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2020 Mini Countryman Review

The 2020 Mini Countryman lends truth to the saying that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. For in the land of Mini models, the Countryman is king, or at least biggest. Although towered over by its rivals, the Countryman does provide more people and cargo space than any other Mini. It’s positively huge next to the Mini Cooper.

Mini models are pricey for their size. This holds true even for the larger Countryman. What you get for your investment is an upscale interior, sporty performance and a platform for all sorts of customizing. Own one and you’ll already be driving a vehicle you won’t see at every intersection, but Mini offers all manner of doodads to separate your Countryman from any others you might run across. Mini blends image with performance, which the Countryman reflects brilliantly.

What’s New for 2020?

The John Cooper Works ALL4 gets a new version of the 4-cylinder turbo putting out 301 horsepower. Additional updates include that S and JCW models now have LED fog lights and headlights standard. New wheel choices are offered across the grades. Active Driving Assistant featuring its camera-based system with low-speed braking with pedestrian detection and emergency braking assistance at higher speeds is standard on all Countryman versions. The plug-in S E gets more battery capacity and a longer electric-only range. Until at least March of 2020, the 6-speed manual is unavailable. Where that is normally the standard transmission, the automatic upgrade is now standard and reflected in the pricing. See the 2020 Mini Countryman models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Big interior given its exterior dimensions
  • Fun to drive
  • Quirky styling
  • Highly customizable

What We Don’t

  • Slow base engine
  • Pricey for an SUV of its size
  • Some advanced safety tech restricted to an expensive package
  • Plug-in hybrid’s modest all-electric range

How Much?

$29,250-$49,250

Fuel Economy

Each 2020 Mini Countryman model is tied to a different engine.

The base Cooper is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder (134 hp, 162 lb-ft of torque). A 7-speed double clutch automatic is standard for front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive/ALL4 models. Fuel economy is 26 miles per gallon in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in combined driving with the FWD. Mileage numbers for the Cooper ALL4 are 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway/27 mpg combined.

The Cooper S has a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque). In FWD S models, it’s mated with a 7-speed sport transmission. ALL4 gets an 8-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy stands at 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy/29 mpg combined with FWD. ALL4 post 33 mpg city/32 mpg highway/26 mpg combined.

The John Cooper Works Countryman has a new-generation 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 301 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. ALL4 with the 8-speed automatic transmission is standard. Its fuel economy is 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

On the other end of the spectrum, the confusingly named Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 is a plug-in hybrid. It produces a total output of 221 hp and can travel up to 16 miles on electricity alone. When that’s depleted, it gets 29 mpg combined.

Standard Features and Options

The 2020 Countryman is available in four powertrains arranged into models: the Cooper, the Cooper S, the John Cooper Works and the Cooper S E plug-in hybrid, all of which used to serve as the Countryman trim levels. For 2019, Mini created three consistent trim levels (Classic, Signature and Iconic) for each powertrain model except the hybrid. To streamline this section, we have opted to display pricing for the base Classic trim on each engine model. Then we show the added cost and content of the Signature and Iconic trim levels in parentheses. The added amount is based on the price of the Classic trim.

To put it mildly, Mini’s pricing, content and options are a hot mess. We’ve attempted to clean it all up as much as possible.

ALL4 (AWD) on the Cooper and Cooper S models adds $2,000 to the posted price. Opting for AWD can add some additional goodies like a 6.5-in touchscreen, a panoramic moonroof, heated seats and more, depending on the model.

AWD is standard in the Cooper S E hybrid and the John Cooper Works. All prices include the $850 factory delivery fee.

The Cooper Classic ($29,250) comes with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, 16-in alloy wheels, run-flat tires, automatic head lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, SensaTec vinyl seating, air conditioning, roof rails, rear parking sensors, a backup camera, heated outboard mirrors, push-button start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, Active Driving Assistant, Bluetooth connectivity and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio capability and a USB port.

The Cooper S Classic ($32,750) has the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

The John Cooper Works Classic ($42,250) comes with the high-output 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

The Cooper S E Classic ($37,750) uses the hybrid powertrain.

To the Classic’s features, the Signature (+$3,000) adds the 8-speed automatic transmission (or no-charge 6-speed manual), 17-in wheels, remote keyless entry, a panoramic moonroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control, a Mini Connected Media System with a 6.5-in touchscreen, Active Driving Assistant with adaptive cruise control, speed limit information, automatic high beams and frontal-crash warning.

Building on the Signature features, the Iconic (+$8,500 Cooper & Cooper S, +$7,000 John Cooper Works) also includes 18-in alloy wheels, power folding outboard mirrors, Comfort Access keyless entry, autodimming rearview and outboard mirrors, power front sport seats, LED headlights with cornering lights, Harman Kardon Premium Sound System, Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, an 8.8-in Touchscreen Navigation Package and leather seating.

Like every Mini, the Countryman is highly customizable, and you can order it however you’d like. It takes between one and two months depending on where you live in the country to get one, but take our word for it — when you take a gander at the long, involved list of options and packages, you will probably agree that it makes sense to order exactly what you want.

Here’s a small sampling of available packages (not all are available on every trim): The Touchscreen Navigation Package has BMW Teleservices, real-time traffic info, Apple CarPlay, wireless charging and a navigation system. The Driver Assistance Package includes park distance control, adaptive cruise control, a parking assistant and a head-up display. And the list of factory packages and stand-alone options goes on and on.

The dealer also has a parts department bristling with customizing elements to further tailor your Countryman.

Safety

The 2020 Countryman comes standard with anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, front-knee airbags, front-side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags. Active Driving Assistant, featuring a camera-based system with low-speed braking with pedestrian detection and emergency braking assistance at higher speeds, is standard on all Countryman versions. A forward collision warning and automatic braking system can be added to the Fully Loaded package. Blind spot monitoring is not available.

The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Countryman the best possible ratings of Good in every crash test performed. Its headlights scored a second-worst Marginal, preventing a Top Safety Pick award.

Behind the Wheel

The current Mini Countryman is far more comfortable and refined than the previous generation. The ride in particular sees massive improvement, going from flat-out harsh to firm yet comfortable. It’s in keeping with the rest of the small luxury SUV segment in this regard, although as a Mini, it’s also one of the sharpest and most enjoyable to drive.

In terms of engines, we’d highly recommend paying extra for the Cooper S. Unless you almost exclusively drive in a city, the base 3-cylinder turbo just doesn’t have the guts to deal with the Countryman’s added weight, plus that of passengers and cargo. The 4-cylinder turbo in the Cooper S is far more in keeping with the segment and provides energetic acceleration. Even though the hybrid’s electric-only range is improved for 2020, we are not impressed with its 16 miles.

Of course, there is nothing like rocketing around in the 301-hp JCW version. It’s a blast.

Inside, the back seat offers legitimate space for someone taller than 6 feet, as well as sliding and reclining for added comfort and cargo versatility. Apart from the mechanically related BMW X1, no other vehicle in its class can match its interior space. The cargo space isn’t enormous, but those sliding and folding seats, plus the Countryman’s boxy shape, make it more versatile than most.

The cabin feels fairly luxurious, but it does help to opt for one of the many upgraded upholstery fabrics or leathers available. We’d also consider opting for the upgraded 8.8-in infotainment system. It, too, features a console-mounted controller that’s awkward to reach, but it stands out from the base 6.5-in system with a welcome touchscreen interface.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 BMW X1— The X1 is mechanically related to the Countryman. It’s a bit bigger, more powerful and has a more conventionally designed interior, but it’s also pricier.

2020 Mazda CX-5 — If you’re mostly considering the Countryman for its fun-to-drive character, try the stylish CX-5. You could easily find it to be more fun. Plus, it comes with more space and a lower price.

2020 Mini Clubman — If you want a bigger Mini but don’t need it to be SUV-big, consider the Clubman, which is pretty much a compact hatchback (albeit with two barn doors instead of a hatch).

Used Range Rover Evoque — It, too, is British, and a high-style choice that offers a compelling design and distinctive color schemes. It’s much pricier, though, so a used model could be worth considering.

Autotrader’s Advice

Order your car. Don’t get stuck paying for stuff you don’t want or a color combination that’s not exactly your cup of tea. In one to two months, you can have the exact Mini Countryman you like. And you should even be able to get a similar price to one that’s just sitting on a dealer lot. Either way, though, we would recommend getting the Cooper S due to its sufficiently powerful engine. Find a 2020 Mini Countryman for sale

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