Mini’s Countryman has always been regarded as the “big” Mini, and for 2017 it returns even bigger. An all-new generation of Countryman lands on Canadian shores having grown in all dimensions, making it more spacious and practical for consumers.
As with the Clubman, the new Countryman rides on a BMW-developed platform shared with the BMW X1, but it is wider and longer than the Clubman, making it the biggest Mini ever produced. Compared to the previous Countryman, the new one is 200 mm longer, 30 mm wider, and rides on a wheelbase that’s 75 mm longer. To put that into perspective, it’s nearly as big as the new Nissan Qashqai.
Sculpted front seatbacks and a longer wheelbase offer 50 mm more rear-seat legroom, while the rear bench itself can be shifted fore and aft by 130 mm to optimize for people room or cargo room. Speaking of, the rear seats offer 40/20/40 split fold capabilities; with all seats folded, there’s up to 1,390 litres of space. The Countryman will also be available for the first time with a power tailgate that’s also hands-free, plus a built-in picnic bench, a sort of fold-out cushion that sits on the trunk’s sill.
Mini has long offered buyers customization, and with the Countryman Mini is pushing into premium territory with higher-quality materials backing up its retro-heritage design. Quilted top-grain leather upholstery, and available Piano Black, British Oak, or Chestnut Wood trim backlit with ambient LED lighting is fit for a Beemer.
The Countryman also goes heavy on technology, with an available 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment display, integrated navigation, wireless device charging, plus the Find Mate app, which uses four RFID tags that can be attached to items like luggage or a wallet. Other noteworthy tech add-ons include adaptive dampers and head-up display; adaptive cruise control and emergency autonomous braking are available through the Driving Assistant package.
The Countryman is available in Cooper and Cooper S forms. The Cooper uses a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder motor shared with other members of the Mini family. It develops 134 horsepower and an impressive 162 lb-ft of torque, and is paired to a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The Cooper is available with All4, Mini’s all-wheel drive system; in this form, it can be had with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Cooper S is available with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, and comes exclusively with All4. Transmission choices are the same as the Cooper All4.
For the first time in Mini’s history, the Countryman will be available with a plug-in hybrid. Sounding very much like a Porsche, the S E Countryman All4 pairs the three-cylinder turbo gas engine to a rear-mounted electric motor. In total, the electrified Countryman makes 221 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful Mini yet. Mini estimates the all-electric range to be 40 km, and the little crossover can be driven at speeds of up to 120 km/h on battery power.
Pricing for the new Countryman starts at $26,990 in Cooper form, with the All4 version selling for $28,990. The Cooper S All4 starts at $31,990.