Practical experience Mini Countryman (2017-2024): maxi-Mini rated by users

‘You have a full-fledged C-segmenter in front of you here’

Mini Countryman Cooper

In 2010, enthusiasts were startled by a very oversized Mini. This did the brand no harm, so a second generation followed in 2017. This really made the model great, both literally and figuratively. We were recently introduced to a brand new third generation, but for now we look at user experiences of the previous model.

If we look at the sales figures, it is really striking how successful the second Mini Countryman has been. These are not earth-shattering numbers, but the development of sales is at least striking. Immediately after its introduction, the number of sales doubled compared to its predecessor, but it is relatively rare that this trend continues to rise after that.

In any case, the Countryman offers something for everyone. Getting into a Countryman One gives you a fairly tame 1.5 three-cylinder with 102 hp, an engine that produces 136 hp in the Cooper. The sportier Cooper S has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder and 192 hp, while the top model Cooper S JCW provides you with no less than 306 kicking horses. Very trendy plug-in hybrid driving is possible with the Cooper SE and, also very trendy, the diesel engine was retired in 2022.

It’s that big

We already knew that this Mini is not a small one, a driver who upgrades from the previous Countryman model emphasizes this once again. “You notice the extra space very clearly,” he writes about the plug-in hybrid Cooper SE All4 from 2018. “With Mindy, the term ‘MINI’ was already difficult, with Mike that really no longer applies. You have a full-fledged C-segmenter right here in front of you.” For those who haven’t noticed yet: the previous Countryman was called Mindy, the current one is called Mike.

The Countryman also appears to be an excellent family member in another family. “The car is very good as a family car. The trunk is not overly large, but it is practical, especially with an electric hatch. Space in the back is fine. Our baby sits comfortably in the back, in the high chair.” There is also feedback: “Whoever came up with the idea of ​​opening the tailgate with foot control should think about it again. It doesn’t work 7 out of 10 times and often that is when you are standing with a bag full of groceries, or with a Maxi Cosi in your hand. This really worked much better with the Mini Clubman.”

Shorter responses are no less positive. “So far it’s been a perfect car for us and it’s always big enough for the two of us, but it’s also very doable with a number of tall teenagers in the back,” says a Countryman Cooper driver. “With my height of 1.83 metres, I can sit comfortably behind myself, I have about 5 centimeters to spare, and my head does not come close to the panoramic roof,” experiences the driver of a Countryman Cooper S. “A big plus for the space inside (I’m 1.89 meters) and the luggage compartment!”, concludes the owner of a fresh blue Cooper.

Seating comfort and infotainment

Putting these two things together seems a bit illogical, but the reason is that little attention is paid to it by users. The Cooper S driver from the above paragraphs writes about the furniture: “The seats are very nice, I am not the smallest in terms of size and the seat can be adjusted quite well with the electric seat adjustment. As a result, I left the car refreshed after two trips of about 2 hours.” And about the infotainment: “This car has the new media center with touchscreen. I personally don’t use that because of the greasy fingerprints, which always irritates me. I think the touchpad is fantastic. Responds quickly and very user-friendly.” So, we have a nice idea of ​​that.

On the road with the maxi-Mini

Fortunately, people write a lot about the handling of the Mini. We stay with the previous driver for a while, who gives us a shout-out. “In terms of driving behavior, I don’t understand all the Autoweek reviews where they say it is nervous on the highway. I really haven’t noticed anything about this yet,” he says. “Handling is great, although it is not a Mini 3 or 5-door, but it is really quite dynamic.”

The driver of a ‘normal’ Cooper writes the following. “I notice that this car is heavier than the Clubman. At 1,340 kg, it is not lightweight and I notice that when accelerating.” And about the handling: “It is a good idea to take the bends at a little less speed if you are with passengers. That is simply less comfortable, more movement in the carriage. But if you are alone, you can really take bends and it handles bends at speed on the highway just fine!”

The plug-in hybrid Countryman also seems to be a nice companion. The next driver, who mainly drives it electrically, sometimes leaves his Mini out for a while. “If you put the car in sports mode, it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it takes off and starts growling in a sporty manner. On the highway it drives smoothly and comfortably. It is no Passat CC on the German autobahn, but certainly not a punishment to drive longer distances with it.” Another plug-in driver notes a point of interest. “With sporty driving, the brakes sometimes surprise you. Probably because the car only uses the brakes during hard braking actions (regenerative braking is the standard). This makes the braking force unpredictable, because the brakes are sometimes cold and sometimes at the right temperature. Takes some getting used to.”

There is also criticism of the electric range. “Even with very quiet driving, I have not yet managed to get further than 30 km on a charge, where 41 km should be possible, on average we have a range between 25 and 28 km max,” writes an owner. “A full battery provides between 26 and 34 km of electric driving, which is somewhat dependent on the cold,” is the experience of someone else. The range also appears to be limited on petrol. “The petrol tank is small and therefore you still have to stop surprisingly often (35 l/about 500km),” notes a third user.

Assistance systems less refined

The driver assistance systems also do not work quite as expected. “The active cruise control is an option that you should not take in the Netherlands. It is simply impossible to drive on the highway, but I think this will be the case with all cars with ACC,” is the cautious statement of a Cooper S driver. Another driver supports his story. “The cruise control with distance monitoring is simply terrible,” is the conclusion, “Even with the margins at minimum, I am better at assessing the traffic situation than this system. A system that regularly suffers from errors in vehicle recognition and then switches off.” A third user is also not satisfied. “The adaptive cruise control does have a very large safety margin. Even at the shortest headway, the distance is so great that you often turn off the option in heavier traffic.”

Maintenance, malfunctions and irritations

There is also good news to report, our drivers are not experiencing any serious problems. A Cooper SE driver does point out the maintenance schedule of ‘Mike’ the plug-in. “The spark plugs at 40,000 km?! Yes, I was surprised too. The interval for the 1.5 L three-cylinder is 5 years or 60,000 km. The car is almost 5 years old and experience shows that it is better to replace the spark plugs in a timely manner to prevent other much more expensive problems. Apparently the stronger ad hoc character of the PHEV has quite an impact on the spark plugs.”

A second PHEV driver mentions another point of attention with this version. “Another oddity was that the air conditioning suddenly stopped functioning. After investigating the garage, it appears that the air conditioning only works on the electrical system and not on the engine. The result is that as soon as the battery drops below +/- 7 percent, the electrical system stops and therefore also the air conditioning. You would expect the limit value to remain above so that these systems continue to function in hybrid mode, but not so.” Other drivers do not report this behavior, so perhaps it is exemplary after all.

After reading these user experiences, we understand why the second generation Mini Countryman was so successful. It proves to be considerably more usable than its predecessor and is turning out to be a great driving family car. In any case, his recently released successor has big shoes to fill.

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