My Mini Cooper S 2 door was in for its complimentary service and to replace a couple trim pieces over the weekend. Instead of getting a loaner 4 door Cooper, the dealer gave me an '18 Countryman All4 (AWD), with the base 1.5 cylinder turbo engine and about 9,000 miles on the odometer. Just a quick take:
Exterior - the styling is a bit bland, not horrible. Lotsa orange peel on the black paint, though.
Interior - roomy and comfortable for adults in front, and fine in back seat. This is a relatively tall car, and it feels that way inside. Hatchback is a nice size, and has a hidden compartment underneath. Base model interior is quite spartan and a little dreary, compared with my more optioned car. Decent stereo and very nice center instrument display. Two moonroofs.
Handling and powertrain - I had one pouring, rainy day with the car, and it was extremely surefooted, no matter what I did. Unlike the base model Cooper hardtop, the 3 cylinder turbo was a gutless wonder in this application, especially paired with the AWD and 8 speed automatic transmission in "normal" driving mode. It was a little reluctant to downshift more than a gear, and always wanted to upshift for maximum fuel economy, sort of lugging the car around; "sport" mode was slightly better this way, but definitely not sporty by any measurement...Rides fine, slightly firm but not punishing, not nearly as much road noise as my Cooper, and the brakes seemed good in normal driving.
Economy - In a mix of highway and back-roads driving, I got 32 mpg, running 89 octane gas. Not bad for a tall AWD car. In my Cooper S, I would have gotten about 5 mpg more, but you'd never put as many people or as much stuff in my car!
Overall - I'd never buy one for anywhere near sticker. Because it's not as much fun to drive and the styling/features aren't distinctive, I wouldn't buy one at all. It's not a bad car, but it's sort of "meh". If you told me it was a Subaru, Volkswagen, Hyundai, or a Kia, I'd probably have believed you, except for the badge. If you want one of these, definitely spring for the 4-cylinder 'S' model, unless you're intentionally trying to find a slow, safe car for a teenage driver.
'16 Mini Cooper S, 25k
'10 F150 4.6 3v, 115k
'13 Kawasaki STX-15f, 170 hr
'96 Sport Nautique 351 GT-40, 740 hr