Launch review: MINI Countryman

 

The new MINI Countryman was launched in South Africa last week. Some of the updates to the latest generation include refined design, additions to equipment range and innovation to technology. The largest vehicle in the MINI range is a car that still prioritises driving pleasure associated with MINI while offering larger option for families.

 

The drive

Over the two day launch we had the opportunity to drive both the Cooper and Cooper S derivatives. Both provided a responsive and nimble drive that reached maximum speeds easily and was a pleasure to drive. As expected, the additional power from the Cooper S meant it could overtake with much more ease than what the Cooper derivative could.

 

The MINI Country has a 7-speed Steptronic with double clutch transmission that is largely responsible for the driving pleasure and responsiveness of the vehicle. It is responsive and the changes ae smooth, changing at exactly the right time to allow you to build speed. Shift paddles are only included as optional in the Cooper S derivative.

 

It is powered by two petrol engines featuring the latest MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology. The Cooper derivative is powered by a 1.5L 3-cylinder engine with an output of 100 kW and torque of 220Nm. Alternatively, the Cooper SE derivative has a 2L 4-cylinder engine delivering 141 kW of power and 280 Nm of torque.

 

The claimed fuel consumption is set between 6.3–6.7 L/100 km for the vehicles but our consumption hovered around 9L/100km in both derivatives. MINI says its combined CO2 emissions of 153 – 143 g/km make the car Euro 6d compliant.

 

The John Cooper Countryman Works is yet to arrive in South Africa.

 

 

 

The design

Changes to the design of the vehicle are understated. The exterior has been updated with a newly designed radiator grille and headlights. LED headlights and fog lights are now standard. Two new body colours have been introduced: white silver metallic and sage green metallic. It now also features the Union Jack taillights seen in other models.

 

Effort was made to keep the distinctive MINI feel inside the vehicle as well. A key change that has already been seen in the MINI Cooper SE is the introduction of a digital cockpit. The 5-inch colour screen is standard across the range.

 

There is a dual-pane panoramic sunroof that adds to the edgy and appealing look of the Countryman but presents a challenge. There is only mesh covering in the interior which means that the sun can still get through even when you have closed it. This made it difficult to avoid direct sunlight, particularly when in the rear of the vehicle.

 

A few weeks ago, it was announced that the future of the group will lie in electric models but there will still be options for muscle engines available. Thus, it is expected that future MINI Countryman generations will be electric.

 

The MINI Cooper Countryman is an enjoyable car to drive that could take on most of the roads on our road trip with ease. It is the perfect option for the driver who wants a larger family car without having to choose the traditional SUVs available.

 

The new MINI Countryman: an overview of the highlights:

  • Distinctive front design with newly designed radiator grille.
  • LED headlamps and LED fog lights now as standard.
  • LED rear lights in Union Jack design.
  • New body finishes, new option Piano Black Exterior.
  • New light alloy wheels.
  • Latest generation of engines, all models comply with Euro 6d emissions standard.
  • Standard 7-speed Steptronic with double clutch. Paddle shifts are optional for the MINI Cooper S Countryman.
  • New digital cockpit display with 5-inch colour screen as standard.
  • Newly designed central instrument in Piano Black High Gloss design available as an optional extra.
  • Sports leather steering wheel as standard in all model variants.
  • New range of leather trims and interior surfaces.
  • MINI Connected with new functions.
  • Extended range of Original MINI Accessories

 

The specs

Engine: 1.5 or 2.0-litre Twinpower Turbo engines

Transmission: 7-speed automatic Steptronic dual-clutch

Power: 100 kW and 141 kW

Torque: 220 Nm and 280 Nm

Fuel consumption: 6.3 – 6.7L/100km

Price: starting from R599 624

 

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