This week I am behind the wheel of the all-new 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman. This not-so-mini Mini Cooper is the largest Mini every produced.
This crossover SUV looks similar to the Mini Cooper Clubman, but with this new Countryman, it is 8” longer, 4.7” taller, slightly wider, and offers 13% more cargo room in the back.
My review vehicle has the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine with twin turbochargers that is putting out 134-horses. It is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, but there is a six-speed manual available as well. If you move up to the S model Countryman, there is a 2-liter 4- cylinder available that puts out 189-horses, and there will be a hybrid option later in the year.
My review vehicle is the ALL4 which is the Mini version of all-wheel drive, and gives this new Countryman a much more substantial ride and drive. This Mini shares a chassis with the BMW X1, so it is a true crossover.
As cool as Minis are on the outside, it is the interior that true Mini enthusiasts love.
As you sit behind the steering wheel, you notice everything is round, from the speedometer, to the huge touchscreen, right down to the air conditioning controls.
Another cool touch Mini has used for years is the use of toggle switches below the climate controls, including one in the middle to start the car. To the left of the ignition are switches to turn off the parking sensors and start/stop system. To the right, you can turn off the traction control, and turn on the heads-up display.
The heads-up display is unlike any I’ve ever seen.
A plastic screen pops up from the dash to display your speed or give you directions from the navigation system.
The seats are leather and quite comfortable. Everything is within easy reach, including the knob in the center console that operates everything on the massive round screen, or it can also be used as a touchscreen. You can go through the navigation screen, My Mini screen, Mini Connect, notifications, communication screen, and the media and radio screens. Surrounding the 8.8” round screen is a band of light that changes colors, although I never figured out why.
Around the automatic transmission shifter, you can change drive modes from Sport, to Mid, to Green to maximize your fuel economy.
Unlike any Mini Cooper I’ve ever been in, this one has a lot of headroom and legroom.
In fact, you can put five adults in this crossover and everyone will be comfortable. The back seat folds down in a 40/20/40 configuration for added cargo room.
The Countryman comes with a lot of standard features including a panoramic sunroof, rearview camera, keyless entry, heated seats, and ambient lighting.
This particular Mini has several options, including the leather seats, automatic transmission, 18” sport wheels, and the $2250 technology package which gets you the large touchscreen, real-time traffic, the heads-up display, and a wireless cell phone charger.
The Countryman drives very well.
It has a smooth ride, interior noise is practically non-existent, and you get a real BMW feel in the handling.
Fuel economy is rated at 23 in town and 30 on the highway, and I am actually doing better than that. Mini also pays for all scheduled maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles.
Even completely loaded like my all-wheel drive review vehicle is, MSRP is $36,750.
Whether you consider the Mini Cooper Countryman to be cool or quirky, it is a ton of fun to drive.