dots (the raised dots used as lane markers).

With its BMW-derived mechanicals and Cooper S badge on the liftgate, you might expect the Countryman to behave like a go-kart on twisty mountain roads. Given the summer performance tires on the test vehicle, that’s especially true.

Unfortunately, the steering’s on-center uncertainty and squealing Goodyears restrict the Cooper S Countryman’s fun factor. Also, though driving the SUV with enthusiasm revealed improved brake pedal feel, response, and modulation, I experienced a nail-biting corner-entry issue due to the braking system.

Rockfall is a common problem on Southern California’s Mulholland Highway, out on the last several miles before it dips down from the Santa Monica Mountains to the beach north of Malibu. On this portion of my evaluation loop, on this particular drive, I rounded a gentle right-hand curve leading up to a sharp left-hand hairpin to discover several rocks cluttering my lane. While braking in advance of my sharp left-hander, I drove wide around the rocks, tucked back in, and pitched the Countryman into the left hairpin.

As weight transferred from the left front wheel to the right front wheel, there was a momentary loss of braking power just as I was scrubbing the last of my speed and entering the curve. It took me by surprise and meant the Countryman was carrying too much velocity into the corner. Fortunately, though the Google Eagle F1s might squeal too much, they deliver plenty of grip, so this wasn’t a problem.

By the time I reached the end of Mulholland and turned right on Pacific Coast Highway, I’d developed a satisfying driving rhythm with the Cooper S Countryman. This crossover is fun to drive, but not in a serious way, which goes hand-in-hand with its styling and overall personality. Stick to urban and suburban driving and daily commuting, and it will put a grin on your face every time. Otherwise, at this price, there are better choices for highway trips and canyon carving.

2024 Mini Countryman Safety Features Review

Mini equips every Countryman with Active Driving Assistant technology. This collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) includes:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

In addition, the Countryman has rear parking sensors and an SOS emergency contact button on the headliner. With the Iconic trim package, you also get Parking Assistant, which takes control of the steering while the driver handles the transmission, brakes, and acceleration.

That is the extent of the Countryman’s ADAS offering, which is uncompetitive. Features you might expect at this price but which are missing include:

  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Lane-centering assistance
  • Surround-view camera

Adaptive cruise control is an option with Signature and Iconic trim, but the test vehicle did not have this upgrade.

As for testing, I can report that the lane-departure warning system delivers a slight vibration through the steering wheel to alert the driver to a potential issue. That’s my favorite kind of lane-departure warning: subtle.

2024 Mini Countryman FAQ

How much cargo space does the 2024 Mini Countryman have?

The Countryman’s cargo area offers 17.6 cubic feet* of space behind the back seat. In addition, there is a netted area to the left for securing loose items, two hooks you can use for plastic grocery bags, and the test car had a large storage area beneath the load floor.

Thanks to the 40/20/40-split folding rear seat, you can carry four people and longer items, such as skis, simultaneously. Maximum cargo space measures 47.6 cubic feet* with the back seat folded down.

*The Cooper SE Countryman PHEVs have slightly less cargo space.

Does the 2024 Mini Countryman get good gas mileage/have a good driving range?

According to the EPA, my Mini Cooper S Countryman test vehicle should have gotten 28 mpg in combined driving. However, on the evaluation loop, it averaged 25.4 mpg. Based on that result and the 16.1-gallon fuel tank, the test car could travel 408 miles. However, you’ll want to refuel before the tank is empty so plan to visit the gas station every 375 miles.

Is the 2024 Mini Countryman safe?

The answer to this question is unclear. The 2024 Countryman lacks many expected collision-avoidance and driver-assistance systems. Also, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not performed crash tests on this crossover SUV.

However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) offers some guidance. In the tests the IIHS has performed on the Countryman, it earns a Good rating. However, the IIHS hasn’t subjected the model to new frontal-impact and side-impact tests with more stringent requirements.

So, is a Mini Countryman safe? I don’t know.

How much is the 2024 Mini Countryman?

Mini Countryman prices range from $32,650 for the base model with FWD to $43,800 for the John Cooper Works with AWD. These prices do not include the destination charge of $995.

What are the 2024 Mini Countryman competitors?

In the J.D. Power 2022 Initial Quality Study (IQS), the Buick Encore GX ranks highest in the Small SUV segment. The Ford Bronco Sport was the next highest-ranked model.

In the 2022 APEAL Study, the Ford Bronco Sport ranks highest in the Small SUV segment. The Mini Countryman and the Nissan Kicks are the next highest-ranked models.

Mini positions the Countryman as a premium model. With that in mind, other competitors to the 2024 Countryman include the GMC Terrain, Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-30, and Volkswagen Taos. You might also consider it a rival to the Audi Q3, BMW X1, Lexus UX, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and Volvo XC40.

Independent Expert Opinion

There is plenty to like about the Mini Cooper S Countryman. Thanks to a personality that just won’t quit, lively turbocharged power, nimble handling, and, with Iconic trim, a nicely outfitted interior, it is fun, funky, and unlike the small SUVs that everybody else drives. Plus, you get complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first three years and 36,000 miles of ownership.

However, the Countryman commands a significant premium over mass-market alternatives. For example, the same money can get you a larger vehicle like a Honda CR-V Sport Touring with all-wheel drive, an efficient but powerful hybrid drivetrain, and a superior safety technology package.

But the Honda doesn’t have the Countryman’s scrappy personality. And that’s what choosing this Mini over other models really comes down to. Is it worth the price premium over small SUVs? Is it worth giving up a prestigious badge compared to entry-luxury models? Is it worth passing up better value in a larger vehicle?

Only you can decide if choosing a Mini will maximize your happiness. But, based on what Countryman owners tell J.D. Power in its annual APEAL Study, within the Small SUV segment, this crossover ranks behind only the Ford Bronco Sport in overall satisfaction.

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