In an SUV-hungry market, this Mini looks as the right product at the right time.
The the new generation Countryman is the most spacious Mini offered and marks an important step in expanding the Mini model family.
With the All4, all-wheel driving system, that automatically delivers power to the wheels, the Countyman is a more adaptive vehicle to drive in winter on icy Canadian roads.So, a product, with good chances of success in the premium compact segment.
The design is beautiful. and when I look at the vehicle and its proportions, (which I enjoyed so much) it looks attractive and dynamic.
Not surprisingly, The Countryman is the best-selling Mini in Canada. The all-wheel-drive, four-door Countryman is offered in Cooper S form as well as a high-performance John Cooper Works (JCW) model. Both are powered by 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines. A plug-in hybrid version will follow, which is a first for Mini.
Driving Impressions: From Burlington to North Bay
This time (we had conducted another test early in the year) I drove this car for a long daily trip from Burlington to Nipissing University in North Bay. This route is almost 800 kilometers with a return trip. And on the cold and rainy day with partial night drive, it makes a difference what type of vehicle you drive.
With 181 horsepower under the hood, the standard all-wheel drive and the optional six-speed manumatic I enjoyed the drive and felt safe on the highway and on the side streets. The engine’s power is distributed seamlessly between the front and rear axles by an electromagnetic centre differential. The All4 system’s control electronics are integrated directly into the management unit of the Dynamic Stability Control system.
Understandably, the go-cart like driving characteristics of the essential Mini do not exactly exist in this model. A fair trade-off for a bigger model with more space for passengers and cargo. Yet a dynamic, sporty driving remains with some resemblance to the products of the German mother (aka BMW).
The interior is unmistakably Mini with toggle switches and the giant, round central display that functions now as the infotainment screen controlled by the BMW inspired -Drive. What I like most is the “very vertical” A-pillar and a retro-design must, allowing a very good forward vision and excellent headroom. The seats are comfortable. with hard, yet ergonomic shells spelling build-quality.
Sliding and folding rear seats, a high roofline and especially adjustable trunk floor make this vehicle a serious and highly functional compact SUV.
With three drive modes (Sport, Mid and Green) the setups are similar to BMW and help to customize your driving experience.
Once peoples’ car with a character, the Mini as we know today is not a cheap alternative for the masses. Our fully loaded test vehicle has a MSRP of almost 45 grands, including options worth 13 grand. BMW positioned Mini as a premium brand. As my daughter, who is a very experienced driver with a lot of BMW and Mini experience calls, “Mini is a cheaper BMW” which is to me not a negative definition.
Base MSRP: $29,290
Essentials Package: $1,450
(Panorama sunroof, heated front seats, centre armrest In Rear, Front Fog Lights, Adjustable Rear Seats
LED Lights Package: $1,400
(LED foglights & headlights)
Wired Navigation Package: $1,200
(On-board navigation, MINI Connected XL, Wireless Charging with Extended Bluetooth and USB, Wired Package, 8.8″ Touch Screen)
Visibility Package: $800
(Rear View Camera, Park distance Control, rear, MINI Head-Up Display
Style Package: $650
(MINI Your sport leather steering wheel, Chrome Line Interior, Chrome Line Exterior, Interior Trim Piano Black)
Stand Alone Options:
Leather Chester: $2,250
Automatic Transmission: $1,500
18″ Pin Spoke Silver RFT (18 x 7.5, 225/50 R18)
Harman Kardon Sound system: $750
Metallic Paint: $590
Picnic Bench: $250
White Bonnet Stripes: $150
Test Drivers: Varol McKars, Basak Mc Kars,
Pictures: Varol McKars, , Burak McKars
Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada
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