Mini Cooper S Countryman Review 2022

MINI’s biggest model in the range, the Countryman, isn’t your typical crossover. While most cars in its class are positioned as a practical daily driver, the Countryman is so much more than that. It’s a stunning car to look at and be in, but how does it fare in the real world? 

For this review, we took it out into the city and out of town to the countryside where we felt that it belongs. Between highways and underdeveloped roads, here’s our take on the MINI Cooper S Countryman and whether or not it’s worth the price tag that it commands. 

4.1 / 5
2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Review
Performance
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling
4.5/5
Design
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics
5.0/5
Ride Comfort
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation
4.0/5
Safety and Technology
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features
3.5/5
Value for Money
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency
3.5/5
What You Will Like
  • Sharp handling
  • Surprisingly frugal engine performance
  • Extremely capable highway performance
  • Good looks inside and out
What You Won't Like
  • So-so button tactility
  • Bumpy ride
How We Do Our Reviews

The first thing that sets this car apart from almost any other crossover in the market is its styling. The 2022 revision introduced a lot of new changes and it essentially made its predecessor look old in a day. Paired with this Island Blue color, the car had us floored when it was delivered. Not only was it stunning, but it was still distinctly MINI in its design. 

This iteration is the most modern MINI to date. There’s hardly any chrome on here with painted surfaces instead of the old shiny bits that we’re used to in the previous iteration. We’re particularly fond of the DRLs that outline the projector LED headlamps. During our testing, we were amazed by the output of the fog lamps illuminating even the darkest of streets in the metro or out of it. The taillights can also get pretty bright, and it’s probably the most noticeable element in the rear thanks to the Union Jack pattern that’s molded into the housing and shines through thanks to some choice LEDs. 

For footwork, the wheels on this more adventurous MINI are on the larger side of things with 18-inch alloys wrapped in road tires. While these rims look great and even feature a two-tone design, we’ll get to why these weren’t exactly the best size later on in the review. Apart from that, it comes with an ample ground clearance of 165mm which is more than your average sedan, but not as high as most other crossovers of the same size. That being said, the Countryman delivers an impressive kit in an extremely attractive package that has a little adventure written all over it. It looks more like a posh road trip warrior more than anything, but it still retains that quirky city slicker vibe that all the other Cooper models sport. Frankly, the update still kept the MINI look which we love, and we found it hard to complain about the design from an aesthetic standpoint. If there was one thing that we’d nitpick about, it would be with regard to the wing-mounted side mirrors. While they look fantastic, it’s relatively hard to use because the mirror’s surface area is quite small in comparison to most cars. Still, it got the job done. 

MINI isn’t known for boring interiors, and that rings true here. Whenever you get into the cockpit of a MINI, try and count the number of square corners while looking at the dashboard. Perhaps you will find a few, but almost everything in the dash is rounded off and in a shape that is exceedingly pleasing to the eye. New for 2022 is a TFT gauge cluster, and even that got its corners shaved off to better match the round shape that most of the interior has. 

Ambient lighting is also another premium feature for the Countryman and MINI has done well to create a fun atmosphere for the driver and passengers. The center stack lights up around the infotainment screen depending on what driving mode you’re in. To add to that, there is also a tachometer-based lighting mode that illuminates the ring depending on your engine speed. While it’s more than a gimmick than a functional feature, it sure is fun to see. Of course, you can change the color of your ambient lighting system which would explain why we still found the Countryman’s interior fun to be in even if it was a black-on-black unit. 

As you can expect from a well-built car, every single touchpoint on the MINI was properly done with no creaks, rattles, and other imperfections that come up while you’re conducting a tactile inspection of the cabin. The seats were firm but supportive, which makes them prime real estate for your posterior on long drives or for quick and short bursts in the city. Visibility is also excellent from here, but you’re not given a super commanding presence on the road. You sit a ways lower than most other crossovers in the market so that’s one thing to consider. Also, on a more practical note, you get 450 liters of space in the rear with all five seats up, but you can boost that number up to 1,390 liters if you opt for only two passengers in the car. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman 18-inch wheels

Sitting in the Countryman was a breeze and so was getting into your preferred driving position. Ingress is quite easy thanks to the model having five doors, unlike the three-door Cooper hatches. You don’t have to fold any seats for your passengers to get in like some other MINI models since it is all just a matter of opening a door and getting in no matter if you are the driver or a passenger. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Rear Seats

Sitting as a passenger, you get ample space in the front and adequate space in the rear. It’s not Rolls-Royce levels of space, but it’s enough for you to sprawl out on the seat. The rear bench is also rather upright with minimal levels of recline, but just like the front, the rear bolsters are sufficient to give you support for a long ride. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Rear Passenger Legroom

NVH suppression was also amazing in the Countryman. Even the tires were nearly dead-quiet on the highway. Pair that with the sweet sounds from the radio and you have yourself a true highway-capable crossover. It’s a little bittersweet considering that the Countryman doesn’t too exceedingly well on country roads where the pavement is uneven. The chassis takes bumps rather hard. Perhaps the tires are too thin for Philippine roads, or perhaps the chassis is so sharp that it lets you feel everything. Either way, it’s a rather stiff ride over EDSA, but a very planted one over smooth pavement. 

MINI has equipped its Countryman with an expected amount of technology. What’s good about the Countryman’s kit is that it’s everything you need and nothing that you don’t at least with regard to it being a modern vehicle. All the seats are motorized for easy adjustment, the digital instrument cluster is nice and bright, and the LED headlights on top of that are adaptive and follow your driving line through a corner. Being “British,” it also has heated windscreen washer jets so whenever you go to flick the lever back for a jet of washer fluid, it comes out warm to potentially defrost your windshield. Climate control is also automatic and you also get the park assistant system with Park Distance Control along with a reverse camera for better visibility. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Center Console Buttons

What’s more impressive about this car is that it comes with a cruise control system that also has a braking function. It’s not a full-on adaptive feature, but it’ll be enough to keep you from rear-ending someone in front. Other than that, it gets eco, standard, and sport driving modes that can be selected with the novel toggle switches at the base of the center console. The driving experience is further enhanced by the heads-up display that is clear and bright in the day, and unobtrusive in the nighttime. Other tech features include a power tailgate, a wireless charging pad that’s small due to its clamping system, as well as USB-C charging ports. 

The center screen that comes is 8.8-inches in size can either be controlled by the touch screen interface or the “i-Drive” system that uses a knob. The fit and finish of the switch for the infotainment system left something to be desired. Several of the buttons below the infotainment screen lack proper feedback and feel. At first, we thought that MINI had installed some touch-sensitive buttons for the infotainment, but it turns out that we weren’t pressing hard enough to activate the switch. The same rings true for the control knob for the infotainment system. While the dials were adequate in terms of feel, the button actuation didn’t have a soft landing whenever you’d bottom out the switch. Actuating the buttons and the interface controls was a little difficult as you do need to be a little more deliberate with your inputs. There is a semi-satisfying click that communicates with your hand, but it doesn’t feel as premium as we would have liked. On top of that, it is missing an Android Auto interface, but it has Apple CarPlay and Wireless Apple CarPlay, so for those of you on the iOS platform, it’s a great deal. On top of that, MINI also has an application that you can play around with that lets you mess with the car’s settings and a few other things. The saving grace of the Countryman’s technology package was the inclusion of a Harman/Kardon sound system that had boasts good levels of clarity. Being a branded system, however, we were expecting a little more bass. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Steering Wheel

For its price, the Countryman is well-equipped with regard to safety. With a total of six airbags, ABS with EBD, parking sensors, stability control, traction control, a reverse camera, tire pressure monitoring, and ISOFIX tethers, it’s a decent package. We’d even venture to say that it is standard for its price range. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Exterior Front Quarter

Getting behind the wheel of the MINI came with a few expectations. The first was that the increased ride height would result in a noticeable amount of body roll, and a slight increase in comfort. Our expectations, however, were not met in some areas and exceeded in others. First off, there was little to no body roll in the corners, which made the MINI feel absolutely fun to drive. Lane changes were so sharp, and the steering is so quick that you’re turning into a bend before you know it. The handling is nearly telepathic and is augmented by the MINI’s superb chassis rigidity. We touched upon comfort and how it’s not the best car to take on a bumpy road, but the tradeoff is that it is one heck of a go-kart even if it is MINI’s crossover model. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Steering Wheel

Being a Cooper S model, the Countryman sports the brand’s Twin-Power Turbo 2.0-liter engine that punches out 192 hp and 280 Nm of torque mated to an 8-speed steptronic dual-clutch transmission. Shifts aren’t lightning quick but they are smooth and the gears mesh well together on either up or downshifts. Mini says that the car can do 224 km/h. We’ve been able to test this car’s upper ranges, and it’s safe to say that it is one of the more stable crossovers in the market that can be taken at speed. The engine is also quite spritely getting up to speed 

All-in-all, it’s a bit weird to see a crossover like the Countryman do exceedingly well on the highway. We expected that it would be the MINI that you’d take off the beaten path, but this wasn’t the case. In truth, the MINI excels best as a highway or mountain road carving machine, provided that the mountain roads in your area are paved. In the city, it doesn’t handle bumps and potholes that well and the ride is a bit sporty, which was a bit of a 180-degree turn with regard to our expectations. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman S Badge

We were pleasantly surprised after our economic and not-so-economic runs with the Countryman. In city traffic, without much traffic, we were able to get 12 km/L. In rush hour traffic, we were only able to get about 9 km/L, which is not particularly bad considering that it has a 2.0-liter engine with a turbocharger. The Countryman’s city figures are quite on par with naturally-aspirated 1.5-liter motors as well, which is a point in its favor. 

On the highway, we were able to net 20 km/L while going at 90 km/h. If you hit a bit of traffic, however, expect your figure to go down to about 14 km/L. All things considered, the MINI Countryman offers a very economic engine despite its size. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Cooper S Badge

Here’s the thing, while we do love how it looks and how it drives, there is a bit of a problem when it comes to what’s expected of a crossover, and what the MINI delivers. It’s not that it is a bad car, in fact, it’s a great MINI Cooper. However, as a crossover, the model fell a bit short of our expectations. You do get the practicality of a crossover along with the benefits of that added ride height, but you don’t get a comfortable ride. 

That’s the thing, though. For MINI fans, the sharp go-kart-like handling is characteristic of the brand, and to get a unit that feels like it’s on jelly springs is going to irate a lot of people. That being said, we might have approached this review on the wrong foot. We should have considered that it was a MINI first before it became a crossover. Lumping it together with the other crossovers in the market isn’t optimal as the MINI will lose out on comfort because of its amazing handling. 

2022 MINI Cooper S Countryman Headlights

However, the catch is that to get this level of driving fun in a crossover, you’d have to pay P3,750,000 for this Cooper S variant, which is not cheap by any means. It is a premium car, but all the plaid patterns in the interior can get quite expensive, as is the case with the countless number of Union Jacks all throughout the car. Is it of great value? Perhaps it is for the right buyer. For way less money, you can get a BMW X1 and that will offer you a very similar ride and about the same performance. The only catch is, will you be smiling behind the wheel of a BMW? No assurances, but perhaps the MINI is better at that even if it is a BMW underneath.  


Specifications

Engine

2.0 L

Fuel Type

Gasoline

Performance

192 hp @ 5,000 rpm

Transmission

Automatic

Summary

Name MINI Countryman Cooper S
Body Type Crossover
Price ₱3,750,000
Transmission Type Automatic

Engine

Performance

Economy & Environment

Dimensions

Safety & Security

Features

Technology

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