2018 Mini Countryman S owner review

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Review written by:
Caitlin T
PROS
  • Perfect size
  • Would buy again
  • Love the tech
CONS
  • No electric seats with memory
  • HUD doesn't project onto the HUD screen in the right location

About the Mini Countryman

Caitlin T purchased this Mini Countryman new with additional options for $55,000 (including all on-road costs). Caitlin T would buy this car again because: “Absolutely “

How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

So far, the build quality is sturdy, rattles haven’t developed, and the interior toggles, buttons and thud of the doors have a solid feel about them.

What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

I am petite of build, so any car I own must have a large range of seat adjustment to accommodate for my little arms and legs, which the Mini does. This wide range of adjustment means the seating position can cater to many people to provide a comfortable seating position.

I will note that Mini could do away with the extension in the seat base. This feature is just awkward and the adjuster for it is in a horrible spot, resulting in pressure on the back of the calves, which is quite uncomfortable and almost turned me off the car completely.

The Mini could also benefit from electric seat adjustment with the ability to store seat settings, which is commonly found in cars at this price point and did disappoint me a little that it wasn’t included as standard. The Countryman can accommodate five people; however, I would reduce this to four adults. Three adults in the backseat would be a little too cosy for comfort. On the other hand, it is perfect for little ones.

We could easily fit two car seats in the back, which allows the middle seat insert to fold down to provide a snack tray and cups holders. The backseats are in reachable proximity to the driver which makes passing snacks, drinks, and wipes through to the back a breeze.

The Countryman comes with ISO-fix, and the anchor points are clearly labelled and easily accessible. The tie down points are at a good height providing ample room for adjustment of the car seat straps, and in addition the rear headrests can be completely removed to accommodate for the height adjustment within child car seats.

The rear seats fold flat in a variety of combinations, which creates a flat base with the boot. This is convenient for Ikea runs… Personally we have fit 8 flat pack dining chairs, cushions and a five-year-old in his car seat comfortably in one shopping trip. The standard boot space provided is enough for a weekly grocery shop and can be deepened by removing the false floor, which creates room to accommodate small bikes, and or scooters.

How has the purchase and aftercare experience been with your car?

No issues, reliable and solid and good experience with the BMW dealer.

Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

It comes complete with all the safety features that mums look for and mod-cons such as key less entry, push button start, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights, daytime running lights, heads up display, wireless phone charger, touch screen infotainment system including Apple CarPlay, and a clear and quality sound system that I can crank on those rare moments I am solo in the car.

The quirkiness doesn’t stop at the exterior, the cockpit feel within the cabin is promoted through the use of toggles and flip switches present to start the car, adjust the drive modes, automatic stop/start and traction control. This is continued with a panel in the roof which provides options to select a wide range of colours for the interior lighting, and houses the map/reading lights, SOS call button and the microphone.

What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

Very good. The fuel consumption is pretty good. keeping in mind that I typically drive the car in mid mode, on average I am getting 590kms per tank, so approximately 8L / 100kms, which is a little over the advertised consumption.

What do you think of the technology in your car?

The infotainment system is easy to navigate through the inclusion of the large touch screen or use of the rotary dial. The menus are logically laid out, and provide for Apple CarPlay, and synchronisation with multiple devices.

The wireless phone charger, located in the centre console, is handy and doesn’t hinder the hands-free use of a mobile device. Settings and functions accessible through the steering wheel contribute to the safe operation of the vehicle while still providing for the convenience of accessibility. The steering wheel also houses drive features such as adaptive cruise control, high beam settings, wiper settings, along with vehicle information systems. I will note that the automatic wipers need to be engaged when raining.

It is more like an automatic setting that needs to be selected each time you require it, rather than a fully automated response to rain. The wipers are also jumpy, even in the heaviest of downpours, something that I would not expect from a new car. The air-conditioning works well and offers dual climate control in the front.

I find it easier to adjust the air-conditioning manually as the automatic setting can be finicky, often reducing the fan speed and redirecting the air flow to the foot wells which results in a stuffy cabin. Visibility from the driver’s seat is ok, large windows and windscreen offer plenty of clear sight, however the bulky A pillars can be a hinderance, often requiring the driver to lean forward to see pass them when checking left and right.

What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

The Countryman handles well for its size, I can carry pace around a corner without feeling like the car is going to tip, and its steering is considerably responsive. It’s turning circle makes it really easy to manoeuvre in and around school parking areas, and shopping centres. This is aided by the clear reversing camera and the parking sensors which makes reverse parking a breeze. The car also offers automatic self-parking, however this takes more time than often afforded in the morning rush of school drop off. Activated on ignition is the automatic stop/start function.

This system takes some time to get used to, and eight months on, I still find that it can delay acceleration into traffic. The upside is that the feature reduces emissions and if it continues to inhibit the driving experience, it can be easily turned off with a flick of a switch. Furthermore, the Countryman offers three driving modes. Green mode is the most fuel efficient, the exhaust is quiet, but the car becomes a little doughy. Mid is the mode I use for every day driving, it is zippy and carries a slight note through the exhaust.

Sport mode takes it up notch, the exhaust pops and crackles, the gears are held longer and changed faster; and the steering more responsive. But it is in manual sport mode, with the use of paddle shift that the crackles, burbles, and pops of the exhaust system are most prominent, and satisfies the boy racer, I mean husband, when he wants to drive my car. It also has launch control, for the traffic lights Grand Prixs, but it’s mostly a gimmick as, let’s be honest, we’re not working with an outright sports car here.

Do you have any additional comments about your car?

It was inevitable that I would end up with a Mini at some point. During my husband’s teenage years, he and his father rebuilt and modified classic minis as projects together, my husbands first car was a mini moke, and he sold his beloved Mini Cooper S to provide a deposit for our first home.

And so, 11 years on, in November 2018, we welcomed the Mini Countryman Cooper S as my new family car. The Mini’s cute and quirky looks set it apart from the other mum SUV’s and can be personalised through the wide range of accessories and colours offered in the side mirrors, roofs, and bonnet stripes.

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Ratings
Overall8.7
Show Breakdown
Technology 8.5
Reliability 9.1
Ride & Handling 8.3
Price & Features 8.6
Purchase & Aftercare 9.1
Performance & Economy 8.5
Ownership Experience 8.8
Top Line Specs
6.5L
140kW
149g
Not tested
View all specifications