New MINI Countryman review


My wife would like a MINI to be her next car.

However, I live in Apeldoorn.

As you know,this is outside civilized society, past Amersfoort, so paved roads are rare.

A MINI may not be the most practical car there,plus we need room for the kids.

They need to be able to sit in the back seat,so you want doors there.

Where does this lead to? The MINI Countryman.

It's been here for a while, but this isthe second generation.

It has changed a lot.

However, before I'm going to tell you all about it,I want to tell you how this car came to be.

I had problems with it as well.

The name MINI suggests something small.

It's put on big cars nowadays.

This car is 20 cmbigger than the previous MINI Countryman.

That itself wasn't a small MINI anymore.

It is a huge car.

Why is it still called MINI? In short, it's a brand name.

If you want a successfulbrand, you have to listen to your customers.

What do MINI customers want? More roomcompared to the previous Countryman.

Like I said, the car grew 20 cm longerand it's 3 cm wider.

In all, there is more room.

450 liter luggage spaceis suddenly very important for a car like this.

No one bought a Mini for its luggage space.

It's a small car that shouldbe able to take you anywhere.

Anyway, enough about that.

We're going to talk about this car.

You get to choose from differentengines; diesel and gasoline.

The question is, how does this one perform?We're driving the Cooper S.

I have to say the engine doesn't disappoint.

It's a turbo engine and some peoplehate these, but this one works well.

It's a 2.

0, which may be the difference withthe 1.

6 turbo engines of other brands.

It feels cooler.

When you hitthe throttle, stuff happens.

Especially in sport mode, like this car can do,the exhaust starts burbling and roaring.

It becomes a fun MINI, a fun car to drive.

Morefun than I expected it to be for such a big MINI.

It is a rather big car.

About the handling.

You can see I'm on the wrong side of the car.

The steering wheel is on the other side,which brings me to the steering of this car.

It's not bad.

We're in England.

I'll talk aboutthat later, because I like they brought us here.

We're in England, where there arelots of narrow roads and hills.

I expected I had to be careful with this car becauseof understeer, that I wouldn't dare much with it, but it's not that bad.

It has the playful character of a smaller MINI.

I think it's more fun and invitingto drive than a SEAT Ateca, which I think is a good handlingSUV / crossover this size.

We have to talk about the designof the new MINI Countryman.

Opinions in the comments were divided.

I didn't like it when I first sawthe photos, but in real life.

I think it's 10x better than the previousCountryman, which I think is very ugly.

I think it's a good looking car,a bit sporty.

I think it's nice.

The headlights reminded me ofthe Fiat 124 Spider, but now.

More so in photos than in real life.

Of course it has the typical MINI roof;in white, but it comes in different colors as well.

Kick it and it works.


It all works.

Here we have something important in this class.

Anumber of brands offer an optional 3rd row of seats.

MINI has this too.

They're a sort of balcony seats, so.

It's easy to make a mother-in-law joke, but mymother-in-law is sweet.

I'd never put her here.

But yeah, like this.

You're in the open air, which isn't very nice inEngland because it was snowing when shooting.

It is possible, though.

There we go.

I'm sitting down.

Switch it on for the lights.

The interiorlights are blue, giving a special effect.

A head-up display.

And this thing looked like a giant bicyclewheel on the photos, but it's not that bad.

It is typically MINI.

It doesn't have intuitivelyeasy-to-find buttons that are easy to use, but it's typically MINI;different from all the other brands.

I would come back to the subjectof England.

We're near Oxford.

That's where Mini originates,but this MINI has little to do with Oxford except for the brand name originating here.

MINI is in German hands; owned by BMW.

However, the car is built inthe Netherlands, at Nedcar in Born.

They will start producing the BMW X1 there soon.

That car shares a lot of technologywith this one, so that's logical.

All engines are optionally availablewith an automatic transmission.

They have a 6-speed Steptronic or, in case ofthe Cooper S models, an 8-speed Steptronic.

We have the 8-speed automatic transmission.

It'sfun, because I've been using the flappy pedals a lot.

I'm usually very lazy with an automatictransmission.

I let it do all the work.

But here, on the English roads,I've been shifting gears.

You do find the right gear, but it has to bein sport mode.

You need to hear the engine.

If not in sport mode, you're rathersoundproofed and don't hear the engine well, shifting down a gear too many.

On the other hand,the torque solves this.

It's not a disaster.

Another piece of powertrain technology we have totalk about: all Countrymans are available with ALL4.

It's not an SUV that looks tough but really isn't.

Of course, we'll mainly see FWD cars in theNetherlands, but you can get AWD on all engines.

Keep in mind this costs 4,000-5,000 eurosmore than a FWD car.

Speaking of the prices.

The base model MINI Countryman Cooperwith 134 hp starts at 33,000 euros.

That is much cheaper than its technology partner,the BMW X1.

That one starts at 40,000 euros.

It's cheaper than the Q3 and Mercedes GLA as well.

That's funny.

There's a big difference of4,000-5,000 euros between these cars.

At the least.

The car we're driving,the MINI Countryman Cooper S.

The car we're driving is the MINI Countryman CooperS, available starting at 45,000 euros with ALL4.

I'd do this.

When it's wet and a Cooper S withouthelp of the rear wheels doesn't get anywhere.

I think you don't want that.

You can also choose theJohn Cooper Works (JCW), the most powerful one.

It has 228 hp, many party features, cool wingsand stickers, a firmer suspension, etc.

This costs a little over 50,000 euros.

That's a lot of money for such a small car.

On the other hand, you don't buy thiscar rationally.

You buy it because you like it.

You have to think it's cool and fun to drive,be okay it's less comfortable than its rivals, but if you like driving and need cars with moreride height because there are no paved roads, this can be a good option.

Or, if you live in Englandwith its bumpy roads, the extra ride height is nice.

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