MINI Countryman

Cooper D

MINI Countryman, side
MINI Countryman, side
MINI Countryman, front
MINI Countryman, rear
MINI Countryman, interior
MINI Countryman, rear

BIGGER, bolder, more efficient and with even more tech, the new MINI Countryman arrived earlier this year.

The Countryman is now built in Holland - not Oxford where most MINIs are made - and is probably the most controversial model to sport the famous badge as its large dimensions are dismissed by some fans of the brand.

This second generation Countryman is selling well and proves that buyers love the MINI in this practical crossover style.

As well as being considerably larger than the first model the new car is more expensive but you get lots more space for your cash as well as more equipment and quality.

It also drives well and although it may not offer the razor sharp handling of some of the smaller hatch models, it does offer a nice driving experience and some fun.

Available in a variety of diesel and petrol engines - there is also a plug-in hybrid powertrain - the Countryman can also be had with four-wheel-drive, so there are models to suit most tastes and pockets.

The platform is shared with some other MINI products and with BMW's X1 and 2 Series Tourer and the engine in the diesel Cooper D I sampled also features in a number of other BMW products.

It is the most economical model in the range and yet still produces bags of punch.

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine produces 150bhp and is quiet and refined. It has a claimed combined figure of 65.7mpg and I came very close to that on two reasonably long journeys.

The Countryman may be bulkier than any other MINI but it still offers good handling. The ride is on the firm side but this helps the SUV to feel agile and sharp to drive.

The steering is quick and accurate and you can select from different driving modes if you specify the must-have Chili pack at £2,980 which also gives you a host of other goodies including larger alloys, front sports seats, leather steering wheel, heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, LED foglights and adaptive LED headlights.

Another worthwhile option is the Media Pack at £950 which will give you a larger screen, the MINI Navigation System XL, Connected XL and enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging.

Inside the cabin is typical MINI with bags of style, neat touches and a large circular display that dominates the dash. It in turn is surrounded by multi-colour lights which change depending on driving habits and driving modes. The chrome toggle switches remain and the materials and trim are all very good quality.

There is plenty room for four adults to travel in comfort with good head and legroom and the large boot has room for 450 litres of luggage. That jumps to an impressive 1,390 litres with the split rear seats folded.

At £23,850 on the road the Countryman D is well specced and owners have scope to personalise their vehicles by dipping in to the tempting options list. The final total for the car I drove was a hefty £32,145 as it was crammed with extras.

FAST FACTS

MINI Countryman Cooper D

Price:£23,850

Mechanical:150bhp, 1,995cc, 4 cylinder diesel engine driving front wheels via a 6 speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:129mph

0-62mph:8.9 seconds

Combined MPG:65.7

Insurance Group:20

C02 emissions:118g/km

Bik rating:25%

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