2017 MINI Countryman road test and review…
The MINI Countryman has previously been a model that was a bit ignored in Australia and was never really a great sales success.
But I reckon if Aussie SUV/Crossover buyers give this new one a closer look, well that might certainly change.
Why? Because the 2017 MINI Countryman is a vehicle that provides space and practicality, along with the fun and personality of a MINI.
I know, it sounds like an oxymoron – a practical MINI!
But really it is. The interior space is extraordinary and the cargo area is better than generous and more than enough for the average applications, including fitting a pram and groceries in.
The seats are comfortable, the features and comfort levels are right up there and with the top-spec diesel you get a stack of usable torque (400Nm at as little as just 1,750rpm).
With a healthy 140kW on tap, the diesel is also zippy in traffic.
As compared to the base-model petrol/front-wheel drive though it isn’t enormously different to drive and that means if your budget it isn’t up to the ALL4 version then you won’t feel short changed.
There’s also an added bonus in the lower-spec models – higher profile tyres.
The 18″ 50 Series tyres on the flagship model do make for a less forgiving drive on poor road surfaces.
Not surprisingly, the diesel engine is frugal – I averaged in the 7L/100km range in my week of city driving.
There is one issue common to all grades that you might want to be conscious off – forward 3/4 visibility.
The MINI has VERY chunky A pillars (the metal beams on either side of the windscreen) and these are quite upright too – in one situation I completely lost site of a pedestrian approaching a zebra crossing.
Not a major issue, just something to be mindful of.
Overall though, whichever model you go with, the new MINI Countryman is well-built (the doors close with a read ‘thud’), easy to live with, roomy and fun.
As far as I’m concerned it is one of the best new models released in 2017 and a certainty for plenty of mentions when we talk 2017 Car of the Year later in the year.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 MINI Countryman Cooper SD All4
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-diesel producing 140kW/400Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: Three years
Price: from $51,500