2017 MINI Countryman

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$26,100

starting MSRP

2017 MINI Countryman
2017 MINI Countryman

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • More spacious inside than previous model
  • Solid, upscale fit and finish
  • Sporty steering feel
  • Outstanding ride quality
  • Excellent visibility
  • Manual transmission available

The bad:

  • Road noise on bad pavement
  • Base Cooper needs more power
  • No height-adjustable seat belts
  • Most electronic safety features optional
  • Multimedia controller placement
  • Buggy Apple media interface

4 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2017 MINI Countryman trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • All-new, five-seat compact SUV
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Two turbocharged engines
  • Three available transmissions
  • Longer and wider than previous version
  • Highly customizable
  • Plug-in hybrid coming mid-2017

2017 MINI Countryman review: Our expert's take

By Aaron Bragman

The verdict: Bigger and better in every way than the 2016, the new 2017 Mini Countryman is a fun and versatile subcompact SUV that outshines premium competitors costing thousands more.  

Versus the competiton: Despite being about the same overall length as competitors, the new Countryman is far roomier, especially in the backseat. It has more headroom, more cargo room and more customization options, as well.  

The second-generation Mini Countryman has arrived, now built off an all-new platform with all-new engines, transmissions and all-wheel drive, as well (compare the 2016 and 2017 models here). It’s bigger, more refined, more spacious and more powerful than ever, but now that the Countryman has a lot more premium competition, can it still command a premium price?

Despite sharing not a single body panel with the outgoing Countryman, the new one looks every bit a Mini. The front end has new taillights and the traditional Mini-style grille, while a taller greenhouse lets in more light compared with the old model and its higher beltline. The biggest change comes in back, where the previous Countryman’s horizontal taillights have been reoriented and now look like larger versions of those seen on Mini Cooper’s hatchback hardtop cars. The differences are subtle but make for a cleaner, less awkward design.

Less-Mini Mini

What’s not subtle is how the Countryman has grown over the outgoing model — more than 8 inches in length and more than an inch in width. That has led to a much bigger rear seat area and class-leading headroom, but a seating position that’s more than 5 inches higher than the comparably sized Mini Clubman four-door. As with the rest of the Mini lineup, customizable options are practically boundless, from color combinations and stripes to special theme packages. Mini hasn’t lost its versatility in making a new model exactly how you want it.

Acceleration: Scant or Punchy

Two versions of the Countryman are available initially: the base model Cooper and the more powerful, sportier Cooper S. A high-performance John Cooper Works model arrives in April, and a plug-in hybrid will arrive in June. The base engine in the Cooper trim is a turbocharged, 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine making a worryingly scant 134 horsepower and 162 pounds-feet of torque. It’s mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission or optional six-speed automatic driving the front wheels. If you opt for the All4 all-wheel-drive option (newly available for the base Cooper, not just the Cooper S), that engine comes only with the eight-speed automatic.

The Cooper’s three-cylinder engine sounds pretty terrific. It’s a growly little mill that isn’t afraid to rev but never sounds thrashy or stressed. In around-town driving, it provides plenty of low-end torque to get you off the line, but put your foot to the floor and the Countryman runs out of steam fairly quickly. To its credit, it never stopped pulling — even on a long uphill grade with two big gentlemen onboard — while passing a semi. But for the enthusiasts out there, the Cooper S is the way to go.

That model features a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making a more robust 189 hp and 207 pounds-feet of torque. It’s also available with a six-speed manual (but only with all-wheel drive) or eight-speed automatic (front- or all-wheel drive). There’s even a sport automatic eight-speed that adds flappy paddle shifters on the steering wheel, plus more robust, heavier-duty internal components, electronic launch control and more aggressive shifting behavior for faster acceleration. When launch control is engaged, Mini Cooper says the Countryman Cooper S can reach 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds. The Countryman’s brakes are soft on initial pedal application, but the more you dig into them, the progressively harder they work and the more confident they feel.

The Cooper S feels much quicker than the Cooper, with acceleration punch both around town and out on the highway that is truly addicting. Pop the mode selector into Sport and everything gets even more fun, with a different shift program, firmer steering, different suspension settings and better accelerator response that turns the compact crossover into a tossable, snarling little beast.

Yet despite all that aggressive attitude, both trim levels feature an astonishingly well-damped ride. Bumps are registered and broken pavement is revealed, but no unrefined, crashy disturbances get through to passengers. Road noise is another matter, but that had more to do with the terrible pebbly pavement surfaces around Portland, Ore., where I tested the cars than a lack of sound deadening in the Countryman.

The Mini Countryman requires much more steering effort than do competing vehicles like the Audi Q3 or Mercedes-Benz GLA. I can’t say much about handling behavior, as I was unable to drive the Countryman too aggressively due to inclement weather conditions. That evaluation will have to wait for a later test. But the overall feel of both Countryman trims is that of a tight, athletic, sporty premium compact that can be had in “fun” or “extra-fun” variants.

Surprising Space

The extra space the 2017 Countryman brings is immediately evident when sitting down. There’s a ton of headroom, even with the standard panoramic moonroof, and plenty of width for front occupants in the knee, hip and shoulder areas. Backseat passengers have it good, as well, with a standard sliding, reclining and split-folding rear seats, plus a surprising amount of legroom for all occupants. Visibility out of the Countryman is excellent in every direction, with big windows all around and pillars that aren’t overly thick.

The interior materials feel decidedly premium, helping justify the Mini Countryman’s price over similar models from more mass-market brands. The typical Mini Cooper cues are all here, such as the small, round multifunction gauge cluster attached to the steering column, the big round circle that houses the multimedia system, even the toggle-style switches for all sorts of functions both down low and up high on the overhead console. Both vehicles I tested had sport seats, and both proved comfortable and decently adjustable.

Touchscreens and Touchiness

There’s an all-new multimedia system in the 2017 Countryman, one that’s been redone for a more iconographic approach. It helps reconfigure things so they’re suitable for the new touchscreen that’s now part of the system, but it’s only moderately successful: Some of the icons aren’t exactly intuitive, there isn’t a lot of color contrast to identify what you want to use quickly, and things are still buried in menus you’ll have to navigate in order to get to items like vehicle settings. It also had some big problems reading and playing songs from two different iPhones, sometimes not playing the music despite the screen showing it was, and more often not playing the song it said was playing. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not yet offered, but they’re coming, Mini says.

If you don’t get the larger 8.8-inch touchscreen, the standard 6.5-inch display required Mini to keep the multifunction, BMW-style iDrive controller positioned down low and rearward on the center console. Its position is unpleasant — it’s difficult to see and reach — but it provides a familiar operating practice for people used to the BMW/Mini controllers, and it also works with the larger screen.

The rest of the gauges and displays are typical Mini, which is to say they often emphasize style over function. Lots of people are content to deal with the quirkiness of Mini design — truly, it’s one of the main reasons people purchase Mini vehicles. Whether it satisfies you or not will likely be a matter of personal taste.

Snowblowers Unwelcome

The new Mini Cooper Countryman adds an additional 5.4 cubic feet of cargo room over the outgoing model. While this might seem like a nice bump, don’t let it fool you: This is still a small car, and in the words of Mini’s own product planner, “You’re not likely to be hauling around snowblowers.”

But I do agree with the brand’s contention that it’s big enough for its users: people who tend to use it in an urban environment to haul around four people — plus gear, when needed. Plus, the novel 40/20/40-split folding, reclining and sliding backseat does improve the Countryman’s versatility. Cargo room is listed at 17.6 cubic feet with the seats up, expanding to 47.6 cubic feet when they’re folded. This is almost identical to the newest Mini Clubman, meaning there’s no real cargo room advantage to getting the taller Countryman, only a difference in seating position.

Rather surprisingly for a premium vehicle, the new Mini Cooper Countryman does not offer all that much in terms of standard electronic safety equipment. Mini includes parking sensors, a backup camera, and automatic headlights with rain-sensing windshield wipers as standard equipment, but items like blind spot warning and rear traffic alert with cross-traffic detection are not even available. Forward collision alert with autonomous city braking and automatic distance-keeping cruise control are optional.

Versatility Meets Value

The new Mini Cooper Countryman represents a dramatic improvement over the awkward, ungainly, compromised previous model. It’s spacious, comfortable and feels more premium than the old version, and it embarrasses a lot of its competitors with its versatility and even with its value.

A base Cooper starts at $26,950 including an $850 destination fee. Adding all-wheel drive system bumps that up by a round $2,000, while opting for the more powerful, sportier Cooper S will run you $29,950 for a front-wheel-drive model and $31,950 for an All4. Add in some common options and you’ll likely move the MSRP up to the mid-$30,000 range. Adding every option and more than a few custom touches brings the price up to the low-to-mid-$40,000 range. The Cooper S All4 in which I spent most of my time featured a number of popular options and rang in just north of $38,000.

Mini seems to have crafted a perfectly sized new offering for people looking for a premium compact crossover — one that’s far more pleasant and accommodating than the one it replaces without losing any of the magical personality that has made Mini vehicles so popular.

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.8
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.7
  • Reliability 4.6

Most recent consumer reviews

3.4

Nice vehicle with a big design flaw.

I have owned two Mini Countryman, a 2015 and now currently a 2017 Countryman S ALL4. The car itself is nice, and after 3 years I am happy overall with the vehicle except for one flaw which I consider to be major if you don't like pouring money down the drain. I am not happy at all with what appears to be either an intentionally built in design flaw, or a complete lack of engineering and incompetent design. The issue: If you spill any liquid on the center console where the cup holders are located, you have the potential to trigger a transmission warning that cannot be extinguished, and will cost you thousands to repair. My daughter had her drink spill on the center console, a full fountain drink that dripped out the top and onto the console as she rounded a corner. This occurred several weeks ago and has had time to dry completely. I now have a transmission service light on that cannot be extinguished. I took the car to the dealer, and this is the story. Liquid, spilled on the console, near the cup holders, will seep into the gear shifter mechanism located directly below the cup holders. When this mechanism and it's circuitry get wet, it triggers a transmission warning light that cannot be extinguished, even after the mechanism has been dried. The service department indicated that there is no mechanical issue with the transmission, and that the electronics in the mechanism are functioning normally and there is no short. Despite this, there is no way to eliminate the transmission service light. What has been explained, is that a moisture detector, once triggered, will show this fault until the unit is replaced, even if there is no mechanical or electrical reason for this fault light to remain on. The price to replace this unit (which is not mechanically or electrically compromised)? $1500.00 Some questions I asked; What is the reason to design a console that has a cup holder where any spillage from the cup holder potentially can cost $1500 to repair? No answer. What assures me that another spill after the unit is replaced will not repeat the same issue costing another $1500? No answer. Why is there not a waterproofing cover or plastic sheeting that deflects moisture away from the shifter mechanism if it is located directly under a cup-holder? No answer. Now my choice is, pay $1500 to repair a part that is not malfunctioning only because it encountered a spill, and HOPE that it doesn't happen again, or leave the light on and HOPE a real transmission issue doesn't arise that will be masked by the fact that the light remains illuminated. This, in my opinion, is a very poorly designed car, if a simple issue like this can cost such a large amount to repair. Did none of the engineers at Mini, consider this, and simply cover the component with a moisture deflection barrier? Or is this designed into the car so that Mini may charge money to replace a part that is actually working. $1500? Very poor design. I invite Mini to dispute this or provide any explanation as to why they would not protect circuitry under a CUP HOLDER from possible spillage. If I have a $1500 electronic component, I would never set my drink on top of it. Neither would I expect the manufacturer of that $1500 component to suggest I place drinks on top of it, Why? because everyone knows spills can happen,it would be foolish to set my drink on a Stereo, no matter the cost. But that is exactly what Mini has done. Placed a $1500 component in the center console and then a cup holder directly above it, with no protection for the component at all. My recommendation, don't buy this car, or, if you do, don't allow any beverage in the car unless it's a sealed bottle, and then be very careful not to spill it.

5.0

New to MINI Family

What can I say about my Coutryman All4...I. LOVE. IT!!! I have previously only driven large SUVs and wanted to give a MINI a try because they are pretty slick looking cars. I found my Countryman All4 and absolutely fell in love with it. They tell me it is considered the SUV of the MINI line so that helped!! Not only did it come with all the bells and whistles that my previous Sequoia did not, but it was also spacious for a small car. The handling is great, the response when stepping on the gas is amazing and I am super excited that I can fit into any street parking when typically I'd have to locate a garage to park my bus! It has enough room for my family of four and the cargo room is exceptional for my daily tasks. I am absolutely sold on this small line of cars and not sure if I will go back to a large SUV in the future.

5.0

HOT CAR. I smell you are jealous.

I love it. It's small and peppy and fits everything I need it to fit. It looks great and runs great and is fun to drive. I could not be happier.

See all 11 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by MINI
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Less than 5 years/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
1 year/unlimited miles after the expiration of the 4-year/50,000-mile MINI new-car limited warranty
Powertrain
N/A
Dealer certification required
Yes
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

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