Although the Countryman -- the biggest Mini yet -- is designed to compete with compact premium SUVs, it still embodies Mini's trademark character. That uniqueness extends beyond the car's physical shape to the brand's cheerful, irreverent demeanor as well as the fun-to-drive nature of the car.
The main engine offerings for the Countryman are a 134-hp, 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder in the base Cooper or, in the Cooper S, a 189-hp, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. We opted for the latter in our Cooper S Countryman All4, which is Mini-speak for its all-wheel-drive version. This makes it comparable with models such as the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, and BMW X1 -- which shares a platform with the Countryman (Mini is owned by BMW).
On the road, the Countryman proves agile thanks to its quick steering and distinct exhaust sound, which combine to make the Mini fun to drive. At 3,600 pounds the Countryman may not be the go-kart its pint-sized hatchback brethren are, but it still corners with remarkable enthusiasm.