Mini Coopers have been around forever. They are living, breathing legends that we get to watch adapt to our modern world right before our eyes. Although the Mini Countryman has gotten mixed reviews. The Countryman has gone through a few changes already in its short life and has had some trouble deciding exactly what it is and where it should land in the market. Is it a sports car, or is it a tiny SUV/crossover? At times it can be hard to tell what Mini wants it to be. The Mini Countryman straddled that line perfectly with the 2019 Mini Countryman S All4.
Back when “standard shift” was standard
In 2020, as Mini continued packing features into the Countryman line, they decided to fully succumb to the trend of cutting its manual transmission for an auto dual-clutch job. The 2021 Mini Coopers will still have a manual as standard, but the hatchbacks will only have a manual transmission as an option, not standard. The 2019 Mini Countryman was the last 5-door Mini to have a manual as standard (well, sort of).
Let’s take a look at the Mini Countryman S All4
If you plan to stray from the original Mini cooper coupe layout, the only other way to go is the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive, 5-door version, the Mini Countryman S All4. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, it is.
The base model Countryman for the 2019 models has an eight-speed automatic, but I don’t recommend that model. It is a front-wheel drive, no turbo, and, as stated, automatic. Pass. The reason I say specifically the Countryman S All4 is because it has all the stuff a motoring enthusiast wants; a turbocharger, six-speed manual, and all-wheel drive. For that model, the automatic trans is an optional extra. Again, pass.
The Countryman is a true five-door hatchback that can actually carry people. No, the backseat and trunk aren’t massive, but they can actually fit adults and enough luggage to matter. The taller roofline allows for above-average-height drivers to sit without folding into a pretzel, even with its fairly tall driving position.
Although it’s never going to contend with any real off-roaders like a Jeep or 4Runner, or even some crossovers, the Mini has OK ground clearance for such a little guy. Never fear, some folks sell lift kits and more off-road appropriate wheels and tires for the Mini Countryman. Hell, the Mini Countryman has not only competed but won Dakar Rally events.
Mini Countryman S All4 Drivetrain
According to Car and Driver, the base Countryman has a 139-hp three-cylinder motor that frankly isn’t worth a damn. This motor simply doesn’t have the pep that it needs to zip the Mini the way a Mini Should zip.
The answer lies with the 189-hp turbocharged four-cylinder belonging to the Countryman S. That motor paired with the six-speed manual and all-wheel drive becomes something that harkens back to the golden days of the once British marque. The Countryman S All4 is a properly quick and nimble ride that still can function like a SUVish thing.
It is important to note, while the Mini Countryman is sporty, it isn’t a sports car. The suspension is firm, and it handles well with slightly cambered stance, but it is not nearly as light as nimble as the two-door Minis.
The Mini Countryman’s interior
For such a small car, the interior is undeniably spacious. Both drivers and passengers have far more room than it would seem from outside the car. Mini offers a super wide range of options and customizable packages for the interior, but the quality is nice across the board. The materials Mini uses feel sturdy and decent. The interior is covered in typical Mini quirky touches like giant circle gauges, unnecessary but fun toggle switches, secret compartments, and hidden programable features like changeable mood lighting.
One of the main features of the cabin is the full panoramic roof. The glass sun and moon roofs add an airiness to the space that cleverly adds to the feeling of more space than seems possible in a car so small.
Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of such a small car is the storage capacity is quite limited. A family of four will struggle to fit everyone’s luggage in the trunk area. Compared to some of the Mini’s competitors, it has less luggage space than similarly sized cars.
Safety features and drivers aid
Honestly, there’s not much going on in this category for the 2019 Mini Countryman S All4. It’s just not a very tech-heavy car. There are virtually no driver assistant features other than backup and camera and sensor. However, it did do quite well on the IIHS safety tests.
Drop your shoulders and relax, its a Mini
If Mini has nothing else going for it, its cars make people smile. They are goofy, fun to drive, and somehow, sort of practical. The Mini Countryman might catch a lot of flak from Mini purists, but it really doesn’t deserve it. Sure it a bumpy ride, not super well-equipped, and expensive, but you can hit the track and the dirt, and where I’m sitting, that means something.