The 2018 Mini Cooper Countryman ALL4 is like nothing else on the road. The Mini Countryman is a joy to drive, and it’s a beautiful car with a comfortable, roomy interior, and a surprising amount of space.
To get a feel for the stylish, rugged new Mini Countryman, my family and I had the chance to drive to the Drake Devonshire Inn, and it was the perfect car for a road trip. The Mini also made me smile every time I saw it, and frankly, how often can you say that about your car, short of buying a sports coupe?
Driving out to the Drake Devonshire in Prince Edward County, the Mini made the trip fun and comfortable–all the way from the driving experience to the interior. The Sports Activity Vehicle may be smaller than the average SUV, but the front and backseat are roomy, with enough space in the trunk to pack for a family of four. I even packed in extra camera gear, and had room for two large suitcases with two duffel bags, a tripod, and a few random bags.
Here’s my rundown on the trip, the experience, the art at the Drake Devonshire, and the highlights of driving the Mini Cooper Countryman ALL4.
Drake Devonshire Inn & Prince Edward County
The Drake Devonshire Inn is a slice of rural paradise in the middle of the small town of Wellington, Ontario. The inn is a short drive from Toronto, and sits right beside Lake Ontario, and across from a number of trendy eateries. It’s a beautiful space, whether you want to take a walk, or sit down and read a book in the living room, but best of all, it has some of the best food at the incredible dining room and bar.
In the back yard, the hotel featured their 3rd annual outdoor exhibition, View Finder, which was sponsored by Mini and ran throughout the summer and into fall. Art in the space was created by a number of artists, including Micah Lexier, Gordon Monahan, Nadia Belerique, and Lili Huston-Herterich, to name a few. In the rural splendour of the Devonshire’s back yard, it was one of the most relaxing spaces I could imagine to enjoy a provocative mix of art.
For the warmer months, the Drake Devonshire Inn also has a deck with bleachers to enjoy the lake, and throughout the year they have their Glass Box games and events space, which can be used for special events, or just to play some ping pong.
What I appreciated most was that the Devonshire felt relaxing but lively. Because the restaurant is so good, and draws in guests and visitors alike, the Inn was active, but never rushed.
The rooms are at the inn are also cozy, well appointed, and we absolutely loved the loft suite, which includes two bedrooms and a sitting room. It’s the kind of space you want to take the time to stop and enjoy, and while one night there is great, a long weekend would be better. You won’t want to leave when it’s time to go home.
Mini Cooper Countryman ALL4
For our week with the Mini Countryman, we had the fully loaded model. That package means a more comfortable drive, a better sound system, and fun extras that just make the car feel like it’s got everything you could need.
That package includes automatic trunk, electric and heated front seats, panorama sun roof, LED adaptive headlights, Mini Connected XL control panel with with navigation, wireless phone charging and an 8.8″ touch screen, Harman Kardon sound system, the stylish white bonnet stripes, and one of the best little extras–a picnic fold-out bench in the trunk. The fold-out bench is a small extra, but it is basically a padded bar that folds out over the back of the trunk so you can sit and enjoy the scenery, or stop on a drive and enjoy a picnic lunch. It’s actually extras like this that made me love the Mini Cooper Countryman even more.
For families, I have to mention the back seat. My daughter’s car seat is a bit large, but it fit with more room to spare than we’ve seen in many entry-level SUVs, making it more comfortable for her, and anyone sitting beside her.
In the driver’s seat, I had room to spare, and I loved the extendable thigh cushion support, which is extra comfortable for those of us with longer legs. It made the drive to Prince Edward County feel that much more comfortable than your average car or SUV.
Looking at the dashboard, and the center console is also refreshing. The Mini just looks different, and it’s such a welcome change with its big, round dials and screens. Most vehicles all have dashboards that look relatively similar, but driving the Mini Cooper felt wholly different.
The Countryman also features three driving modes, so you can switch from the energy saving Green mode, to normal, or take control of the car’s full power in Sport mode. Green mode certainly was easy on gas, and ended up costing us about half of what we normally spend on a drive in an SUV. I can’t say completely how much more gas we used in Sport mode, but it was a lot of fun, and it was nice to see the power the car can pull in terms of all-wheel drive, and acceleration when you need it.
Overall, I adored my week in the Countryman, and even without the full package, the car is a great deal for the base $29,200. That gets you a great car, that looks amazing, and will keep you smiling. For a premium experience though, and coming in at just over $40,000, the fully loaded Countryman is a fantastic vehicle that suits a wide range of lifestyles, all in one of the most attractive packages on the road today.
Need another reason to love the Mini? BMW owns and operates Mini, and their attention to detail shows in every way.