Used Mini Countryman
About the Mini Countryman
BMW's relentless pursuit of new niche markets for its MINI range made it inevitable that sooner or later it would enter the 4x4 crossover field. That happened in 2010 with the launch of the Countryman – longer, wider, taller and with 5 proper doors. 4 petrol and 3 diesel engines are on offer, ranging from the 89bhp diesel to the 216bhp turbo petrol in the John Cooper Works model. A 2.0-litre SD diesel was added to the range in March 2011. 6-speed manual gearboxes are standard with the option of an automatic also available.
The JCW – launched in 2012 – is the only one to have the ALL4 4-wheel drive system as standard, but it's optional on Cooper S, Cooper D and Cooper SD models. This automatically distributes power between the front and rear, depending on which wheels have the most grip.
Why you should buy a used MINI Countryman
As with other used MINIs, the Countryman is available in One, Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works trim. Standard equipment across the range includes air con and a CD audio system with various MP3 integration options. The top 2 models have a more aggressive look with a redesigned grille and different bumpers. Standard roof rails make it easy to attach a top box or roof rack.
An optional sport pack available from 2011 has exterior aerodynamic changes, dynamic traction control (DTC), 17-inch alloy wheels and interior changes, including part leather trim and JCW sill plates. Performance ranges from 0-62 in 12.7 seconds and 109mph in the petrol MINI One to 0-62 in 7 seconds for the JCW. The 1.6 Cooper D does the sprint in 10.2 seconds with a top speed of 112, the 2.0 SD manages 9.3 seconds and 123mph.
The MINI Countryman is aimed at people who like the SUV style but want a more competent on-road package. In this respect, it has little competition. Take into account its solid residual values, and the used MINI Countryman is an attractive buy.
What is it like to drive a used MINI Countryman?
Viewed against other small SUVs, the Countryman is one of the best dynamically. The steering is quick and the gearshift quality is light and positive. The JCW has a lowered ride to provide a sportier drive.
The basic 1.6 models provide competent performance. The SD is better but noisy, so if you want performance you need the Cooper S or JCW models. Whichever you choose, opting for the ALL4 4-wheel drive system takes the edge off the performance.
Inside, there are the usual MINI styling cues, with a big central speedo and the rev counter mounted ahead of the driver. A rail divides the front seats and you can attach sliding accessories to it – specify individual rear seats and this runs through to the back. The seat and steering have plenty of adjustment, so you can find a perfect driving position and a nice touch is that the rev counter moves with the wheel so you can't obscure it. In the back, there's lots of headroom and the standard bench seat has a 40:20:40 split backrest to provide flexibility for loading.