At nearly 170 inches long, 71.7 inches wide, and over 61 inches in hight, the 2018 Mini Countryman is the largest vehicle in the brand's lineup. Despite that, it doesn’t abandon Mini's driving DNA and classic styling cues.
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2018 MINI Countryman Overview
What's New for 2018
The second-generation Countryman is only a year old, so it's no surprise Mini has made only tiny tweaks for its second year. There are a few changes on the equipment list, like the rear-view camera becoming standard and Apple CarPlay being added as an optional extra.
Choosing Your MINI Countryman
The entry-level Cooper Countryman gets a thrifty 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder engine that produces 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front-wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic gearbox costs an additional $1,200. Adding Mini's All4 all-wheel-drive system drives the price up $2,000 – a six-speed manual is still standard, although the automatic option now has eight gears instead of six.
Moving up the range, the Cooper S Countryman packs a more engaging 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Sixty miles per hour arrives in 7.2 seconds for the front-drive model and an even seven seconds for the All4-equipped example, which costs an additional $500 only. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard on the front-drive model, but oddly enough, an option on the all-wheel-drive one.
The Mini Countryman is also available with a plug-in hybrid configuration. Called the Cooper S E Countryman, it combines the standard 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-pot engine with an electric motor for 221 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox are standard. Mini's first plug-in, the Cooper S E Countryman takes 6.7 seconds to hit 60 mph, can travel up to 24 miles on battery power alone and returns up to 65 mpge on a full charge or 27 mpg in the more traditional hybrid mode.
Finally, for the hardcore enthusiasts, Mini has the John Cooper Works Countryman. It gets the same 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine used in the Cooper S, but it now belts out 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. This allows for a zero-to-60 sprint of 6.2 seconds. As with most other variants, a manual gearbox is standard and an automatic is available, but all-wheel drive required.
Being a Mini, there are several add-on packages that Countryman owners can opt for. The Technology Pack ($2,250) includes an upgraded 8.8-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay compatibility, wireless charging real time traffic updates for navigation, and a head-up display. The Sport Package ($2,000) adds adaptive dampers, sport seats, 18-inch wheels, and LED headlamps and fog-lights. The Convenience Package ($750) provides amenities such as an alarm system, folding rear armrest with cup-holders and additional 12-V sockets. Meanwhile, the Premium Pack ($2,000) offers Harmon Kardon sound system, automatic front seats and power tailgate. Finally, there's the Fully Loaded Pack, which basically includes all the features of the aforementioned packs. These come on top of the huge array of interior trim and upholstery options. And as is Mini tradition, every piece of equipment is available a la carte.
The Countryman is a versatile and fun-to-drive car. Cooper S and the JCW variants are our pick, largely because of the powertrain. The hybrid Countryman is an compelling proposition but it’s quite pricey and the added weight could hamper the handling.
2018 MINI Countryman Review
The 2018 Mini Countryman is larger than its name suggests. It's a compact crossover offering iconic looks and functional space inside. The base model is underpowered and a plug-in hybrid is new this year.
The 2018 Mini Countryman is a compact crossover utility vehicle with room for five. It offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. This model was redesigned for the 2017 model year, and carries over mostly unchanged outside of the new hybrid powertrain and package restructuring.
Mini requires customers to choose one of three styles – classic, signature, or iconic – before selecting trims. If this sounds familiar to you, BMW takes a similar approach (the BMW Group owns Mini). As for the trims, these include Cooper, S, S E, and John Cooper Works.
You’ll find a standard turbocharged three-cylinder engine or an available turbocharged four-cylinder engine in most models. The plug-in hybrid is another option. Most trims offer a six-speed manual or a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission.
Our choice is the Mini Cooper S Countryman ALL4. It has the turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. We selected the classic trim, which includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a panorama roof, and a 6.5-inch media display. We then picked a few appearance, comfort, and technology options. Here’s how we’d build ours:
- Model: 2018 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4
- Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
- Output: 189 hp / 207 lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed manual
- Drivetrain: All-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 21 City / 31 Hwy
- Options: Chili Red or Midnight Black body color ($500), heated front seats ($500).
- Base Price: $32,250 (including an $850 destination charge)
- Best Value Price: $33,250
The Countryman’s base engine carries too much of a burden in our opinion. It strains under a full load and doesn’t provide the power boost we prefer even under light conditions.
Our chosen four-cylinder engine delivers 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, We paired it with a smooth-shifting manual gearbox, which enables this model to go from zero to 60 mph in about seven seconds. The 2018 Countryman offers taut steering, nimble handling, and firm brakes. The ride is average, but then again, this is a small crossover.
Nothing says “Mini” more than the iconic good looks of this brand. Sure, most models are much larger than the original, but the spirit lives on. The Mini’s circular theme with rounded edges, a high beltline, and the expected ornamentation offers a familiar look. Mini allows much customization too, including hood stripes, roof rails, privacy glass and other upgrades. It's these add-ons that can quickly drive up your final price.
Inside, Mini takes the circular theme up a notch, with door handles, gauges, knobs, and trim pieces included. The console display is the heart of the cabin, both for its visual interest and usability. Choice materials, excellent fit and finish, and comfortable seats all around make the Countryman a strong player in the segment. This model is ideal for four or, with the rear seat folded, you’ll enjoy ample storage room for an extended weekend getaway with your significant other.
The Best and Worst Things
We like that every Mini Countryman comes well equipped. You’ll find such features as standard alloy wheels, roof racks, a dual-panel sunroof, and dual-zone climate control. But prices quickly add up. To get something such as Apple CarPlay (sorry, no Android Auto), you have to opt for a pricey technology package. This is another area where Mini rips out a page from the BMW playbook.
Right For? Wrong For?
If you’re a fan of Mini’s handsome and iconic looks, then the Countryman checks all the right boxes. At the same time, prices can climb quickly, putting the Mini within striking distance of small crossovers offered by luxury brands, including the BMW X1.
The Bottom Line
The Mini name has maximum value and the 2018 Countryman is one of the best models offered. Through careful shopping, you may find the model you want, but keep an eye on the package offerings which can be confusing and pricey.