2017 Mini Countryman Cooper D Review
Alex Rae’s 2017 Mini Countryman Cooper D Review with pricing, spec, performance, ride and handling, safety, verdict and score.
In a nutshell: The D rounds out the Countryman lineup well but doesn’t stand out compared to some of its offerings.
2017 Mini Countryman Cooper D
PRICE From $44,500+ORC WARRANTY 3 years/unlimited km ENGINE 2.0L turbocharged diesel four-cylinder POWER/TORQUE 110kW/330Nm TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic DRIVE front-wheel drive DIMENSIONS 4299 (L), 1822mm (W EXC MIRRORS), 1557mm (H) SPARE space saver KERB WEIGHT 1430kg SEATS 5 FUEL TANK 51 litres THIRST 4.8 L/100km combined cycle FUEL diesel
MINI’S COUNTRYMAN bolsters the brand’s small-car lineup with a fun SUV offering that is packed with good tech, drivelines and real-world practicality (not something you could say about this car’s predecessors). No gimmick, the Mini Countryman is a solid SUV that, in our past reviews of the range, provides reason to put it on your shortlist. The D is the range’s entry diesel and loses some of the standard equipment and shove the SD variant has. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t as good a performer for a family if you aren’t looking for something with an overtly sporty attitude.
What is the Mini Countryman Cooper D?
Quite simply, the Countryman is a big Mini aimed at the ‘adventurous’ set, so, it has increased ground clearance, and more cabin and boot space.
Styling hasn’t deviated far from the contemporary Mini design cues so it looks like a Mini but feels like a biggie. Sorry.
Priced from $44,500 (+ORC) the Countryman D will save you $8000 over the top-spec Countryman SD, but it misses out on all-wheel drive (menaing it’s front-wheel drive only), has 30kW/70Nm less and some extra equipment, although, of course, this is a Mini so that can be optioned. Rivals include, the Audi Q2, Mercedes-Benz GLA and even parent-company BMW’s X1.
Standard equipment on the Countryman D includes 18-inch alloys, keyless entry, powered tailgate, automatic lights and wipers, 6.5-inch infotainment with sat nav and cloth and leather interior trim. It also gets AEB, front collision warning and front and rear parking sensors.
What’s the interior of the Mini Countryman Cooper D like?
The latest Mini has matured in styling and ergonomics from its predecessor and, inside the cabin is a nice place, although some of the styling is likely to polarise opinion. Best to see it in person rather than images, if you are interested.
The manually adjustable seats sit high and enhance the feeling of ride height, but it would be nice if they could drop a little lower for taller drivers. There’s a good range of adjustment available and the steering wheel can be moved to accommodate most.
The retro-classic design of the outside continues inside, with the large circular speedometer and toggle switches which they are a nod to Mini’s heritage. The cost-option 8.8-inch infotainment screen (6.5-inch standard) in our test vehicle was bright and vibrant, and adds a premium touch over the previous unit. It doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but does get DAB+, satellite navigation and Bluetooth for phone calls and audio streaming. The unit is controlled via either touch or a controller mounted down near the transmission, which is similar to the rotary dial in BMWs. It works well.
The Countryman proves its worth as a family oriented SUV in the second row, where there’s enough room for an adult to sit comfortably and a rear-facing baby seat fits well too without compromising passenger space in the front. There’s a good amount of headspace and the 40:20:40 split-fold seats slide (130mm) while the seat backs can be reclined.
Around the back the boot has grown the most, and it now offers 450 litres compared to the tight 350 litres before. It’s bigger than some small-medium SUVs (like the Mazda CX-5) and it is also functional, with hooks, straps and nets to harness loose items as standard.
What’s the Mini Countryman Cooper D like on the road?
The Cooper D feels a little lethargic compared to the hotter SD, but it’s no surprise given it’s 30kW and 70Nm less powerful. But the 110kW and 330Nm it does have manages to move things along and, along with the frugality of being diesel, is a good engine choice for those who aren’t looking for something more sporty. The petrol equivalent feels more nimble, but it also feels like it’s working harder most of the time too, so the diesel will be a good pick if you’re a long-drive sort of person.
The D misses out on the all-wheel drive of the All4 Countrman models and the only gripe here is a slight hint of torque steer which can only be felt when accelerating hard away from a standing start. On gravel and unsealed roads the Countryman remains well-planted and confident, and will be able to clear some small obstacles thanks to a 165mm ground clearance.
Overall, the engine and driveline is efficient and practical. We managed to hit an average fuel consumption in the low 5.0L/100km throughout the week which is close to Mini’s claimed 4.8L/100km. The eight-speed automatic transmission is just as solid as the engine and doesn’t lag to engage. Three drive modes are available – eco, normal and sport – and each adjusts things like the throttle response, gear change points and steering weight. Sport mode sharpens up everything the most, although the steering isn’t as natural feeling with the added artificial weight. However the individual settings for each mode can be customised to the driver’s liking.
A fun feature to fiddle with is an efficiency challenge located within the settings. It awards stars for driving with a light foot (low throttle input and coasting where possible) – surprsingly more than a gimmick it was good fun and a real challenge.
Most importantly for a small family, the ride is comfortable and has very good compliance. From the city to the highway the Countryman is stable but not firm and NVH is good. It’s one of the better performing SUVs in its segment in terms of ride and handling, and matched with a solid engine there was no time that the D felt as though it lacked refinement.
What about the Mini Countryman Cooper D’s safety features?
The Mini Cooper Countryman has been awarded a 5-star ANCAP rating, tested 2017. Standard safety features the Countryman D has is lane departure warning, parking sensors and AEB. Extra safety features such as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function can be optioned.
So, what do we think about the Mini Countryman Cooper D?
The Cooper Countryman D provides everything we like about the mid-size SUVs practicality but also gives a cost cut over the $50k+ SD. However it does miss out on that cars better handling dynamics and more powerful engine. But if that isn’t a bother, and you don’t want a petrol engine, the D is a solid choice.