Mini’s biggest model, the versatile Countryman, retains the brand’s fun-to-drive character without compromising on passenger space. It blends premium touches with the carmaker’s traditional irreverence.

Our Cooper S was zippy due to the combination of its 189-hp engine and quick-shifting eight-speed transmission. Although the Mini hesitates slightly when starting from a full stop, power builds quickly. And the 25 mpg overall fuel economy, on premium gas, is similar to chief competitors.

Like the smaller Minis, the Countryman willingly dives into corners, putting a smile on the driver’s face. It also has a firm ride but enough wind, road, and engine noise that it might bother some drivers.

The infotainment system requires time to learn. Power-adjustable front seats provide plenty of support, and the extendable thigh cushion helps those with longer legs. Passengers will appreciate the plush cushioning of the rear seats as well as the ample head, leg, and foot room. Cargo space is modest with the rear seats up.

Mini requires the purchase of specific—and expensive—option packages to get automatic emergency braking, and buyers will probably have to special-order a car thus equipped.

Based on Mini’s recent brand history, reliability is projected to be below average, which hurts the Countryman’s Overall Score.

Read the complete Mini Cooper Countryman road test.

2017 Mini Cooper Countryman

HIGHS: Handling, braking, powertrain, seat comfort, fit and finish, character
LOWS: Ride, noise, some controls, hard to find models on dealer lots equipped with optional electronic safety features
POWERTRAIN: 189-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine; 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 25 mpg

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the August 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.