BMW’s decision to revive the MINI was controversial but has been a big success. So much so that BMW now wants to turn MINI into a range of models. The Clubman estate was the first indication of this and now we have the Countryman.
BMW’s thinking is clear. The MINI has carved out a niche for buyers looking for a trendy, characterful supermini but what happens when they want to trade up? The Countryman is designed to provide that next step, it should encompass the spirit of the hatch but with the practicality and space of more mainstream rivals.
On the road the Countryman does a good job of maintaining the fun factor. The weight gain over the hatch is relatively modest as is the increase in ride height which all contributes to a surprising lack of body roll. Off road performance will not worry Land Rovers, but compared to SUVs the Countryman is fun.
The Mini Cooper D ALL4 makes use of a 1.6 litre turbodiesel producing 112 bhp and 199 lb.ft of torque.
Despite the four-wheel drive system, fuel consumption is excellent although it does push the ALL4 into the next VED band. The full suite of EfficientDynamics kit helps to keep CO2 emissions low without compromising driveability.
The Countryman offers space for four adults and keeps the MINI character, but it also retains some MINI compromises. The boot isn’t massive, the classic central speedometer pushes the switches to the floor, and it isn’t exactly cheap. However that hasn’t stopped anybody buying the hatch, so we think the Countryman will become a frequent sight.