Right on schedule, the newest version of the biggest version of the MINI has arrived Down Under as the 2017 Countryman rolls into showrooms starting from $39,900, and is expect to emerge as their best selling model before long.
Its larger size and practicality plusses coupled with the ruggedised styling and all-wheel drive does lend the Countryman an added appeal over the more city-dwelling MINI 5-door hatch, and should pose a threat to cars like the Volvo V40 Cross Country, Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Audi Q2, as well as more mass market crossovers.
The new Countryman - which we have also covered previously here - range will comprise of the base Cooper grade, the diesel-powered Cooper D, Cooper S, and finally the Cooper SD. It measures 199mm longer than the model it replaces, meanwhile width (33mm to 1822mm) and height (13mm to 1557mm) has also grown.
A maximum boot capacity of 450-litres is a substantial 100-litre improvement, though the most obvious change over the last Countryman is the larger cabin those extra dimensions have yielded. MINI has also improved the car’s material quality while also emphasising a more active and adventurous cabin ambiance.
As standard, the Countryman will come with features such as 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tyres, Comfort Access, Active Cruise Control, an automatic tailgate, and a reversing camera along. For safety, the Driver Assistance Package is included as standard; this includes Forward Collision Warning, City Collision Mitigation (AEB, High Beam Assist, and Speed Limit info.
A key feature to any crossover worth it’s salt - all-wheel drive - is standard only on the more expensive Cooper S and Cooper SD. There, the electronically controlled ALL4 system can send up to 100 percent of drive to either the front or rear axle, depending on the needs of the condition. In normal driving, though, the Countryman operates as a fully front-driven car, though the system can intervene by throwing power to the rear axle while cornering to combat understeer.
The entry-level (and front-driven) Cooper spec, the petrol Countryman is powered by a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 100kW and 220Nm, delivering decent performance and a sub-10 second 0-100km/h acceleration time while managing to consume an impressively low 6.0-litres/100km. The Cooper D, being a diesel, is even more frugal, claiming to sip 4.8-litres/100km from its 110kW/330Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel.
Stepping up to the all-wheel drive ’S’ grades, the petrol-powered rugged MINI dishes out 141kW and 280Nm from its 2.0-litre four-pot turbo, good for a century sprint time of 7.4 seconds. Impressively, it’s actually only slightly more consumptive than the Cooper, able to cover as much as 100km with just 6.5-litre’s worth of petrol. Finally, the Cooper SD uses the same 2.0-litre turbodiesel mill as the Cooper D, though here it’s tuned to deliver 140kW and a hefty 400Nm of peak torque.
- MINI Countryman Cooper - $39,900
- MINI Countryman Cooper D - $43,900
- MINI Countryman Cooper S - $46,500
- MINI Countryman Cooper SD - $51,500