Autumn has quickly changed to winter and with the dark nights and mornings, Iím appreciating more of the kit fitted to my Countryman. Along with the change of season, has come longer trips, one of which was a trip to Goodwood in Sussex. Lots of short trips is the norm for our MINI, but with 100 miles ahead of me, I did wonder how Iíd get on with the Countryman on a longer drive. It didnít break a sweat, but there were still some niggles.
Firstly, despite the fact that I reckon MINIís Media Navigation XL system is one of the best on the market, with it having already got me out of a few scrapes, itís not totally infallible, as Iíve recently found out to my cost. Despite leaving home with what I thought was plenty of time, the navigation system had already estimated my time of arrival and it was after the time when I needed to be there. As I stop/started my way around the M25, that ETA continued to slip further and further away, much to my annoyance. There wasnít a lot I could do about the traffic, and in hindsight I should have probably left even earlier, but I wonder if this systemís suggested alternative routes could be more intuitive? So with heavy traffic and time against me, I took the suggested alternative route, diverting off the M25, right into another queue! Then, at the next roundabout, considering the traffic on this road, it sent me back on myself and again onto the M25. At this point, any chance of arriving on time had gone, much to my frustration. Iím also not convinced about the touchscreen operation either. For me, I still find it simpler to operate via the iDrive-like circular controller and buttons located on the centre console.
Then thereís the motorway ride, which although much improved over the first-generation Countryman, still seems to amplify the changes in tarmac. Although a modest size considering whatís available, the optional 17-inch alloy wheels still feel a bit too fidgety on the move to make long motorway drives relaxing. Itís a shame, as sounds from the 2.0-litre engine are well suppressed.
On the positive side, and there are definitely more of these than negatives, the space and upmarket feel to this latest MINIís interior continues to impress. Even with my tall frame, I find it easy to get comfortable on longer journeys. Our car came with optional sports seats, and they are heated, too, which Iím sure will turn out to be a real bonus as winter grips further.
The Countrymanís torquey and willing 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo diesel engine continues to be impressively frugal. With a mixture of long and short trips, Iím still averaging around 500 miles to a full tank, which equals out to around 45mpg. With some care, Iím going to see if I can improve on that figure in time for the next report.
Date arrived 16th August 2017
Fuel economy 65.7mpg (combined) 45.3mpg (on test
The 2.0-litre diesel engine is a willing performer and still averages 500 miles to a tank of diesel.
We’re not convinced by the suggested alternative routes on the navigation system and the touchscreen operation.