Tuesday 12 December 2017

MINI Countryman: 'Appeals to drivers with young families who had given up on the brand as a practical option'

Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman

Geoff Frazer

Mini has quite rightly an impressive reputation for building fun-to-drive small cars - but as their buyers have grown up, so has their range of vehicles.

With the launch of the new, larger Countryman, they are now providing a car that is still unmistakingly a Mini but will no doubt appeal to drivers with young families who had given up on the brand as a practical option.

Starting at €33,580, it will come in the usual petrol and diesel variants but for the first time will also be offered as a plug-in hybrid too.

The MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 features a turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, reducing fuel consumption to 2.1 litres per 100 kilometres and CO2 emissions to 49 grams per kilometre. Yet it’s no slouch, racing to 100 km/h in just 7.2 seconds.

The rest of the new MINI Countryman line-up is powered by an all-new range of TwinPower Turbo engines offering impressive performance with 136 to 192hp and 220 to 400Nm of torque.

The second generation MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 with 8-speed Steptronic transmission takes just 7.2 seconds to hit 100km/h – making it 0.9 seconds faster than the previous model.

Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman

All models will come with a satellite navigation system, bluetooth, cruise control, emergency E-call and active guard.

Naturally, being a MINI, there is a seemingly endless option list for owners to personalise their new Countryman.

Where the new model will really shine, however, is the simple fact that it is some 20 centimetres longer than its predecessor and three centimetres wider, while its wheelbase has been extended by 7.5 centimetres.

These bigger proportions – making it the largest of any MINI on sale - really do show on the inside where there is more space than ever before.

Of course the Countryman still has the unmistakable MINI looks but also boasts more road presence thanks to extended ground clearance and specific off-road design details.

The standard-fit roof rails in satin-finished aluminium are combined with silver-coloured side sill tops, thereby lending greater visual emphasis to the car’s height. The familiar ‘floating roof’, large headlamps and hexagonal radiator grille are all present, albeit having undergone something of an evolution.

From the front, the headlamp units differ from other MINI models by having an asymmetric shape, with LED lighting now an option.

And at the rear, the vertically arranged light units help create the family ‘look’.

Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman

The interior of the new MINI Countryman has been improved by the creation of more space and a new operating and vehicle display concept.

In addition to overall interior width, leg space is now more generous too, with an extra five centimetres. The rear seats can be shifted back and forth by up to 13 cm, and depending on the situation either passenger legroom or boot capacity is increased.

The folding rear backrest offers a 40:20:40 split and also provides a variable tilt angle so as to also offer either better seating comfort or additional storage space at the rear.

Boot space is 450 litres and can be extended by folding the rear seats down to provide a total of 1,309 litres. This is a maximum increase of 220 litres compared to the previous generation model.

Based on a flexible platform called the Open Mobility Cloud, MINI Connected integrates the vehicle into the MINI driver’s digital life via touchpoints such as Apple iPhone and Apple Watch.

At the heart of this connectivity lies MINI Connected, the personal mobility assistant available to MINI drivers as of October 2016.

MINI Connected informs the driver of the optimum departure time based on calendar entries and current traffic data. Address information and appointments saved by the driver previously on a smartphone via MINI Connected are automatically transferred to the car and do not have to be entered in the navigation system again.

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