Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: which is best?

Which is best, the Mini Hatch or the Mini Countryman? Our guide can help you decide.

Phill Tromans Cazoo

By Phill Tromans

Published: 19 April 2024

What’s the difference between the Mini Hatch and the Mini Countryman and which one might be best for you? Here, we compare these two popular models and give you the pros and cons of each. 

Here we’re focusing on the Mini Hatch that was sold new from 2013 to 2023 and the Mini Countryman sold new from 2016 to 2023.

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: size

The Mini Hatch and the Mini Countryman are different types of car, and therefore are quite different sizes. The Hatch is a small hatchback, measuring 386cm long in three-door form or 402cm as a five-door model. It’s 193cm wide, including side mirrors, and 141cm tall.

By contrast, the Countryman is a (compact) mid-size SUV and is bigger in every respect, measuring 429cm in length or 27cm longer than the biggest Mini Hatch five-door. The Countryman has the raised ride height of an SUV and its roof sits 155cm from the ground, making it 14cm taller than the Hatch. At 200cm wide (including side mirrors), it’s 7cm wider than the Hatch.

Mini Hatch

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Mini Countryman

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: design

Both the Mini Hatch and the Mini Countryman take their visual inspiration from the iconic Mini of the 1960s. The big headlights, rounded body and specific features like the door handles and wheel designs all hark back to the original.

Both cars are available in a huge range of colours and, when new, could be ordered with personalisation options including contrasting colours for the roof and the door mirrors, bonnet stripes and a wealth of different interior trims and materials.

Mini Hatch

Mini Countryman

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: interior and tech

The same retro inspiration continues inside both the Mini Hatch and the Mini Countryman, with a circular central display screen in the dashboard that echoes the speedometer in the 1960s Mini. Today, it’s home to the infotainment systems. More circles can be found dotted around both cabins, including on the instruments, door handles, air vents and more.

The infotainment system in both cars is based on BMW’s iDrive (BMW owns Mini). This is a good thing, because it looks great and is easy to use, either via a touchscreen or a rotary dial between the front seats. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t standard on all models, so check to see if the specific car you’re looking at has those.

The quality of materials is good in both cars; they feel solid and have a premium look.

Mini Hatch

Mini Countryman

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: practicality

The Mini Hatch and Mini Countryman are compact cars that don’t really prioritise practicality – many rivals offer more outright space.

Being the larger of the two, the Mini Countryman is the model to go for if space is a priority. With more interior space and a larger boot, it's much better suited to family life than the Mini Hatch. Four adults will have no problem fitting in, and five can be carried at a squeeze. Thanks to its taller body, bigger doors and extra ground clearance (how high the car sits off the ground) it’s also easier for you and your passengers to get in and out.

The Mini Hatch has plenty of space for two adults in the front seats but things are a bit less roomy in the back. Adults are likely to feel a bit cramped, with legroom quite restricted. You get a bit more space with the five-door model and it’s much easier to get in and out thanks to the extra pair of side doors, even if these are quite small for this type of car.

Mini Hatch

Mini Countryman

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: boot space

Unsurprisingly, the Mini Countryman has considerably more boot space than the Mini Hatch. Petrol and diesel Countryman models have a 450-litre boot, which is pretty decent for this size of car and comparable to rivals such as the Ford Puma and even the 2014-2021 Nissan Qashqai. Fold down the back seats (in a 40/20/40 split) and that space expands to 1,390 litres.

However, watch out for plug-in hybrid models. While they’re great for fuel economy (more on that later), the battery system for their electric motors takes up extra space in the back, which means the boot size drops to 405 litres. That’s still not bad, but it’s noticeably smaller.

The Mini Hatch has a small boot, particularly in the three-door version. Measuring just 211 litres, it’s less than half the boot space of the Countryman. The five-door Hatch has a larger boot at 278 litres, but that’s still on the small side compared to rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo.

Mini Hatch

Mini Countryman

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: which is best to drive?

The fun feeling you get when driving them is a big selling point of all Mini cars. Just like the ‘60s original, today’s Minis promise a nimble, responsive character.

Of the two, the Hatch is the most enjoyable to drive, offering you a genuinely entertaining time behind the wheel. You sit low in the car, close to the road, and the steering lets you feel what’s happening on the road beneath you.

The Countryman has more of a focus on comfort but it doesn’t lose that nippy, agile feeling. You sit higher up and there’s not quite the same level of responsiveness through the steering but, overall, the Countryman is still a pretty entertaining car to drive.

Mini Hatch

Mini Countryman

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: which costs less to own?

The Mini Countryman is larger than the Mini Hatch, and it costs more to own as a result. You’ll pay more to buy one and general running costs probably will be higher, too.

That said, both models have versions that will give you lower running costs. The Countryman offers a plug-in hybrid version, which could deliver far lower fuel costs if you use it in the most efficient way: rely mostly on the electric motor and battery and do shorter journeys, rather than leaning on the less-efficient petrol engine.

The Hatch, meanwhile, is available as an all-electric model called the Mini Electric. The downside is that both these alternative-fuel vehicles are more expensive to buy than the petrol and diesel models.

Speaking of those more traditional fuels, the Countryman will give you up to 46mpg with a petrol engine, according to official figures, while the diesel models promise up to 57mpg. The Mini Hatch’s petrol engines will deliver up to 52mpg. The efficient diesel engines have been discontinued but used examples will give you up to 76mpg.

Mini Hatch

Mini Countryman

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: safety

The Mini Hatch was given four stars out of five when it was tested by safety experts Euro NCAP in 2014. This was largely because it lacked the era’s latest safety systems, although they were added in later versions.

The Countryman, meanwhile, scored the maximum five-star score when tested in 2017 and comes well-equipped with some of the latest safety systems.

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: dimensions

Mini Hatch

Length: 3,863mm (three-door), 4,023mm (five-door)

Width: 1,932mm (including side mirrors)

Height: 1,414mm (three-door), 1,425mm (five-door)

Boot space: 211 litres (three-door), 278 litres (five-door)

Mini Countryman

Length: 4,297mm (from 2020), 4,299mm (pre-2020)

Width: 2,005mm (including side mirrors)

Height: 1,557mm

Boot space: 405-450 litres

Mini Hatch vs Mini Countryman: verdict

Winner: Mini Hatch

For the vast majority of car buyers, which Mini model is best – the Mini Hatch or the Mini Countryman – will depend on what you want to use it for. For families, the Countryman is clearly superior, thanks to its extra space in the back and its larger boot. It then adds a very comfortable interior, lots of style and a fun driving experience for this type of car.

If you are single, a couple, or want to keep costs down, you may be better off with the Hatch because it’ll squeeze into smaller parking spaces and is generally more affordable to buy and run. It’s more fun to drive, too, especially if you go for one of the powerful performance models.

Typing to pick a winner here is like trying to decide whether an apple is better than an orange. But we think the Mini Hatch probably has wider appeal, and for that reason – and because one of these two cars has to win – we’ll crown the Hatch as the victor of this contest.

Mini Hatch

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