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2020 MINI Cooper Countryman

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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Brian León Brian León Contributing Writer
July 22, 2020

Buying tip

With active safety features and LED headlights now standard for 2020, spend as little on a well-equipped Countryman Cooper S as possible.

features & specs

Cooper ALL4
Cooper FWD
Cooper S ALL4
MPG
24 city / 33 hwy
MPG
26 city / 33 hwy
MPG
23 city / 31 hwy
MSRP
$30,400
MSRP
$28,400
MSRP
$33,900

The 2020 Mini Countryman packs British charm and driving fun in a high-quality package that’s priced like a true luxury crossover SUV.

The 2020 Mini Countryman injects the British brand’s DNA into a more useful (and popular) crossover SUV body style. With excellent quality and a fun-loving nature, we give it 6.2 out of 10 overall, though the base powertrain is inadequate, and prices climb way too high, way too fast. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

For 2020, the John Cooper Works Countryman gets a new 301-horsepower turbo-4 that finally makes a power output worthy of its price tag, and the plug-in hybrid Cooper S E Countryman gets a battery capacity bump that improves all-electric range from 12 to 16 miles. A turbo-3 is standard, but while fun to push hard in the smaller Hardtop model, it’s overworked in this larger crossover. Choose the Countryman Cooper S instead, with 189 hp from a turbo-4 that provides plenty of push. 

Cooper and Cooper S Countryman models get standard automatic transmissions, and LED headlights and fog lights now come standard on the Cooper S.

Review continues below

While it was met with initial skepticism, the Countryman has grown into its skin over the years, shoehorning Mini charm into a bigger package with style. The interior is BMW-grade, and deftly walks the line between kitschy and classy.

Unlike the 2-Door hatchback from which it’s derived spiritually, the Countryman offers ample space for people and stuff, comfortably hauling four adults and a decent amount of cargo in its boxy body. Trim levels have been simplified to Classic, Signature, and Iconic, with more options included as a package deal than a-la-carte as has been Mini’s style in the past. Quality is predictably great, with parent company BMW’s backing.

While no federal crash test data exists, the IIHS has given the Countryman “Good” scores all around in the past, and active safety features like automatic emergency braking are now standard for 2020. At around 27-29 combined mpg, the Countryman isn’t a fuel miser, but it’s better than some other subcompact luxury crossovers.

7

2020 MINI Cooper Countryman

Styling

The 2020 Mini Countryman blends quirkiness and style in a way only Mini can.

The 2020 Mini Countryman is bigger and more bloated than the original Mini, but retains the cute cosmopolitan charm. We give it 7 out of 10 here, with special consideration for the fun, high-quality interior design.

While the original Countryman was met with a warranted amount of head-scratching, the second generation has stuck to its guns and delivered a fun-looking SUV with the right blend of style and kitsch. The rounded headlights and catfish-like front end are curious, but a tall roof line available in contrasting colors and long taillights help round out the design, pun intended.

The interior is similarly charming, with the round center stack from the smaller hatchback surrounding a wide infotainment screen. The cabin is adorned with toggle switches and high-quality materials, making for a more interesting experience than nearly any other subcompact luxury crossover.

In high-trim guises, it looks downright luxurious thanks to fine leather with diamond stitching, available wood trim, and other premium touches.

Review continues below

6

2020 MINI Cooper Countryman

Performance

The 2020 Mini Countryman finally gets a power boost at the top end to back up its luxury-like asking price.

The 2020 Mini Countryman is a fun and peppy crossover SUV, but only in certain forms. For 2020, it gets a massive power boost for its performance model, and a battery capacity boost for the plug-in hybrid, warranting 6 out of 10.

In base form, the Cooper Countryman uses the same 1.5-liter turbo-3 from the 2-Door Hardtop, and while peppy in the smaller car, it’s overworked here. Just 134 hp isn’t enough to motivate the 3,500-pound crossover with any urgency, so most buyers are best off opting for the more expensive Cooper S with its 189-hp turbo-4.

All-wheel-drive is available for $1,500 to $2,000 over front-wheel-drive models, and a 7-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Cooper S ALL4 and John Cooper Works models come with an 8-speed automatic. 

The John Cooper Works model is geared for performance with stiffer adaptive suspension and a raucous exhaust, and for 2020 it gets some “go” to finally back up its “show.” The 2020 JCW has been improved from 228 hp to 301 hp, a bump worth the very steep $38,750 asking price. While the automatic transmission is on the sluggish side, standard all-wheel drive and playful driving dynamics make this one of the most fun SUVs hands down, and that’s before we’ve driven the more powerful model.

A plug-in hybrid Cooper S E Countryman adds a battery pack to the base engine for 221 combined horsepower and gets a capacity boost for 2020. This improves all-electric driving range to 16 miles, which isn’t very much at all. At just 27 mpg combined when the battery is depleted, this is one plug-in that doesn’t seem worth the steep $37,700 cost of entry.

Ride quality is tight but comfortable throughout the range with standard 17-inch wheels, though bigger 18- or 19-inch wheels really emphasize road imperfections and can verge on shaky and uncomfortable.

Review continues below

7

2020 MINI Cooper Countryman

Comfort & Quality

The 2020 Mini Countryman is practical for a small SUV and very high-quality, but priced like it.

The 2020 Mini Countryman is a Mini without the compromise that most would expect. With plenty of room for four adults and good cargo space, we give it 7 out of 10.

Based on the BMW X1, the Countryman makes the most of its competent platform by providing comfortable seats with plenty of space in the front and rear. A tall roof provides impressive head room, and with 17.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, the Countryman is more practical than one would expect. That figure grows by 30 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded flat, and the plug-in hybrid’s batteries don’t eat into that cargo room.

Material quality is predictably excellent with BMW as a parent company and can be a bona fide luxury vehicle with options like fine leather with diamond stitching and real metal trim. Expect to shell out top dollar for this quality though, as the Countryman is priced like a luxury crossover despite its humble origins.

Review continues below

2020 MINI Cooper Countryman

Safety

The 2020 Mini Countryman doesn’t have full crash test data, and while now standard, its active safety features are questionable.

The 2020 Mini Countryman lacks complete safety data so we’re unable to give it a score here.

What data does exist is encouraging enough, however, with the IIHS giving the Countryman “Good” scores for everything but its headlights when it was redesigned for 2017. For 2020, the Countryman also gets active safety features like automatic emergency braking as standard, helping improve its questionable value proposition. That system is said by the IIHS to be sub-par however, as it only reduced the speed of impact by 7 mph in both low- and high-speed tests.

Other active features like parking assist, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control are extra on higher trims, but at least the basics are standard now. Cooper S models also get LED headlights and fog lights as standard but given their “Marginal” score from the IIHS, we’re not sure they make much of a difference over the base halogens.

Review continues below
7

2020 MINI Cooper Countryman

Features

The 2020 Mini Countryman gets very expensive very fast, and the model you want is at least $35,000.

The 2020 Mini Countryman is a luxury subcompact crossover SUV in everything but its badge and has a price to prove it. We give it 7 out of 10 for the wide variety of options

In base Classic trim, the Countryman gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, a dual-panel sunroof, synthetic leather upholstery, and a few more options for nearly $28,000. Any color other than gray costs $500 or more though, and only four colors are available on this trim. The 2020 version includes a 7-speed automatic transmission, heated seats, automatic climate control, automatic emergency braking, and LED headlights and fog lights, but only on the Cooper S model.

The Signature trim adds 18-inch wheels, parking sensors, and more paint options, as well as the choice for a bigger 8.8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, heated leather seats, and a convenience package among other packages available. 

The top-tier Iconic trim includes more color and 19-inch wheel options as well as nearly every option in the book including Harman Kardon sound, a head-up display, and more, but costs a full $8,000 more than the base Classic.

At the top end, the John Cooper Works model gets a boost of over 70 horsepower for 2020 and comes with all-wheel drive as standard. It also includes performance suspension and 18-inch JCW wheels, as well as sport seats, but at over $42,000 to start and more than $50,000 fully loaded, its value is extremely questionable. At least it has 301 horsepower this year.

If you view the Countryman as a much more fun BMW X1, it starts to make a lot more sense. We wonder how many people see it this way, however.

Review continues below

4

2020 MINI Cooper Countryman

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Mini Countryman is only middle-of-the-road in terms of efficiency, even its plug-in hybrid model.

The 2020 Mini Countryman gets average fuel economy, even with its pricey plug-in hybrid model. We give it a 4 out of 10 here as such.

While the plug-in Countryman does feature a larger battery this year, it still manages only 16 miles of all-electric range on a full charge and gets only 27 mpg combined when that battery is depleted.

The base Countryman with its turbo-3 fares well, managing 26 mpg city, 33 highway, 29 combined, but with its low power output and need for premium fuel, its value proposition is negated. Adding all-wheel drive to this powertrain drops figures to 24/33/27 mpg.

The Cooper S engine doesn’t represent much of a penalty, and adds over 50 more horsepower for mileage figures of 24/33/28 mpg.

Review continues below
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$28,400
MSRP based on Cooper FWD
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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 4
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