When MINI first ventured out from its iconic hatchbacks to create the Countryman in 2010, this premium small crossover segment hadn’t even hit its stride, but today, this segment is cluttered with luxury badged CUVs like the INFINITI QX30, Range Rover Evoque, Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3. Looking to keep ahead of the ever-growing competition, the all-new 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S brings a unique level of styling and sportiness to this exciting segment.
Billed as the “biggest, most adventurous MINI yet,” the 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman might be a bit contradictory, and while it has grown considerably in size, it is still the same oversized go-kart we’ve come to love. To see how the bigger and better crossover stacks up against the plethora of competition, we spent a week in the sporty 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4.
2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4 Exterior:
Although the 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman is all new, it takes a sharp eye to tell the 2017 apart from the previous model. Hidden in these familiar lines is a Countryman that has a wheelbase that has been stretched by almost three inches and an overall length that is about eight inches longer depending on the trim level. While being larger than its predecessor in every respect, the 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman is still a small crossover with it being 4.1 inches shorter than a Mercedes-Benz GLA and almost 11 inches shorter than a Honda HR-V subcompact SUV.
Despite its larger size and dimensions, the new Countryman has a similar cuteness that the MINI Cooper brought to the U.S. 15 years ago from the chrome-trimmed LED headlights to the rectangular taillights. For a more rugged look, the Countryman has dark cladding around the lower edges of the body and around the wheel openings, and this tester was finished in Island Blue Metallic with optional black roof and mirror caps.
2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4 Interior:
As nice as the interior was on the 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman we tested back in September, this Countryman’s cabin leaves no doubt that MINI skews toward the luxury end of the market. As you approach the Countryman, you already get an upscale welcome with the “MINI” puddle light that illuminates on the ground near the doors, but this model’s highlight was its ultra-stylish Chesterfield leather interior. This $1,750 option added in a dark tan leather with diamond-shaped stitching on the seat bottom and backs as well as blue accent stitching on the side bolsters.
MINI is known for its quirkiness, and that shows through on the layout of the interior. The oversized, circular center display housing is a throwback to the previous Countryman’s center-mounted speedometer, but fortunately, the new design has the speedo more conventionally placed behind the steering wheel. After the leather seats, my favorite part of the interior was the abundance of toggle switches including the bright red switch for the ignition. This Countryman had the optional $2,250 Technology Package, which added on a head-up display and navigation, but features such as the dual-panel panoramic sunroof and ambient cabin lighting were standard.
The biggest improvement made to the interior of the 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman is overall size. Thanks to the increased exterior dimensions, the cabin was able to add about four more inches of rear legroom and about an inch more rear headroom compared to the previous model. Cargo capacity also increased to 17.6 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 47.6 cubic feet with the seats folded flat.
2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4 Powertrain:
No matter which MINI you choose, you’re sure to have a fun time, but the “S” badged models are a perfect balance between bone stock and the sportiest John Cooper Works-tuned models. When it comes to the 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S, it is powered by a 2.0-liter direct-injected, twin-turbo four-cylinder rated at 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, which is a big upgrade over the 134-hp, 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine of the Countryman that we tested a couple months back. Even better, the Countryman S is one car that doesn’t make you feel guilty for not choosing the manual transmission. Standard equipment on the 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S is a six-speed manual gearbox, but this tester had the optional ($1,500) eight-speed Steptronic automatic for slightly better acceleration and fuel economy.
Weighing in at 3,671 pounds, the Countryman S ALL4 definitely feels more like a crossover than a standard MINI Cooper, but this is still about as much fun as you’re going to have in this segment. With a 0-60 time of 7.0 seconds, the S ALL4 is 0.2 seconds faster than front-drive Countryman S and 2.5 seconds quicker than the standard Countryman ALL4. Even with that performance, it’s still very efficient with EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway**.
2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4 Safety:
While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to test the new 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman, this family-sized MINI has already received a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Standard safety features include eight airbags, backup camera, Park Distance Control sensors and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4 Overall:
The Countryman is currently the best-selling MINI in the U.S. (accounting for almost a third of the brand’s sales), and it isn’t hard to see why after spending a week with the new 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4. This crossover has the interior space that is demanded from the segment, and it adds in the unique flair for which MINI is known. The Countryman was MINI’s first-ever model that had four full doors and offered all-wheel drive, but more importantly it helped form what is now the red-hot small luxury crossover segment. MINI’s biggest advantage in this segment is its pricing where the 2017 Countryman’s starting price of $26,600* makes it the lowest-priced luxury CUV, and even this well-equipped 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman S ALL4 still had a great price with an as-tested $38,450.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation MINI dealership and test drive the 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.