Find Your Credit Union

Countryman ALL4: Mini's Small Crossover Utility

By Frank A. Aukofer, November 25th, 2017

Upsized to the point where it rivals the interior space of a midsize sedan, the 2018 Mini Cooper Countryman offers a practical and sporting driving experience in a tidy package.

It also delivers luxury in the tested Countryman S model with all-wheel drive, a more powerful engine, and an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted with paddles mounted on the steering wheel.

In modern parlance, the Countryman ALL4 is classified as a small crossover sport utility vehicle. It is British in origin, assembled in the Netherlands, and uses an engine built in Germany. It is based on the BMW X1; no surprise because Mini is owned by the Bavarian Motor Works.

The Mini dates to the 1960s in Great Britain, where it pioneered the use of a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel drive. Though only 10 feet long, its two-box design enabled it to carry four adults, though comfort depended on their size.

After BMW bought the company, it resurrected the Mini in 2001 and named it the Mini Cooper, using a name that had been attached to performance-oriented models. Now the performance models are labeled "John Cooper Works." Like the original, the Mini Cooper started as a two-door sedan.

BMW is a company seemingly dedicated to plugging every niche in the market so nearly two dozen Mini Cooper variants eventually appeared, including convertibles, a four-door, the Clubman, Paceman, and, eventually, the Countryman.

There's no mistaking any Mini for anything else. All models bear a familial resemblance. But the Countryman, since getting stretched by more than 8 inches for 2017, now has gotten pudgy looking, though not to the point of turning off the brand's fans.

Inside, it retains vestiges of the original Mini, though with changes. The large circular screen in the center, which once held the speedometer, now is a multifunction location. The speedometer, tachometer, and other mainstay instruments reside behind the steering wheel and move up and down with it. However, the steering wheel does not telescope.

For 2018, the Countryman has been modestly modified. The fuel gauge has been re-designed and a toggle switch controls the drive modes: Sport, Normal, and Eco. Previously, a ring at the bottom of the automatic transmission shifter selected the modes.

Power comes from a 189-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 207 lb.-ft. of torque, delivered to all four wheels through the snap-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

The engine emits a satisfying growl under hard acceleration, though some drivers used to muted sounds might find it annoying. Zero-to-60 mph acceleration time in the Sport mode is in the 7-second range.

With 97 cubic feet of space for the driver and up to four passengers, the tested Countryman offered plenty of headroom and ample knee room for four, especially in the outboard back seat positions. However, the fifth passenger relegated to the center-rear position gets shortchanged on headroom, foot space, and comfort.

It features a perforated cloth sunshade for the panoramic glass sunroof, a current fad among luxury cars, but can also allow in too much hot sunlight. The motorized front section of the sunroof opens to the sky; the back is fixed glass.

Front-seat comfort is improved for many drivers by a thigh support that is manually adjustable for length. The front seats also have substantial bolsters to hold the torso in place during spirited driving.

That sort of motoring is the Countryman S ALL4's strong suit, especially in the Sport mode, which delays transmission shifts to higher engine revolutions for more rapid acceleration. The steering and suspension system are oriented toward sharper handling, though the firm ride is not punishing.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard. The eight-speed automatic is a $1,500 option. The tested Countryman had a base price of $32,550. With other options that included parking assist, head-up display, power front seats with memory, power tailgate, and "Chesterfield" leather upholstery with "British Oak" tanning, the suggested delivered price came to $41,050.

Standard equipment included dynamic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, the panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, SXM satellite radio, Apple Car Play, LED fog lights, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

If people find the pudgy look endearing and the price is not daunting, then Mini buyers will find a lot to like.


Base price $32,550 (as tested: $41,050)
Curb weight 3,671 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type 16-valve TwinTurbo 4-cyl.
Epa mileage rating 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 16.1 gal.
Horsepower (net) 189 at 5000 rpm
Overall length 169.8 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 207 at 1350 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD small CUV
2019 Toyota Camry: Emotionally Charged Design


2019 Toyota Camry: Emotionally Charged Design

The Toyota Camry sedan was all-new for the 2018 model year; and it had finally raised the bar from ho-hum to wow with its emotionally charged design and improved driving dynamics. The exterior styling reflects Lexus-like cues with bold athletic exterior character lines and a ground-hugging stance. The interior is more sumptuous and provides enhanced space, while featuring an advanced driver focus.

Kia Forte: All-New for 2019


Kia Forte: All-New for 2019

The Kia Forte launches as an all-new vehicle for the 2019 model year. Its new styling takes on some of the design cues and persona inherent in the Kia Stinger GT. Kia believes this GT inspiration makes the Forte a sportier vehicle with enhanced premium appeal.

Toyota RAV4: All-New for 2019


Toyota RAV4: All-New for 2019

Think you have work stress? Just imagine if you were one of the engineers assigned the task to redesign Toyota's biggest-selling vehicle. I can almost hear the boss telling them, "Sales of this vehicle have doubled in the past five years, so don't mess it up."

Off Lease Vehicles

Hundreds of one owner, off-lease cars, trucks & SUVs with low mileage at a great price!

Additional Resources

Most Researched

2018 Honda Accord EX
EX 4dr Sedan
2018 Jeep Cherokee Latitude
Latitude 4dr SUV
2018 Audi A4 2.0T ultra Premium
2.0T ultra Premium 4dr Sedan
2018 Toyota RAV4 LE
LE 4dr SUV
2018 Ford F-250 Super Duty XL
4x4 XL 2dr Regular Cab 8 ft. LB Pickup