2024 MINI Countryman JCW Review

The 2024 MINI Countryman is here, providing more space at a lower price, but at the cost of performance. Should you buy the biggest MINI?

Matt Brand
Expert reviewer
Updated on
March 29, 2024
Saucey score


  • Innovative tech
  • Much more practical
  • Price has dropped


  • Not as fast as before
  • Most sounds are faked
  • Some practicality quirks
Car specs

233kW + 400Nm

$73,990 Before On-Road Costs



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The last generation MINI Countryman was true to the MINI philosophy – being one of the smallest SUVs in its segment.

For many, this was exactly what was needed, for others – this was a compromise that meant too little practicality.

Enter the 3rd generation of MINI Countryman, which is significantly larger in all metrics to the 2nd generation before it.

It also, interestingly, drops a few dollars – bucking the trend of growing prices.

But with a little bit more and significantly less torque, should you buy the new Countryman JCW?

How much does it cost?

I can’t believe I’m saying this but – the NEW Countryman is cheaper than the OLD one.

That can be put down to many things, but a big reason is the move to a ‘Vegan’ interior – goodbye leather and chrome.

Still, a price drop is a price drop, and today we’re testing the JCW Favoured trim which is now almost $2,000 cheaper than before.

That’s significant.

2024 MINI Countryman JCW Pricing

  • Countryman JCW Core – $67,990 (down $635)
  • Countryman JCW Classic – $70,990 (down $1264)
  • Countryman JCW Favoured – $73,990 (down $1956)

Note: prices do not include on-road costs.

What do you get with the Countryman JCW?

2024 MINI Countryman JCW - Core

  • 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
  • All-wheel drive
  • 19-inch Runway five-spoke wheels
  • JCW sport brakes
  • Adaptive suspension
  • Cruise control (non-adaptive)
  • Harmon/Kardon 12-speaker sound system
  • 9.4-inch round OLED infotainment touchscreen
  • Wired and wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Black synthetic leather upholstery
  • Sports seats
  • JCW steering wheel
  • Anthracite headliner
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Keyless entry
  • Parking assistant
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rear-view camera
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Head-up display
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Available colours: Nanuq White, Midnight Black II, Blazing Blue, Chilli Red II

Adds for Classic (over Core)

  • Heated front seats
  • 20-inch Flag five-spoke wheels
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • 360-degree camera
  • Automatic speed limit assist
  • Lane centring assist
  • Glass roof
  • Augmented reality navigation system
  • Semi-autonomous parking assist
  • Interior camera
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Stripes in Jet Black or Chili Red
  • Additional available colours: Melting Silver III, British Racing Green IV, Legend Grey

Adds for Favoured (over Classic)

  • JCW performance brakes (enhancement over JCW sport brakes)
  • Power-adjustable JCW sports seats with driver memory function
  • Active driver seat function
  • Sun protection glazing
  • Additional colour option: Smokey Green

What's the interior like?

The interior is arguably the biggest upgrade for the Countryman JCW.

Although some will miss the real leather you used to find in Countryman, the 100% animal free interior does still exudes a level far above its premium price tag.

The real star of the show is the 9.5” circular OLED display which is the really the centre of the entire experience.

Although it can be rather laggy (hopefully improved with software updates in future), the display has incredibly sharp graphics and is otherwise a pleasure to use.

The Countryman comes with Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for those who prefer smartphone mirroring.

The new centre display now takes the place of your instrument cluster, which is integrated into the display.

Although this isn’t always ideal, the heads-up display means that your speed readout is still available in front of the driver.

When changing the MINI Modes – aka Drive Modes – the display completely changes its skin, the interior ambient lighting changes, and so does the faux engine sound.

The overall design of the cabin is unique and frankly beautiful. The knitted dashboard is totally unique, with a chilli red detail that provide something very different in a world of the same.

The faux-leather steering wheel is a hefty design, being incredibly fat which is typical BMW group. The small, knitted tab connecting the centre to the wheel itself is a cool design element, and again – unique.

The seats are a sports unit covered in faux leather and again the knitted material. They provide great comfort over longer journeys, though don’t quite hold you in place as much as I’d like around corners.

The reality is however, most owners aren’t taking their MINI Countryman JCW to the track… so the comfort of the seats is certainly the priority.

Despite losing the option of real leather and also the chrome toggles of before, the interior still maintains much of its previous ‘MINI’ness. A highlight is the start/stop button, which is meant to mimic an original MINI through a turn-style switch in the centre.

Storage is plentiful, with a large glovebox, a little drawbox in the centre console, and plenty of open storage space in the centre.

What is a miss is that the centre-armrest doesn’t open… that seems strange to me, considering it’s quite a chunky unit.

In terms of charging, up-front you get two USB-C ports and a wireless charger.

Overall, the interior of the new MINI feels like a major step-up to before – despite losing out on the ‘premium’ materials of leather and chrome. The design is interesting, and more importantly unique – no copying here, but rather, sets a benchmark for others to inevitably copy.

What about the back seats?

Thanks to the larger size of the Countryman, the rear seats have really benefited from the extra space.

At 5’11”, I have plenty of leg-room, toe-room and head-room – all of which were rather tight for me before.

Oddly, the side-armrests for passengers protrude quite far, eating into my waist-space. This seems like a little bit of an oversight, or perhaps I am the problem.

In the back, a similar design follows from the front, with faux leather and patterned seats.

In terms of amenities, rear seat passengers get another 2x USB-C ports, airvents, map pockets and a fold down centre arm-rest.

How is boot space?

Like the rear seats, the boot space benefits immensely from the extra size of the Countryman.

Boot space is now 505L (+55L) and 1530L with the second row folded (+130L)

It’s nice, big and square so loading things in is easy and non-convoluted.

What’s under the bonnet of the Countryman JCW?

Interestingly, the new Countryman retains the BMW sourced B48 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo-petrol engine we see in the new X1 and X2 M35i – though it has a different tune versus before.

The result is 233 kW of power and 400Nm of torque, which is up 8kW versus before but down a significant 50Nm of torque.

It also ditches the 8-speed torque converter from before and replaces it with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, with new tuning of the front-wheel drive biased AWD system.

In Europe, due to emissions regulations, the JCW gets a worse tune of 221kW of power which is what we’re testing today in Portugal.

How does the Countryman JCW drive?

The MINI Countryman JCW actually feels far better to drive versus the previous generation.

When driving the previous JCW, it always felt heavily front-wheel biased with significant disconnect between stamping the throttle, what the 8-speed auto would do, and how the AWD system sent power to the rear wheels to avoid wheel hopping and torque steer.

Now, a stab of the throttle of the new JCW yields a far more instant and predictable response.

However, it is slower than before – I timed the 0-100km/h sprint in the 5.7 second range, which is a bit off the claim of the 5.4 seconds of MINI.

The other thing that has been muted, at least for the EU spec we drove, is the engine sound. Most of what you hear inside the cabin is totally synthetic – down to the crackles and pops.

Though, this can be fun, especially when changing through to the ‘Timeless’ drive mode, which amongst changing the dials skin to a retro look, also changes the engine sound to that of an original MINI.

Ride quality is firm but fair, about what you would expect from a sports-focused SUV. Around town you certainly notice more road imperfections than not, but it’s never uncomfortable.

Handling is where you see the Countryman shine, however. MINI have embraced their ‘Go-Kart’ reputation, naming their sport mode exactly that, and the handling could certainly be described as ‘Go-Kart’.

Where you point the Countryman, it will go there. The steering ratios also feel certainly quicker than the X2 M35i we also drove while in Portgual despite being almost identical under the skin, so clearly MINI are differentiating their driving experience on that.

Overall, the drive of the Countryman JCW is a major improvement from before. If I’m being honest, I thought it would be ruined by the much larger size of this new 3rd generation Countryman – but the reality is, it only feels better thanks to incremental improvements.

Is the MINI Countryman safe?

Despite pending assessments from ANCAP and Euro NCAP, the 2024 Mini Countryman John Cooper Works is outfitted with an extensive suite of safety technologies:

Standard Safety Features Across All Trims:

  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Blind-Spot Monitoring
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Assist
  • Reversing Camera
  • Front and Rear Parking Sensors
  • Intelligent Emergency Call
  • Rear Collision Prevention
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Warning with Braking
  • Speed Limiter
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System

Enhanced Safety Features for Classic Trim and Above:

  • Steering and Lane Control Assistant
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Surround-View Camera
  • Automatic Speed Limit Assistant

How much does the MINI Countryman JCW cost to run?

Similar to its Mini counterparts, the Countryman benefits from a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Echoing the approach of its BMW counterparts, Mini vehicles, including the Countryman, do not follow a fixed service schedule.

Instead, servicing is determined by the vehicle's condition-based service system, which notifies the owner when maintenance is required at a dealership.

Mini Australia offers a six-year 'Service Inclusive' package for the JCW model, priced at $3092.

Final Thoughts

I think its fair to say many of us were worried about this new Countryman when it was first announced.

Having grown significantly in size to appeal to more family buyers; that’s a recipe for losing the ‘Go-Kart’ fun that the MINI brand is known for.

However, the reality is that the new Countryman feels like a significant upgrade over the previous generation despite it’s lower price tag and the move to more sustainable materials.

Inside, the cabin provides a sense of fun and frankly cheekiness you would expect from a MINI, the exterior looks are classical and the drivetrain has been surprisingly heavily revised to provide a better driving experience.

Overall, the Countryman JCW provides great bang-for-buck for those looking for a premium, sports SUV.

Saucey score breakdown

Maintenance Costs and Warranty
Fuel (or EV) Efficiency
Interior Design and Features
Value for Money
Technology and Innovation
Is it fit-for-purpose?
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Matt Brand
Matt Brand, the esteemed car critic from Car Sauce, offers unparalleled expertise on all things automotive. From new car releases to pre-owned options, he provides in-depth analysis and honest evaluations to guide readers through the car-buying process. Join us as he delves into the exciting world of motoring.
Car specs

233kW + 400Nm

$73,990 Before On-Road Costs



Buy a Car!
No Obligations, Hassle Free.

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