By on March 30, 2020

2020 Mini Cooper S Countryman

2.0-liter inline four, turbocharged (189 hp @ 5000 rpm, 207 lb/ft. @ 1350 rpm)

Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, front-wheel drive

24 city / 33 highway / 28 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

29.1 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $32,750US

As Tested: $42,250 US

Prices include $850 destination charge in the United States.

Considering the insanity our consumer markets have seen over the past few weeks, I’m kicking myself for having let my warehouse club membership lapse a year or so ago. I reasoned that there was absolutely no need for me to buy staple foods (or paper products) in bulk quantities. There would be no circumstance short of the apocalypse where my regular supermarket could not adequately fill the needs of my family.

Yeah, I’m kicking myself.

Anyhow, that got me thinking about other things that one could buy in larger packages than normal. Looking at the photos of the 2020 Mini Cooper S Countryman I drove a few weeks ago, it clicked – this is the bulk package Mini Cooper. A fair bit more Mini than the standard three-door hatchback, the Countryman is the Mini for families.

To be fair, I wouldn’t take any Mini on a serious Costco run. Those bulk packages of bog roll, frozen ground beef, and fifty-pound bags of flour and rice will quickly overwhelm the 47.6 cubic feet of cargo space the Mini Countryman provides with the rear seats folded. With those rear seats up, 17.6 cubes is a bit tight, but for those weekly supermarket runs this manages perfectly fine.

[Get new and used Mini Countryman pricing here!]

The interior, beyond that tight cargo hold, works beautifully – and is very nicely appointed, with plush quilted leather in an attractive shade of taupe that Mini calls British Oak. The seats offer plenty of support front and rear. My kids, having suffered a bit in the rear of a more traditional two-door Mini Cooper, were amazed at the space they had in the Countryman. Heck, I sat “behind” myself and felt much more comfortable than I do in most compact crossovers – so much so, that this vehicle might genuinely work well for four adults even over long distances. I’m genuinely impressed by the appearance of this interior, as it all looks and feels much more upmarket from the Mini I reviewed last month.

Of course, choosing this leather over the base leatherette requires – at least – the $2,000 Signature Upholstery package and the Signature trim, which adds $3,000 atop the base $28,400 Classic trim level. My tester wears the Iconic trim package, which appears on the sticker as a $8,000 option. Sadly, Mini suffers from parent BMW’s option bloat, where common options require adding more and more to the bottom line. Theoretically, a Countryman could be had for under $30k. This one stickers for $42,250.

While the interior looks great, I’m not as enamored with the exterior styling. Mini has a built-in limitation to its styling, I’m afraid, and trying to enlarge the same old design to fit new market segments makes for weird appendages and bulges. My biggest gripe is with the transition of the roof line between the C- and D-pillars, where the white roof curves down a bit to meet a rear light that is shorter than the windows in both doors. The silver-painted roof rails distract a bit, but my eyes return to that unfortunate roof line.

Thankfully, the driving experience redeems the styling miscues. The Cooper S Countryman is surprisingly engaging behind the wheel. It’s a bit heavy (3,514 pounds), with only 189 horsepower to pull it around, but the steering is direct and eager. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission shifts quickly and nearly imperceptibly. With the longer wheelbase over the standard Mini, the ride on the interstate is quite good, without the fore-and-aft pitching one finds in the smaller car. Fuel economy is rather good, too — I’m sure I could have broken 30 mpg had I spent a bit more time at freeway speeds. It’s incredibly easy to live with.

Mini calls this Countryman a SAV – a sport-activity vehicle, as opposed to a SUV or crossover CUV. While I struggle with the idea of a Mini not being so, you know, mini – I’m wondering if I’m looking at this all wrong. Is the Countryman actually the crossover that we, the crossover-hating enthusiasts, have been wanting all along?

After all, it’s pretty decent to drive. A bit more power would always be welcome, but the Mini Cooper S Countryman is reasonably fun while retaining a fair bit of utility. Interior space and cargo room is on par with most compact crossovers. And, unlike when buying in bulk elsewhere, you don’t need to pay extra for a membership.

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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27 Comments on “2020 Mini Cooper S Countryman Review – A Hatchback From Costco...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Note to Mini: You’ve got to be joking.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    42k?!

    I get that its loaded up or overloaded on options. Our 2020 Odyssey EX-L we just leased stickered for nearly the same price, lacks nothing a reasonable person would want and can swallow all of a Costco run with room for 4 or 6, depending IF you need to fold down the third row and use the middle magic seat.

    The only place the Odyssey can’t win is style and even that is subjective. Our Mazda 5 probably also did better back in the day as a family hauler this thing would.

    I saw a first gen Mini (new Mini?) on the road and forgot how small they were. My 17 Golf almost dwarfed it.

    I’ve always liked the idea of the reincarnated Mini’s, if not the entire execution. And especially not the price. And since their rep isn’t the best nor is their depreciation, I can never seriously consider one new.

    Even at a much lower 30k, if you need family moving power, there are better options that are better executed. If not as “pretty”

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Okay, first off, your Odyssey is nearly THREE FEET longer than this Countryman (203.2″ vs 168.9″), so who in their right mind would cross-shop these two? Second, the Countryman drives and handles like a taut German sports sedan. Can you say that? It’s obvious from driving it why it costs what it does, and how much BMW know-how went into engineering it.

      As for your Golf comparison, this MINI Countryman (F60, 2017/18+) blows any VW out of the water for reliability, according to all surveys. They have vastly improved their reliability since the F56 debuted in 2014. I highly doubt residual value is below a Golf’s either. What are you basing that on?

      What do you care, anyhow? You lease!!

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        My point is that is that as a 42k family hauler its subpar IF you really want to buy a family hauler.

        My VW is bought and has been problem-free for three years until the left headlight developed fog in it recently. Mini doesn’t have that great of a reliability and the resale isn’t the best either, according to CR, from 2010 to 2015. Neither is my VW since the “unpleasantness” with TDI. Didn’t buy it for that, bought it because I liked it and liked the way it drove. Which is why people will buy a Mini. My VW my need of me commuting to work and occasionally putting kids in. Which it does better than this Mini and cost a lot less. I could have bought a GTI and it would still be a better hauler than this.

        No, my Honda Odyssey doesn’t handle like a German sedan and I don’t expect it to. If VW had brought a minivan here I would have leased that instead. And it’s my wife’s car and she loves it.

        I get that many aren’t cross-shopping an Odyssey and Mini. My point is that 42k can buy a lot better family hauler than a Mini. IF that’s your purpose. I’d rather have a 3 series wagon if were talking “proper” German car-type haulers, even used or leased.

      • 0 avatar

        “MINI Countryman (F60, 2017/18+) blows any VW out of the water for reliability,”

        It is a funniest statement I read today. It is like a Battle of Lemons.

  • avatar
    karonetwentyc

    “Welcome to Mini, I love you. Welcome to Mini, I love you. Welcome to Mini, I love you…”

  • avatar
    lstanley

    Mini may be the only car company on earth without a single good looking model currently for sale.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I had a 2014 Countryman S with a 6-speed manual.

    Positives: manual! Great seating. I’m 6’2″ and still had room to scoot the seats back. Also plenty of room for the family. Gas mileage with the 1.6T was okay – better than expected.

    Negative: less hatch space than the trunk of Mustang. One trip down to Asheville and we had one of the rear seats pushed forward so we could fit all of the luggage for three adults. Going back filled with souvenirs and whatnot was even worse. Ride was okay. And no it didn’t handle anywhere close to its smaller brethren. It felt closer to a Scion xB2.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I find myself asking the same question about a lot of cars but here we go: In what way is this car better than a comparably priced (or cheaper) Mazda CX-5? I’m not even sure I can think of a way that it’s better than the much cheaper (and similarly sized) CX-30.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      With the existence of Mazda, you have to REALLY want a MINI’s styling because everything else is done better in the Mazda – including styling. For less money. And more reliability.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    A 2.0T with 189 HP—they really want you to fork over that cash for the JCW model with 300 HP…..

  • avatar
    NeilM

    So the test Mini costs the same as a Golf R ($42,250 vs. $42,390), weighs around 150 lb more, yet has some 100 fewer HP.

    And the Mini is fugly, against the R’s restrained good looks.

    I owned and liked an R53 Mini Cooper S, but this? Yikes!

  • avatar
    redapple

    Naked Eyes – Promises Promises.
    Great song.

    1st Wave Rules

  • avatar
    Hogey74

    Yeah, nah. I get the mini thing now, having recently driven one. GF has a good one and she had trouble keeping up, following me in my NC MX5. But she was more impressed by the upgraded MX5. My second hand MX and second hand Forester owe me about half the purchase price of her fully optioned mini. Yeah, nah.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    $47k… and no ventilated seats available on vehicles $10-15k cheaper? You really need to be a label whore to appreciate it.

    I have 2 friends with Mini products. Neither have had decent reliability out of their vehicles, but both are fun to drive.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    No Mini Cooper available to purchase at Costco.
    Perhaps this is the Mini most appropriate to drive to Costco.

    There was space to park a Cooper at Costco in the empty paper towel and toilet paper area.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    $42k for 189 hp?

    They’re going to lease 10’s of these.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    UGH…! I’ve owned 3 MINI’s. A 2002 MCS/JCW, a POS, a 2003 Cooper, ,meh and a 2004 MINI Cooper S, a great car. Owned it until 2012. After 2006 I found not many MINI’s that I would buy but in 2012 I nearly bought a 2011 Countryman S John Cooper Works but instead I bought an Abarth.

    For me I find it sad at what has become of the brand.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    UGH…! I’ve owned 3 MINI’s. A 2002 MCS, a POS, a 2003 Cooper, ,meh and a 2004 MINI Cooper S, a great car. Owned it until 2012. After 2006 I found not many MINI’s that I would buy but in 2012 I nearly bought a 2011 Countryman S John Cooper Works but instead I bought an Abarth.

    I have since owned 3 Fiats… The 2012 Abarth, a Fiat 500 X, totaled it and now a Fiat Renegade Jeep. I hear all the bad stories about them but I’ve had very few problems and what there were were fixed by the dealership.

    For me I find it sad at what has become of the brand.

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    Looks nice but the BMW pricing of options is a slight downer…

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