MINI Countryman (2010 - )
Last updated 6 March 2014
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The 'MAXI' sized Countryman is a major new chapter in the MINI success story. In a nutshell, it offers four or five-seat practicality and a 350-litre boot in addition to the usual MINI trademarks such as sharp steering, fun handling and that all-important quirkiness.
It's impossible to think of this as any other car than a MINI. The Countryman might well be Golf-sized but the styling shares many MINI hatchback details, such as its large, round(ish) headlamps, floating roofline, and down-in-the-dumps radiator shape. That might make it easy to accept for existing owners, but those looking for an alternative to their Qashqai they may well find it a little too wacky.
The Countryman is actually considered to be a crossover by MINI and as such, there is also a four-wheel drive option, otherwise it's powered by the same low emission chain-cam diesel and petrol engines as the standard MINI hatchback. There are no shortage of versions to choose from - it's offered in One, Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper versions with 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre engines.
The big news for MINI owners looking to trade up is that the Countryman has a large and usable boot. There is plenty of room for four adults and thanks to plenty of carried-over controls and shared styling, they will feel very much a home. In 2010, the Countryman received a new centre console and - for the first time - electric window switches mounted in the doors.