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2014 Mini Countryman first driveBack

MiniCountrymanDespite the fact that in looks very little has changed, the new Mini Countryman continues to provide pleasure to all those who drive it.

Unlike the average Mini Cooper owner, where vanity is top of the agenda, and owners embrace the compact nature of the ever-popular car, the Mini Countryman lends itself to a different audience. Owners of this car are more likely to be slightly older, possibly have small families, and perhaps be heading towards the end of their life as a Mini owner.

The Countryman, originally launched four years ago and was based on a modified version of the previous generation Mini. Built to rival the likes of the Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke, it proved to be a huge success as buyers took great delight in owning the iconic car, but with practicality too.

So how is the new Mini Countryman any different to the old one? Its looks the same, except for a new grille, a chromium-plate A-pillar finisher, a couple of new colours and the ALL4 4×4 trim pack, but the floor is now flat, the wheels are 2.2lbs lighter and low-friction wheel bearings all help meet Euro VI emissions standards.

The model line up is very similar to before, there are four basic models (One, Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works) offered with a choice of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol with 88 and 215bhp, or a turbodiesel four-cylinder with 1.6 or 2.0 litres, with power from 89 to 141bhp. Both versions come with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.

It is believed that the most popular UK model will be the Cooper D, a 109bhp, 1.6-litre turbodiesel capable of achieving 0-62mph in 10.9sec, and an EU Combined economy of 67.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 111g/km.

MiniCountryman1The cabin still features the second-generation Mini facia with the huge central speedometer and the finish of the interior is high quality combining a mixture of leather, plastics and chromium to create a solidly built, traditional look. Space is generous and there is plenty of room for taller adults in the back although better to stick to two adults to avoid being cramped up. The boot is also a decent size for its class.

To drive, on smooth roads the Countryman performs well with BMW’s four cylinder engine providing just the right balance of power and torque. The engine is zippy and the economy is good considering the performance. It glides over bumps with ease and even pot holes do little to disrupt what is on the whole a comfortable ride.

So how well will the latest Mini Countryman be received? If it’s anything like the previous model that’s been around for the past four years, there are exciting times ahead. Last year, the Countryman represented 21 per cent of all UK Mini sales, and those customers were mainly from other brands as opposed to existing Mini fans looking to trade up from the hatchback version.

It may not be the best looking of the family, but the Mini Countryman has a lot to offer, and if you like driving, you won’t be disappointed by the experience.



Posted by Leana Kell on 15/07/2014