Think of the 2017 mini Countryman as the brand’s “ah, to hell with it” moment. At a whopping 8.1 inches longer and 5.4 inches wider than the vehicle it replaces, it’s quite obviously the least-mini mini ever. Yet, that size increase makes it additional helpful, comfortable riding, and better proportioned. If a compact crossover SUV is what is to be, then this is the size it should be.
However, it’s quite mini for a compact SUV, coming in at 3 inches smaller than the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and 4 inches shorter than an Audi Q3. Neither of these are what anyone would describe as large. And yet, the Countryman boasts a considerably more spacious and usable interior than either of them. Crossovers of similar exterior dimensions, luxury or otherwise, just do not come close to providing as much passenger space.
The cargo area is not quite as impressive on paper, however its boxy shape and the sliding second-row seat make it much more versatile in practice. There’s way more to this redesign than simply dimensional changes – the 2017 Countryman grows up figuratively as well. The original model always felt like a mini Cooper hardtop that ballooned in size and door count.
Mini Countryman Description
Compared to SUVs of similar price, and more damningly of lesser worth, it was crashy, loud, a bit cheap inside, and relatively uncouth. The base model was additionally embarrassingly slow. The base Cooper model could be a another story. The Countryman once again shares its engine lineup with the Cooper hardtop, though the new BMW-developed turbocharged units.
Sadly, the 1.5-liter turbo inline-three’s 134 Horsepower and 162 pound-feet that prove to be thus sprightly in the Cooper hardtop simply are not enough in the 3,330-pound Countryman (or 3,510-pound all-wheel-drive Countryman ALL4). Mini says that the Countryman can actually, maybe counter-intuitively, be more popular than its other, smaller models in urban and densely packed suburban areas (just like Portland) where customers are more likely to have one car and so need it to be more functional.
If that is the case, the base Cooper engine could be sufficient if all you are going to do is putter around town. However, with 2 sizable folks aboard, the base Countryman struggled to induce up to speed, and flooring it up an incline really did not accomplish much. Opting for Sport mode was vital simply to stay the small three-banger on its toes around city.
Mini Countryman Features
The Cooper S and its 2.0-liter turbo inline-four is thus highly suggested, as its 189 Horsepower and 207 lb-ft produce acceleration in keeping with the segment and the Countryman’s price tag. It’s about 2.5 seconds faster from zero to 60 mph than its lesser-endowed sibling (7 seconds with ALL4 versus 9.5). As before, you can get a six-speed manual transmission on virtually every configuration (no front-drive Cooper S), while BMW’s excellent eight-speed automatic is optional (front-wheel-drive Coopers get a six-speed).
The john Cooper Works version and the Cooper S E Countryman plug-in hybrid are coming later in the year. That’s not the only new feature, either. Each Countryman currently comes standard with Comfort Access keyless entry/start, a rearview camera, a panoramic sunroof, automatic wipers and lights (LEDs on the Cooper S), a sliding and reclining back seat, and, once all-wheel drive is chosen, heated front seats.
A power driver seat is finally currently available as an option. That feature content helps align it better with those aforementioned compact luxury SUVs, however with the exception of the similarly priced Audi Q3, the Countryman is the higher deal. A comparably equipped GLA or X1 would be about $4,000 more, provide or take a few hundred dollars. Of course, one has to question the value proposition of this complete compact luxury SUV segment.
Mini Countryman Price
The new 2017 Mazda CX-5 is about $8,000 less expensive than a comparable Countryman S despite being considerably bigger, just as fast, and, possibly, a lot of fun to drive. Yet, any mini fan will tell you there is a lot of to their beloved brand than simply figures on a spreadsheet. And for them, the 2017 Countryman should most definitely create the grade.
It’s still remarkably a mini, however it is also better proportioned and no longer has the face of an angry tiki god. The driving experience remains mini sharp, however it’s more comfortable, quiet, and refined. There are still a lot of quirky features (toggle switches!), but those devoted to comfort, convenience, and safety have increased. And, quite importantly, it remains customizable.