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2015 Mini Cooper Countryman

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/13/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Mini Countryman gains a new Piano Black exterior styling kit, chromed vent knob, new design 17-inch wheels, a new radiator grille, and a new 19-inch wheel option. Three new exterior colors, Jungle Green, Midnight Gray, and Starlight Blue, are new for the 2015 model year. All-wheel-drive models are now available with the All4 Exterior Styling kit but it cannot be ordered with the sport suspension or the JCW exterior package and isn’t available in the Countryman JCW.

Research

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Mini Countryman is a small crossover available in front- or all-wheel-drive and was the brand’s first four-door vehicle. Two 1.6-liter I-4s power the crossover: a naturally aspirated unit with 121 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque in the base model and a turbocharged version with 181 hp and 177 lb-ft in the S or 208 hp and 192 lb-ft in the JCW. Two six-speed transmissions, a manual and automatic, handle shifting duties in all models. Fuel economy is decent for the class with base Countrymans rated at 27/34 mpg city/highway with the manual and 25/30 mpg with the automatic. Front-drive S models achieve 26/32 mpg with the manual and 25/32 mpg with the automatic while opting for the all-wheel-drive variant or the JCW Countryman drops those numbers down to 25/31 mpg with the manual and 23/30 mpg with the automatic.

Overview

While not as nimble as the smaller Hardtop hatchback, the Countryman handles well for a crossover with a little body roll, decent steering, and good levels of stability especially with all-wheel drive. Acceleration, however, is slower than the smaller Mini hatchback due to the Countryman’s extra weight. Ride quality is a weak point due to the crossover’s stiff chassis, which causes it to ride rough on less than perfect surfaces particularly when equipped with larger wheels.

Inside, the 2015 Countryman has plenty of room for four adults and up to 42.2 cubic feet of cargo volume with the rear seats folded down. View out of the Countryman is better than in the smaller Mini models thanks to its large windows. There are a few tech features available in the 2015 Countryman including navigation, a Harman Kardon audio system, and the Mini Connected interface, which enables owners to integrate their mobile devices and access we radio apps, Twitter, and news media.

Customization remains a key feature in all of Mini’s cars, and on the Countryman, there is a long list of available options and accessories including two-ton interior upholstery, British Flag decals, chrome accents, racing stripes, and different wheel designs ranging from 17 to 19 inches in size. However, add too many options and before you know it, the Countryman can get more expensive than some competitors.

The 2015 Mini Countryman hasn’t been crash tested by the NHTSA. In IIHS evaluations, the car received a good score in five categories and was awarded the Top Safety Pick designation (good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

While the Mini Countryman isn’t as agile as smaller Mini models, the crossover handles relatively well. However, the extra weight, as we noted in a 2011 First Test review, means it isn’t as fast in a straight line even with the turbo-four in the S model. The extra space, on the other hand, makes the Countryman easy to live with and “can fit four adult humans, or two humans and a dog, or two humans and a bunch of camping gear.” Despite it being larger, the Countryman isn’t as practical as more traditional crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V, which have more usable space.

You’ll Like

  • Roomy interior
  • Good outside visibility
  • Customizable

You Won’t Like

  • Gets expensive fast
  • Not as nimble as smaller Minis
  • Weak base engine

Key Competitors

  • Nissan Juke
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Fiat 500X
  • Mazda CX-3
  • Honda HR-V

Rating

2 star

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