2017 Mini Countryman is now maxi
But it isn’t just the size of the Mini Countryman that’s increased, but its capabilities as well. Whereas the previous car was just a bloated Mini for people who wanted more space, this new Countryman is actually for people who have an active lifestyle and who will use its newfound capabilities. Based on BMW’s UKL architecture, the new Mini Countryman measures 7.8 inches longer than the outgoing model, a full inch wider and its wheelbase has grown 2.9 inches.
This increase in size has dramatically increased interior passenger and cargo space as well as now offering five fully-fledged seats. The seating position is also higher, now, offering a more SUV-like seating height to aid in outward visibility. In the rear, the seats can slide longitudinally, fore and aft, by up to five inches. The rear seatbacks can recline and also fold flat, with a 40:20:40 split. To aid in its outdoors image, a new Picnic Bench option is available, which provides a padded cushion for the rear tailgate so passengers can sit and rest.
On the outside, the new Countryman is an improvement over the outgoing model. Where the previous model looked a bit frumpy and ungainly, this new model is a far more handsome car. While it still isn’t what you might call pretty, especially with that sad face, it’s much better looking than before. It’s more muscular and more chiseled, certainly the more rugged looking car. Otherwise, it’s very typical Mini and all the modern Mini design cues are present.
Two engine options will be available for the Countryman at launch. Under the hood of the standard Mini Cooper Countryman will lie a 1.5 liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine making 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. In the higher-spec Mini Cooper S Countryman will be the B48 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Both engine options will come with front-wheel drive as standard with Mini’s optional ALL4 all-wheel drive system. ■
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