When the first generation of the Countryman appeared in 2010, it had very few rivals in the subcompact SUV segment. Today, a slew of new models have been added to the category, and it was time for MINI to modernise its little utility vehicle.
The 2017 Countryman has been thoroughly redesigned, but keeps its happy face that sets it apart. It has become the biggest vehicle ever produced by the English brand, and the most spacious, too. According to the manufacturer, the new Countryman’s cockpit will offer more head, shoulder and legroom, front and back. The cargo area is also said to be 30% larger than in the outgoing model, with a maximum volume of 1348 litres when the rear seatbacks are folded down.
The usual MINI powertrains are on board here, including a turbocharged, 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that develops 134 horsepower in the base Cooper. The Cooper S version benefits from a turbocharged, 2.0-litre four that produces 189 hp. In both cases, manual and automatic transmissions will be offered, as will an ALL4 all-wheel drivetrain. A John Cooper Works version should soon be added to the Countryman, boasting a 228-hp powertrain and a sport suspension.
However, the big news is the introduction of the Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid. It’s equipped with the 1.5-litre turbo engine matched to an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack for a combined output of 221 horsepower. According to MINI, the vehicle’s driving range in fully electric mode is about 38 km, and with a 240-volt outlet, a full recharge will take an estimated three hours and 15 minutes.
The 2017 MINI Countryman will be on sale in Canada in March 2017.