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2023 Mini Countryman SE Review: A Last Dance Before the Revised Next Edition

2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV | Photo: K.Soltani
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Khatir Soltani
We drove the plug-in version before its scheduled renewal next year.

•    Auto123 reviews the 2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV.

The 2023 Mini Countryman stands out in the world of subcompact SUVs thanks to its unique face and character. This vehicle attracts attention not only with its design, but also with the way it moves. All the while remaining functional for transporting people and luggage.

Mini has already confirmed the model will undergo major changes next year for the 2025 model-year, so this was a last evaluation of a model reaching of its cycle. 

See also: Munich 2023: The Electric 2025 Mini Countryman Debuts

See also: 2025 Mini JCW Countryman: more power, less torque

The new 2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV
The new 2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV | Photo: K.Soltani

The ideal city companion
Its name notwithstanding, the Countryman is actually well suited to city life. Its slightly elevated driving position offers excellent visibility, an undeniable advantage on busy city streets. Its compact size makes it easy to park, and its chic allure doesn't look out of place in more upscale neighborhoods. The signature lighting, especially at night, adds to the model’s classic urban charm. 

Distinctive exterior styling
The Countryman's exterior features typical Mini details, starting with the British flag motif on the lights and the optional contrasting roof. The 2023 Untamed Edition adds special aesthetic touches, including metallic grey paint and 18-inch alloy wheels.

2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV, charging port
2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV, charging port | Photo: K.Soltani

Choice and flexibility
The Countryman is offered in several iterations, including a plug-in hybrid version, the SE ALL4 PHEV, capable of up to 27 km on battery power alone. Its four-wheel drive system makes it suitable for our climatic conditions.

Here's an overview of the different powertrains:

Cooper Countryman (MSRP $44,424)

  • - Engine: 1.5L three-cylinder turbo
  • - Horsepower: 134
  • - Torque: 162 lb-ft
  • - Transmission: 7-speed automatic
  • - Fuel consumption (city/highway): 10.2/8.1L/100 km (AWD)

Cooper Countryman S (MSRP $46,942)

  • - Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo
  • - Horsepower: 189
  • - Torque: 207 lb-ft
  • - Transmission: 7-speed automatic (FWD) or 8-speed (AWD)
  • - Fuel consumption (city/highway): 10.2/8.4L/100 km (AWD)

John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4 (MSRP $55,442)

  • - Engine: 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo
  • - Horsepower: 301
  • - Torque: 331 lb-ft
  • - Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • - Fuel consumption (city/highway): 10.2/8.1L/100 km

Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV (MSRP $57,732)

  • - Engine: Plug-in hybrid with 1.5L 3-cylinder turbo and electric motor
  • - Combined power: 221 hp
  • - Combined torque: 284 lb-ft
  • - Transmission: 6-speed automatic
  • - Range in electric mode: about 27 km
  • - Combined fuel consumption: about 3.0L/100 km in hybrid mode
Exterior design of 2023 Mini Countryman SE
Exterior design of 2023 Mini Countryman SE | Photo: K.Soltani

Driving the 2023 Mini Countryman SE

Just like you’d expect from a Mini, the Countryman offers a fun driving experience, thanks to its responsiveness and agility. We've driven several Countrymans and the driving pleasure is always there. The John Cooper Works engine offers plenty of power and feel, even if the suspension can sometimes feel too firm for Canadian roads. 

We spent almost a week driving the Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV version, which offers lively performance, particularly in town thanks to its responsiveness. Although not as agile and sporty as a John Cooper Works, it still offers a very positive driving experience.

The transition between electric and the gas engine is very smooth, contributing to a seamless driving experience. 

Interior of the 2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV
Interior of the 2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV | Photo: K.Soltani

The Countryman offers satisfactory ride comfort for its size. The elegant, well-constructed interior provides good insulation from the outside world. BMW's heritage is immediately apparent. In fact, the Countryman strikes a good balance between the playfulness of a classic Mini and the sophistication of a BMW... though a BMW from a previous generation, let’s say. 

We were impressed by the Countryman's interior, which is beautifully finished, spacious and functional, with a unique design and well-thought-out ergonomics. It's easy to picture a family of four using it on a daily basis. 

The Untamed finish in particular stands out with nature-inspired shades of green and blue, offering a striking yet understated atmosphere.

Although the Countryman offers standard technological equipment such as LED lights, navigation and wired Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, the model is beginning to feel the effect of age in terms of its safety features. Mini offers less than BMW.

We have to touch on the question of range, because this is clearly a weak point. Namely, how, in 2023, can you price a vehicle at over $57,000 with a range of 27 km? In hybrid mode, the energy economy is good, but there’s just not nearly enough pure electric mode. 

2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV, white
2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV, white | Photo: K.Soltani

The final word
Among the sub-compact SUVs on the market in Canada, the 2023 Mini Countryman continues to be an interesting choice (with that one caveat in the case of the PHEV version). The model offers a unique blend of style, functionality and driving pleasure. It's ideal for those looking for a vehicle that stands out from the crowd, while offering the practicality needed for everyday life.

We would ideally recommend the base version, which gives access to the Countryman model, or the explosive John Cooper Works, which remains one of my personal favourites, for the dynamism and thrills it delivers.

2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV, rear
2023 Mini Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV, rear | Photo: K.Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada