Well here’s a neat trick. The second-generation Mini Countryman is bigger, while delivering a smaller footprint thanks to its first-ever hybrid option.
Mini rolled out a bunch of new press photos of its new 2017 Countryman this week. It’s the largest Mini to date. It grows by 8.1-inches and adds 1.3 inches in width. So we’re talking a roomier cabin, and more legroom in the backseat where the rear seats have a 40/20/40 split system.
Other than the fact it’s a bit bigger, the big news is the hybrid version. It goes by the rather longer name Cooper S E Countryman All4. It’s the first plug-in Countryman and the only one in the entire lineup with a battery since the Mini E Cooper back in 2010. Its popularity never grew and Mini soon unplugged it from production.
The hybrid option runs on a 7.5-kWh battery. The I3 motor and rear-mounted electric motor create 221-horsepower. It creates 284 pound-feet of torque. It goes up to 24 miles on all-electric when fully charged. It travels that far at up to 77 mph and offers several driving modes. The only downside from the battery is decreased rear headroom, along with reduced luggage space and a smaller gas tank.
If you opt for gas only, there are 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter options. The 1.5 gets 134-hp while the 2.0 gets 189-hp. Both come standard with six-speed manual and offer eight-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, Mini fancies things up by adding a touchscreen option to the central TFT screen. Also check out the start stop button in the center area.
Standard equipment includes an oversize sunroof, keyless entry, a backup camera, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, Sensatec synthetic-leather upholstery, and 17-inch wheels. Heated seats are standard with four-wheel drive.
The 2017 Countryman lineup will debut next month at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The gas versions go on sale in March. The hybrid will arrive in June.