First off, welcome!
I JUST arrived home from the dealership with my Crosstrek and I love it. I went with the Crystal Black Silica mainly because it's the only one my dealership had in stock. I have only driven it for about an hour now but I have to say I really do like it. Of course, I am coming from a 2003 Impreza Outback Sport so almost anything 10 years newer is going to be a world better.
The Crosstrek is my third Subaru and obviously they are doing something right for me since I keep coming back. I have a friend with a 2012 VW GTi and it is a lot of fun to drive but of course you aren't going to get the AWD or ground clearance of the Crosstrek.
I don't have much experience with Mini's except that I have heard
they are not too reliable (mechanic friends have told me the Mini Coopers come into the shop all the time). The Countryman is a cool ride, though.
I guess it comes down to what your purpose of the car is for. A GTi is pretty roomy and quick, but FWD and low clearance aren't going to fair well in the mountains. The Countryman has a better stance but you may end up with reliability issues (just be sure to do your research). The Crosstrek has Subaru's legendary AWD and 8.7" of ground clearance which is great if you plan on hitting the mountains, beaches or rough terrain, but you are going to be lacking in the "get up and go" department (though I must say the Crosstrek is peppier than a lot of reviews have led me to believe.)
Lastly, I love the desert khaki color. Our user backpacker62 has one in desert khaki that I think looks great http://clubcrosstrek.com/index.php/topic,153.0.html
Hope that helps