The MINI brand is strange and occupies a sort of rarified air within the car world. It made some of the most iconic and recognizable racing cars of all time. The brand was reborn years later as a luxury “lifestyle” brand. After years of doing that, Mini makes an SUV, the Mini Cooper Countryman. This thing should be a disaster from start to finish, but it isn’t. It’s the opposite. Consumer Reports named the 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman the best entry-level luxury SUV. If you haven’t before, you should start considering buying a 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman.
Is the 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman a good car?
Full disclosure: I drive a Mini Cooper Countryman. I am biased, and I love it. However, that doesn’t mean that the Countryman isn’t still objectively a great car.
Consumer Reports liking the 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman was a shock to me. CR tends to prefer soft, efficient, and reliable cars. My experience driving Minis has shown me none of those attributes. Minis are stiff, surprisingly sporty, and fussy. I know why I like them, but why did Consumer Reports rank the Mini Countryman first?
The recommended Countryman S makes 189 hp from Mini’s turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. It can come in either front-wheel drive or the up-ticket all-wheel drive. And although it’s technically an SUV (sort of), it is still a very sporty and engaging car. Even the big Mini is nimble, like, actually a flat-cornering car that, when driven properly, can actually be quick. The steering is tight and provides back beautiful feedback, even if the suspension feels more like steel rebar than springs.
More than any of these rad aspects, the Mini Cooper Countryman can seat five surprisingly well and sports a decent trunk. Even though it’s the biggest Mini by a long shot, the Countryman still gets 25 mpg. That fuel economy paired with its size and performance is a hard combo to beat.
What is the worse part of the Mini Cooper Countryman?
While CR loved the driving profile, stiffness is the defining characteristic of the Mini Cooper Countryman. This is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, all that spin-shattering stiffness is part of why Minis are so stinking fun to drive. On the other hand, that is also why I fear breaking wheels daily while navigating the potholes of Manhattan.
Is the 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman reliable?
For the first time in the history of the Mini brand, we can say that the newest Mini Countryman landed a perfect score for predicted reliability. This is a relief for any Mini lovers. My 2015 Mini has certain temperaments that sometimes make ownership a bit frustrating. But now that Mini has seemingly gotten its house in order, there is no excuse not to buy a 2022 Mini Cooper Countryman.
I don’t tell folks so directly to buy cars often. In fact, the Ford Focus RS, Golf GTI, and the Mini are some of the few models that are just so much more fun than I think we give them credit for. The Mini Countryman requires the smallest amount of sacrifice than the rest of the Mini line.
The Mini Cooper is a bucket of fun but not big enough to really live with daily. The classic Coopers are sports cars, full stop. The Mini Cooper Countryman keeps most of the sportiness, but what it lacks in sportiness, it makes up for a real amount of space to fit humans inside the car.
There are few cars as fun and practical as the Mini Cooper Countryman. I hope you consider one in the future, dear reader.