The Mini Countryman Fixes the Cooper’s Biggest Problem but Creates Another

The Cooper is Mini’s most popular model, even inspiring the Mini Countryman subcompact SUV. And by creating the Countryman, Mini made a big improvement to the little car. The Countryman offers more space, both in the backseat and in the cargo area, something the Cooper lacks. Unfortunately, the fix creates another problem.

How the 2 models differ

The Mini Countryman debuted for the 2010 model year, and it had a pretty simple job. As the marque implies, Mini makes some small cars. The Cooper is a subcompact hatchback, while the larger Countryman is a subcompact crossover SUV. Their dimensions aren’t the only differences.

For example, though both models have had the same engine options throughout the years, the Countryman is the better vehicle for off-roading. That’s because it offers all-wheel drive, while the Cooper does not. On top of that, the Countryman comes with roof racks, useful for camping and off-roading, while the Cooper doesn’t have this feature.

Another difference is in their generations. The Cooper has had three generations so far, while the Countryman has had two. Mini also updates the two cars on a different schedule, as the Countryman’s current generation started in 2017, while the Cooper’s current generation started in 2013. Unsurprisingly, there’s a stark price difference, too. The Cooper starts at about $23,000, while the Countryman starts at about $29,000. 

The Mini Countryman creates a problem by fixing another

2023 Mini Countryman; Mini Cooper Countryman
2023 Mini Cooper SE Countryman All4 Untamed Edition | BMW of North America, LLC

Thanks to its larger size, the Countryman fixes the Cooper’s biggest problem: lack of space.

“This is the maxi-Mini: it has a big back seat and a goodly amount of cargo space, at least compared with the rest of its family,” Car and Driver reports.

Mini also gave the Countryman more space elsewhere, such as under the floor and inside storage compartments. 

However, its larger size creates a problem for the Countryman. It’s still using the Cooper’s engines but in a larger vehicle. In fact, both Mini models have the same standard engine, a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder making 134 hp. Optional engines provide more power, and they’re enough to make the Cooper a fun car to drive.

But that’s not the case with the Countryman because its larger size makes it less fun to drive.

According to Car and Driver, “What the Mini Countryman gains in size and practicality it gives up in terms of agility and quickness.”

Overview of the 2023 Mini Countryman

The 2023 Mini Countryman might not be that fun to drive, but it’s still practical. Its standard engine gets 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. However, buyers can opt for a plug-in hybrid version. The PHEV gets 73 MPGe and is the quickest non-JCW Countryman C/D has tested. But it isn’t cheap, starting at about $42,000.

The standard Countryman also comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, but if customers think that’s too small, they can upgrade to an 8.8-inch screen instead.

As for standard safety features, the 2023 Mini Countryman comes with automated emergency braking. However, it’s missing other driver assists that come standard on most modern cars. Consumers will have to spend extra to equip their Countryman with those extra safety features.

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