CARGIANT PRICE RANGE: £7,499 – £14,499
The MINI is quintessentially British, and a great example of how the classic seamlessly transitions to the modern.
It’s no surprise after many decades of associating the MINI Cooper brand with chic country living, the Countryman came along to represent an inspired departure from the original 1959 BMC template, adding the option of all-wheel drive to make it a compact alternative to models as diverse as the Ford Focus and BMW’s X1.
You’ll need to search hard to find a better automotive interior than the MINI Countryman. The clever four-seat layout and quality leather, the innovative instruments and a switchgear with just the right amount of throwback to the original 1960s MINI. There’s a wonderful balance between the nostalgia that attracts you to the MINI and its modern capabilities to match other vehicles on the road.
Engine, Performance & Drive
Naturally, for an all-wheel drive you get the improved grip on all road surfaces. The MINI is well suited not only for muddy country roads but will also thrive on unpredictable urban terrains. There is a newly introduced ‘jacked-up’ suspension which gives you the higher driving height – perfect for seeing the open road and providing great ground clearance.
MINI Countryman offers a variety of 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines. Its engine is a first for MINI as it combines fully variable valve management, direct injection and the twin-scroll turbocharger. Maximum power is 135kW at 5500rpm and peak torque of 240Nm is available from 1600rpm (260Nm on overboost under hard acceleration).
Overall, there are seven options when it comes to the MINI Countryman, all of which have their own engines. There is the familiar small-capacity units from parent firm BMW. All are four-cylinder, the new 1.5-litre three-cylinder has yet to make its way into the Countryman, with 1.6 petrol and diesel engines, while the Cooper SD has a 2.0-litre diesel. The Countryman comes only as a five-door crossover, this is because it’s the most spacious model in the MINI range.
Reliability & Safety
MINI is owned by BMW, which has a great reputation for reliability. In the Euro NCAP crash tests, the MINI Countryman scored the maximum full five-star rating in 2010, simply put - it’s a safe car. Advanced braking technology keeps you in complete control, it has the latest-generation anti-lock brakes which allows you to stop quickly on slippery roads and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) distributes braking force between wheels to suit the driving conditions. Cornering Brake Control (CBC) improves stability on cornering at speed, and Brake Assist speeds up the process, minimising the braking distance. There is also the well stocked 6 airbags as standard.
What Cargiant thinks
Can you really call a car that stretches more than four meters long a MINI? The Countryman is a small SUV that takes the cute retro styling of the hatch but adds greater practicality, making it well designed to cope with family living. It’s hugely popular here at Cargiant and a rival for crossovers such as the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, and even larger rivals such as the Skoda Yeti and Audi Q3. We think it’s certainly one to consider for those who are considering the alternative family car. It will deliver on the demands of the everyday city driving and also flourish on those family road trips to the country.