The all-new MINI Countryman will be the largest MINI ever, the first to offer a plug-in hybrid model and will boast new features including a touch-free electric tailgate, when it arrives with customers in February.
On sale since October 26, the Countryman is 20cm longer than before, with a 7.5cm longer wheelbase, providing enough interior space for five full seats. Its design is a reimagining of the original Countryman, with a ‘floating roof’, pronounced headlights with an asymmetric shape, along with satin-finished roof rails. In profile, there’s now a more pronounced step-up between the front and rear windows, emphasising the Countryman’s height.
The plug-in hybrid Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 uses a 134bhp petrol turbo and an 87bhp electric motor to glean a 134.5mpg figure, but also sprint from rest to 62mph in just 7.2 seconds, with power fed to a Steptronic six-speed automatic gearbox. Emissions are rated at 49g/km of CO2, with the electric motor able to provide up to 25 miles of zero-emission driving. Charging from a conventional plug socket should take just over three hours, with a wallbox should reduce this to a little over two hours.
The E Countryman will also feature an engine management system able to use information from your active navigation route to plan the most efficient driving modes – including all-electric – to switch between during the journey. Petrol power is fed to the front wheels, while the electric motor sits under the boot floor and sends power to the back tyres.
Two diesel engines will be fitted at launch, both measuring 2.0-litres and with MINI’s twin-scroll ‘TwinPower’ technology along with high pressure common rail injection. The Cooper D gets 147bhp, for an 8.9 seconds 0-62mph time, 64.2mpg and 113g/km of CO2, while the Cooper SD has 187bhp, making it slightly more expensive to run, with figures of 61.4mpg and 121g/km, but quicker, completing the same benchmark sprint in 7.7 seconds.
Inside, of course there’s more space, along with MINI’s LED ring, supplying additional lighting cues in response to driving situations and controls in the car. The front seats now have more travel and the option of electric adjustment with a memory mode for the driver’s side.
Trim levels are still Cooper D and Cooper SD, with a MINI Visual Boost Radio and 6.5-inch display fitted as standard, along with Bluetooth and navigation. Around 75 per cent of UK customers are expected to go for either the Pepper, Chili or Sport packs, with features including alloy wheels, MINI driving modes, sports seats and LED headlamps.
Unlike before, where the Countryman came with two rear seats or a bench, there are now three rear seats, and the door openings have been enlarged to ease access. This should prove especially handy for parents with child seats, and the rear seats can now also be moved fore and aft by 13cm.
To reflect its ‘family vehicle’ status, MINI has added more storage around the cabin and boot space is up to 450 litres, increasing to 1,309 litres with the rear 40:20:40 split and fold seats stowed. An optional electric tailgate can be opened without having to touch the boot, for those awkward moments when your hands are full.
Pricing starts from £24,425 for the Cooper D, while adding either an automatic gearbox or four-wheel-drive increases cost by around £1,600. The Cooper SD Countryman starts at £28,430 with an automatic fitted as standard.