Vital Stats

Engine:
Turbo 1.6L I4
Power:
208 HP / 207 LB-FT (max)
Transmission:
6-Speed Manual
0-60 Time:
6.6 Seconds
Top Speed:
127 MPH
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
3,263 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
42.2 CU-FT (max)
MPG:
25 City / 31 HWY
Base Price:
$34,950
The standard Mini Countryman is a bit of an odd duck against the backdrop of 'normal' small crossovers like the Mazda CX-5 and the Ford Escape, but I sort of get it. Apply the same winning Mini formula to a CUV, and you get a smaller-than-average entry in the segment, one that is far more entertaining to drive than the norm, more stylish inside and out and pretty expensive when cross-shopped. That list of qualities doesn't appeal to all crossover shoppers, sure, but it intrigues a big enough list that the Countryman has reason for being.

Now, add the expensive John Cooper Works package to the Countryman's already niche goodies list, and Mini starts to lose me. So, I'm getting the softer suspended, taller, generally less dynamically joyful version of the brand's core values, but now you're charging me at least $35,000 ($13k more expensive than the basic, front-drive Cooper Countryman and $7k more than the MSRP of the Cooper S All4 version)? What's that? You're going to make it look like a garish, tippy-toed tuner car in the process? Take my money.

Or, actually, let me keep it. I can swing with a lot of the weirdness that Mini has to offer, but this car pushed me past my limit.

Driving Notes
  • Black stripe package ($500), black headlamp surrounds with Xenon lamps ($600), 19-inch wheels ($750), leather seats with red piping ($2,000), flat load floor in hatch ($250), chrome line interior ($250), tech package with navi ($2,250), premium pack with dual sunroof ($1,250), cold weather pack ($750). Sorry for the list; that's what it'll take to make your JCW Countryman ring up for almost $43k, as mine did.
  • One thing the John Cooper package does get you, is where you are going in a hurry. 6.6 seconds to 60 miles per hour feels more than sprightly from the high seating position of this car, and the torque jump up to 207 pound-feet (on overboost) is rather thrilling compared with the 177 lb-ft from the still quick Cooper S Countryman.
  • Huge 19-inch wheels wearing hard-as-nails run-flat rubber kill any of the ride quality the standard Countryman offers versus the rest of the Mini line. In the case of the JCW, though, the sturdier set of suspenders isn't enough to dial out a ton of roll through hard corners. With less comfort in a straight line and a still-tippy feeling in the bendy bits, this Countryman gets the worst of all worlds.
  • Direct steering with ample feedback is in the Mini DNA, and both are in evidence with the JCW CUV. The All4 all-wheel-drive setup seemed grippy enough during my mostly dry driving week, as well. Of course, the incoherent mix of hard springs and high ride height obliterated any desire I may have had to exploit the car's tactility and outright poise, so it hardly mattered.
  • Now with a bench seat in the rear quarters (the original Countryman had twin buckets and a rail-system center console), there is a lot of practicality baked into a small footprint here. The Countryman is still short enough to be wieldy around the city, while offering enough backseat space and cargo room to keep a young, hip, small family-type pretty comfortable.
  • The Countryman is a useful package, wherein you're always paying more than a 'standard' small CUV for added style and verve. The high cost and unsettling ride of the JCW adds make zero sense to me, however. This isn't a car you're going to autocross, or even want to drive hard on the proverbial canyon road. Sock that seven grand away into a college fund or put it into your Spec Miata if that's your thing, and stick with the more reasonable version of this biggest Mini.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      JustinJQ
      • 8 Months Ago
      Who in their right mind would pay that much for one of these?
        The Friendly Grizzly
        • 8 Months Ago
        @JustinJQ
        The same type who buys a 5-figure Rolex when a 3-figure Bulova or Whittenaur can do the same thing (tell you what time it is) and still look sharp. But the Bulova or Whittenaur does not provide bragging rights at parties like a Rolex does.
      Scooter
      • 8 Months Ago
      A fool and his money... Definitely not a $35-$43k car. Given its corporate family, the terrible value is no surprise.
      G_Rock
      • 8 Months Ago
      We paid $28k for my wife's Countryman S All4 with Mini Next (100k mi warranty) and all options but Nav. It provides a lot of fun and utility at that price. For $43k, I'm definitely looking elsewhere.
      Avinash Machado
      • 8 Months Ago
      Overpriced.
      knightrider_6
      • 8 Months Ago
      MINI is still around?
      Really
      • 8 Months Ago
      Talk about pricing yourself out of the market, except of course for the trust fund set!
      Hernan
      • 8 Months Ago
      Missed opportunity to make a road-going Mini WRC.
      Rochester
      • 8 Months Ago
      Save the $7K by just admitting this is not a "cool little CUV", and is already a mess.
      KM
      • 8 Months Ago
      who remembers Buck Rogers? I think the design folks at Mini got their inspiration for the gawd-awful dash based on Twiki - http://www.jeffbots.com/twiki3.jpg
        The Friendly Grizzly
        • 8 Months Ago
        @KM
        I'm a Flash Gordon man myself... On the subject of the Mini under discussion, this model is aimed at the buyer who also covets, or owns, a Rolex watch. One who knows the price of everything, but the VALUE of nothing.
      carnut0913
      • 8 Months Ago
      I had to laugh when the new Fusion came out and all the mags were questioning whether someone would pay $40K (39 and change) for a loaded Fusion AWD Titanium. I had just come from a Cars and Coffee where they had a Countryman for $40K. Comparing the two, The Fusion's pricetag wasnt the one I was questioning.
      ChaosphereIX
      • 8 Months Ago
      totally agreed, this thing makes absolutely no sense, as do all hot versions of CUVs. Get over it, Dad, you are driving a glorified baby stroller. Stop trying to compensate by putting more and more power and sporting pretensions [reminds me of the Windstar Sport heh] in it. It will STILL be a baby stroller. This version is just one of the ultimate monstrosities of this ridiculous trend.
        • 8 Months Ago
        @ChaosphereIX
        "Get over it, Dad." Just cracked me up. Kudos. -Seyth
      JeepinBen
      • 8 Months Ago
      So the Golf R will give you everything this does, plus a nicer interior and 50% more power, for about $35K. Why shop for the Mini?
    • Load More Comments