It’s rare for a soon-to-be-launched small car to generate the sort of anticipation engendered by the MINI Countryman. Since we saw it at Geneva, the upcoming crossover is so often talked about that we sometimes forget it won’t actually go on sale till later this year.
This will be the first MINI to come with four doors; and the first with a body measuring more than four metres in length – plus, of course, the top-spec models are available with optional four-wheel drive.
We like the look of the new Countryman – more so in the metal than in the pictures – with its chunky styling, large tailgate and upright front end. It’s both familiar and unfamiliar, the robust ‘crossover’ lines sitting well with the more familiar MINI styling cues, from its hexagonal radiator grille and large headlights set into the bonnet, to the generous wheelarches and vertical rear light clusters.
The MINI Countryman can be specified with two individual rear seats or – as a no-cost option – a seat bench for three passengers. The rear seats slide back and forth individually, the angle of the backrests can be adjusted, or they can be folded down to increase luggage space from 350 litres to a maximum 1170 litres.
Three petrol and two diesel engines will be available at launch, including the 1.6-litre 184HP of the Cooper S Countryman.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter