There are many cars that handle well and cocoon you in luxury. There are many cars that can accommodate five in comfort. There are many cars that ride well and puts a grin on your face every time you floor the throttle. But when you want all these and much more from a single car, the choices are very limited – and among the few choices, it will be hard pressed to find a car that is more suited than the Mini Countryman, the not so mini, MINI.
A MINI that drives like any other MINI, but can seat five in comfort and carry their luggage, offer 4-wheeldrive and can take you over rough terrain without sweating a drop, or can take you to the nearest shopping mall in comfort and carry all the shopping bags without a whimper.
Countryman is the first SUV from MINI and is the second most popular offering from the MINI stable. Contrary to the original Countryman, the new Countryman is a 4-wheel drive, 5 Door SUV and is developed aiming the family audience, who like to have a car that is practical as well as thrilling to drive. Don't be fooled by the looks, as under that bloated MINI looks is a very capable SUV that has better credentials than many other hard core SUVs can boast – MINI has won the prestigious and tough as hell DAKAR rally four times and the rally car is based on none other than the MINI Countryman.
Unmistakably, this is the largest MINI – MINI that has never embraced the bulk like this for before and it shows in the amount of space it owns inside the car. Even though the car is substantially larger than regular MINIs, the design remains unmistakably of MINI. The Countryman broke many moulds in design from the family Tradition, as it was the first member of the family to get four doors plus a large tailgate.
The car is a foot longer, 10cm wider and 15cm taller than the regular MINI hatch. This results in the Countryman having an upright stance – a departure from the hunkered down stance of MINI hatch.
The front is dominated by the signature grill and large and intricately designed headlights – you can opt for LED headlights and fog lights, if you wish so. The bonnet, true to the MINI fashion, covers the wings and encloses the headlights. The contrasting roof and mirrors add to the oomph factor and helps the MINI to stand out from the crowd.
MINI offers a staggering 10 million unique combinations to customize your Countryman, so that you can tailor the car just like the way you like it.
Open the door and what strikes you is the fact that the interior is 100% MINI, despite the fact that the dashboard is new and is not shared with any other models from the maker. The dominating theme is circular and the speedometer and the center console are a study in circles.
The power window switches and the speedometer are located where they should be, and all the plastics are soft at touch and of top quality. The center console is dominated by the high definition color screen and the absolutely drool worthy toggle switches, made of premium materials.
Mini comes with ambient lighting and you can choose from 12 patters and wait for the staggering 255-color tones. The center display works as the entertainment hub and also displays the navigation maps.
The Countryman comes with MINI Connected – a display that seamlessly integrates all the technology – from popular Apps to Popular hardware like GoPro and a lot more. This also powers the Journey mate, the trip planner app from MINI, which takes parameters like real time traffic, mileage, weather etc. and integrates them to the trip planning.
It even comes with a gas station finder, when you are low on gas and on lookout for a place to top up. It also comes equipped with a parking space finder that helps you to find parking space for your MINI. The entertainment junkies can opt for a high end Harman Kardon HIFI Audio System.
The space between the front seats has a rail, which can take sliding accessories that you can choose from the customization catalogue. The rear seats offer split folding and are adjustable to release more cargo space, if needed. The boot is a generous 350-liter and can extend up to 1170-liter if the rear seats are folded down. There is lot of head, shoulder and elbow room and the sliding rear seats make it comfortable for the rear passengers.
MINI is loaded with lot of advance features like Park Distance Control, navigation with real-time update, corner brake control, Dynamic Stability Control, etc.
The Park Distance Control uses ultrasonic waves to find obstacles and the distance between them and the car and pops up alerts on the screen when you get closer to the objects. The corner brake control helps improve the vehicle stability even under hard cornering and keeps your MINI stable even if you have to apply brake during taking a corner or changing lanes by optimizing the braking pressure applied on each wheel.
The Dynamic Stability Control measures steering angle, Yaw and lateral acceleration and if detects that the car is moving away from the intended path, will apply corrective measures like applying brake pressures to individual wheels and adjusting engine torque so that the car stays on course.
The car has seven airbags (front, side, side-curtain and knee) and crash sensors that will unlock the car and will turn on the interior and hazard lights and will cut off the ignition if the airbags are deployed. Mini boasts of an ultra-rigid body and an extremely strong frame made from second generation multiphase steel.
MINI comes with Automatic Stability control + Traction that prevents the front wheel from spinning under challenging circumstances.
Internationally, the Countryman comes with a 1.6-liter petrol engine (normally aspirated in Countryman and Countryman Cooper and with forced induction on Cooper S and JCW) and the power varies from 97bhp to 215bhp in JCW AVATAR, which enables the MINI to do a 0-60mph under 6.9 seconds.
The Countryman D comes with a 1.6-liter that churns out 112bhp and 270Nm of power and torque, which takes the car to a maximum 186Km/h of top speed. The car is mated with an automatic tranny and comes with performance suspension and all-wheel drive to make sure that you can take your Countryman anywhere, regardless of the terrain.
The MINI Countryman starts from 3,65,0000 INR and is available at a dealer near you in the metros.