Eric's Autos: Reviewing the 2018 Mini Countryman
Some reviewers snicker that the Mini Countryman isn't very mini. They're right and wrong at the same time.
Compared with the original Mini Cooper hatchback, the Countryman is enormous -- almost 2 feet longer and nearly half a foot taller. But it's still pretty mini compared with most compact-sized cars. As the largest of all Minis, it is about half a foot shorter end to end than something like a Mazda3 hatchback. And it's still uniquely cute, despite the growth spurt.
What It Is
The Countryman is the least mini Mini.
It's a five-door wagon that looks like a Mini scaled up by about 40 percent. It's longer, wider and taller. It has almost 8 inches more back-seat legroom and about twice as much cargo capacity behind its back seats.
Prices start at $26,600 for the base front-wheel-drive trim with a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission. A more powerful 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard in S trims, which start at $31,200.
An even more powerful version of the 2.0-liter engine -- along with suspension and brake enhancements, and different trim inside and out -- is available in the high-performance John Cooper Works, or JCW, version. It costs $37,800.
There is also a new hybrid version, which starts at $36,800.
In addition to the new hybrid, all versions of the 2018 Countryman get a few interior tweaks, including an updated gauge cluster and toggle controls.