Known for its unmistakably iconic styling and energetic dealing with, the quirky Mini model applies this blueprint to the Countryman. It shares its platform with the 10Best-winning BMW X1, which lends a refined journey and a spacious rear seat. Its retro exterior and funky inside are uniquely Mini, nevertheless, with a myriad of customized choices. But this cute ute isn’t merely stylish transit, due to a sprightly chassis, which will get the sport-tuned remedy on Cooper S variations. Available with front- or all-wheel drive, the lineup has a trio of turbocharged engines: a 134-hp inline-three, a 189-hp inline-four, and an all-new plug-in hybrid powertrain (221 horses mixed). Best of all, most nonhybrids have a regular six-speed guide transmission; six- or eight-speed automatics are non-compulsory. While Mini’s funkiness isn’t for the mainstream, the Countryman positively places the enjoyable in practical.

What’s New for 2018?

The firm provides its first ever plug-in hybrid (referred to as the Cooper S E Countryman All4) to the lineup for 2018. It has an EPA-estimated electric-only vary of 12 miles and represents the top-of-the-line mannequin; the high-performance John Cooper Works Countryman is reviewed individually. Other updates embrace the newly out there Apple CarPlay (Android Auto remains to be absent). The beforehand non-compulsory driver-attention monitor turns into customary, as does a backup digital camera. Inside, Mini has made gentle revisions to the gasoline gauge, the head-up show’s on/off management, and the drive-mode selector, which has been modified from a rotary adjustment on the base of the gearshift lever to a toggle change on the middle stack. Manual lumbar help is now not out there with sure upholstery mixtures. Oh, and the elastic strap on the left facet of the cargo space has been dropped from the Convenience bundle. Don’t cancel your order but—the right-side elastic strap remains to be included.

What Was New for 2017?

Although it could not have appeared very completely different from its predecessor, the brand new Countryman obtained a completely new chassis that’s shared with the wagonlike Mini Cooper Clubman and the BMW X1. The redesign elevated the Countryman’s size by 7.8 inches and wheelbase by 2.9 inches, which improved inside house and cargo quantity. For 2017, the Cooper’s customary 121-hp 1.6-liter inline-four was changed by a 134-hp turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-3, and a characteristic beforehand not supplied on the bottom mannequin—an all-wheel-drive system that Mini calls All4—turned non-compulsory. The sportier Cooper S additionally adopts a brand new, extra highly effective turbocharged inline-four (swapping the 181-hp 1.6-liter for a 189-hp 1.5-liter).

Trims and Options We’d Choose

The Countryman has one of many most cost-effective base costs on this phase, nevertheless it’s saddled with a wimpy 134-hp three-cylinder. We desire the extra highly effective and sportier Cooper S model, which begins at $32,050 (all-wheel drive provides $500; the eight-speed computerized is customary). The Cooper S E plug-in hybrid is far faster and extra environment friendly, nevertheless it prices about $38,000 earlier than choices. We assume the Cooper S Countryman All4 guide is the most suitable choice. Its customary options embrace 18-inch wheels, ambient lighting, heated entrance sport seats, a panoramic sunroof, passive entry, and rear parking sensors. And not like the front-wheel-drive Cooper S, it comes customary with a six-speed guide; the automated is a $1500 possibility. With a slew of non-compulsory packages and numerous customized equipment out there, the Countryman’s value can escalate rapidly. While the customized bits are finest left to the person’s whims, we’d add:

Technology bundle (8.8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, head-up show, parking help, and wi-fi charging) for $2250
• Convenience bundle (alarm system, folding cargo flooring, fold-down rear-seat armrest, additional 12-volt outlet) for $750
• Dynamic Damper Control (adaptive suspension) for $500
• Power liftgate ($500)

The last value of our all-wheel-drive Mini Cooper S Countryman is $36,550. That’s proper across the beginning costs of much less polarizing rivals corresponding to the BMW X1 and the Mercedes-Benz GLA-class. But those that search a extra trendy mode of transportation ought to think about the Mini.