You might have already heard, but the Fiat 500X is not a good choice for a subcompact SUV. The best aspects of the 500X are its adorable exterior and upscale cabin, other than that, there isn’t much to this vehicle. The passenger space and cargo room are lacking, even for a subcompact. It also has a noisy cabin and inadequate acceleration. On top of all this, the 500X is expensive and it has a low predicted reliability rating. All this to say, there are better options out there. For cutesy styling and satisfying performance, you are better off choosing the Mini Cooper Countryman instead.
What makes the 2020 Mini Countryman a great subcompact SUV?
The Mini lineup’s main appeal has always been its fun styling inside and out. With the Mini Countryman, you get a pleasant ride that’s surprisingly agile. Additionally, this model is also more practical than the traditional Mini thanks to its convenient crossover body style. It also has a high predicted reliability rating and roomy interior, especially compared to the 500X.
Robust performance options
You might be surprised to know that the 2020 Mini Countryman has a variety of different powertrains. The base model comes with a 134-hp turbocharged three-cylinder engine which we have to admit feels far too sluggish. Because of this, the 2-liter turbo engine and the eight-speed automatic combination on the next level up is a more gratifying choice.
There’s also a hybrid version of the Countryman. The Countryman hybrid is the speediest option, but that comes at a much higher price. For the most power, you’ll want to go with John Cooper Works performance model that generates a 301-horsepower.
Inside the Countryman
The Countryman is the biggest Mini you can get. It can carry up to five people and there’s actually lots of headspace and legroom. The seats are on the firmer side, but overall they are comfortable and accommodating. Faux leather comes standard and you have the option to customize your Mini with genuine leather or sports bucket seats.
Aside from the interior materials, the infotainment system is another customizable element of the Countryman. It comes standard with basic features including Bluetooth connectivity and a 6.5-inch display screen. Nothing really comes as a bargain on the Countryman, so for more desirable infotainment features you will have to opt for the Technology package, which includes an 8.8.-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay connectivity, and a navigation feature.
Mini added some standard safety features to the Countryman which now includes forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control. More notably, the Countryman earned high safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The model still hasn’t been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Selecting the right trim
The Countryman starts at $28,900. As we discussed early, the base model has an underwhelming engine so it is worth going up to at least the mid-tier Cooper S version for the livelier turbo engine. It’s also worth selecting the S version for sports seats, the panoramic sunroof, as well as parking sensors. The S version of the Countryman offers the most practicality and fun.