Mini Countryman 2017: Prices, specs and release date
Latest version of the crossover is bigger and posher – and a hybrid is on the way
Mini has revealed a new version of its Countryman crossover SUV, to go on sale early next year.
The second generation car is a slightly posher affair than its predecessor. Mini has pitched it a little further upmarket and it's a rival for both the Audi Q2 and Q3, as well as the Mercedes-Benz GLA.
It’s larger, too, and much more SUV-like in appearance, with a tougher look on the outside and a fresh, spacious interior. All-wheel drive will be an option on every new Countryman and a plug-in hybrid model will arrive at some point next year.
Order books are open now, so how does the biggest Mini stack up?
The new Countryman is a larger car than its predecessor by a noticeable amount. The wheelbase stretches 7.8ins (200mm) longer than before and it's also 1.1ins (30mm) wider. Alongside the extra size, the chunky, flared black-cladded wheel arches and bumpers mean it's a much more purposeful and rugged-looking machine than before.
Silver roof rails and door sill inserts, a larger grille and the tall belt line make it a bit trendier and posher.
It'll stick true to BMW Mini's ethos of customization, though, and buyers will have plenty of styling options to chew over when order books open.
Interior and practicality
The cabin is closely related to that found in the Mini hatchback. The dials are plucked straight from the hatch, as is the large circular infotainment screen in the centre console and a lot of the switchgear. The square vents are new, though, as is the ambient lighting feature and the slightly chunkier dashboard.
The car's extra length and width means space inside has increased. Driver and passenger get more head and shoulder-room, while the three in the back get extra legroom. As a result, it should seat five in relative comfort.
Boot space remains at 450 litres, but folding the rear seats flat now opens up a 1,309-litre loading bay.
Engines and fuel economy
At launch, the Countryman will be available with four engine choices – two diesels and two petrols.
Petrol engines kick off with a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder available in Cooper models. Its 134bhp gives 0-62mph in 9.6secs and it'll return a claimed 51.4mpg. CO2 emissions of 126g/km means it'll cost £110 to tax a year.
Sitting above it will be a Cooper S model using the same turbocharged 2.0-litre engine as Mini's hot hatchback. That gives 189bhp, 0-62mph in 7.5secs and fuel economy of 45.6mpg. It'll cost £145 a year to tax.
The diesel options will be more economical and both are 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines. The Cooper D gets 148bhp and it'll be the cheapest one to run until the arrival of the plug-in hybrid version. Mini claims it's capable of 64.2mpg and the low CO2 figure will cost drivers £20 a year in tax. The sprightlier 187bhp Cooper SD isn't far behind in terms of fuel economy – 61.4mpg is touted – but it'll rack up a tax bill of £110 per annum.
The Cooper SD is the only Countryman with an automatic gearbox as standard. Every other model gets a six-speed manual and the twin-clutch auto box with steering wheel paddles is an optional extra.
The Countryman Cooper S E will be the sole hybrid option and will arrive in 2017. It'll use the 1.5-litre petrol engine in tandem with an electric motor powering the rear wheels, giving drivers four-wheel drive as standard.
Combined power will be 221bhp, making it both the fastest and cleanest Countryman. Mini says it'll have a pure electric range of 25 miles and the sub-100g/km CO2 figure means it will be road tax and congestion charge exempt.
The 134mpg figure is ambitious, but it should still be the most economical Countryman by some margin.
The Countryman will be available with all-wheel drive, but Autocar suggests a version suited to venturing off-road will also arrive at some point.
The "off-road capable spin-off" Countryman is currently under development. According to the magazine's sources, it'll come with a raised ride height and skid plates front and rear. Modified bumpers, new wheels and bigger driving lights could be on the cards too.
Price and release
Mini will launch the car in February 2017, with prices kicking off at £22,465 for the 1.5-litre petrol Countryman Cooper. The most expensive version at launch will be the AWD Cooper SD, coming in at £29,565.
No pricing details for the hybrid have arrived yet, but CarBuyer says to expect £30,000 upwards.