Of the three, the Volvo V40 is the one that's most like a hatchback... since it is one. Developed from an old Ford Focus platform and sprinkled with Cross Country body bits, it's only available with FWD as a 250 horsepower gasoline model. We still remember driving a T5 AWD and loving the engine. But that was in 2013, and even then it didn't have a modern interior.
It's obvious that the new Countryman and Audi's baby Q model have much nicer infotainment system too. But because the Q2 is the second cheapest car Audi makes, there are a few scratchy plastics. As for the MINI, its cabin is full of creativity, and it feels like an expensive car... which it is.
As far as the styling of the exterior goes, we still haven't grown accustomed to the MINI. I mean, what were they thinking? The headlights look like one of Dali's melting clocks. The Audi A2 looks like something a young football player would design. The grille is very bold, and it's full of creases. Some people don't like the creases on the doors, but they're not that bad. However, those thick rear pillars create huge blind spots.
As for handling, the MINI is the most fun according to Mat Watson from Carwow. But I wonder if he would say the same thing if it were a regular Cooper or even a Countryman One. Apparently, the Audi strikes the best balance between sweet cornering characteristics and comfort and the 1.4 TFSI turbo engine is also almost as efficient as the V40 Cross Country D4.
Usually, picking a winner in a comparison review only comes down to preference. But these three are wildly different. The MINI is like a Spice Girls reunion album, Audi's is a short Daft Punk song (the Q2 is a subcompact while the other two are classed as compacts). Meanwhile, the Volvo V40 Cross Country is like listening to the Stockholm orchestra playing in the park - for slightly older people who don't care about kids and don't want to spend a lot of money.