2024 Mini Countryman review: The most maxi Mini

Mini Countryman stretches the boundary of Issigonis's concept

Mini Countryman C Classic

There’s a lot not to like about the all new Mini Countryman, at least for traditionalists. First, it’s absolutely vast, the biggest Mini to date, an entire size category above its scarcely svelte predecessor. Second it’s not even built in Britain, but a BMW factory in Leipzig where other cars that share its platform, like the X1 and X2, are currently constructed. But what really got my goat? Not only is there no manual option, but if you want so much as a paddle to shift, you’ll have to pay extra for it.

Nor is there any saving grace on the open road: the heavily hybrid-assisted three-cylinder motor is reasonably characterful but saddled to the considerable mass of the car, delivers only mediocre performance. And thanks to overly assisted, feel-free steering, there’s zero incentive to chuck it along a fun road, which is a shame because you’d find the chassis nicely balanced if you did.

This is a Mini in name alone. The secret, then, is to stop thinking of it as one. Consider instead how it stacks up among all those other underachieving crossover cod-SUVs. And seen from that somewhat less-lofty standpoint, it stacks up very well indeed. Notable is both the quality and character of the interior, the suppleness of its ride and the quietness of its cabin on a long run. Despite the name, this is never a car with which to fall in love, but if it’s a jack-of-all-trades you really want this is one of the better knaves in the pack. AF

Mini Countryman C Classic

  • Price £29,340
  • Engine 1.5 litres, three cylinders, petrol, hybrid drive
  • Power 168bhp at 4700rpm
  • Torque 206lb ft
  • Weight 1620kg (DIN)
  • Transmission Seven-speed double clutch, front-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph 8.3sec
  • Top speed 131mph
  • Economy 47.1mpg (WLTP)
  • CO2 145g/km (WLTP)
  • Verdict Adept crossover, but no Mini.