MINI Countryman : First Drive
With extra length and two extra doors, is the Mini Countryman still a Mini? Priyadarshan Bawikar investigates...
In the back, the extra leg room and the extra head room are welcome additions. And on top of that, having your own doors to get in and out of the car is the best part. Flexibility is the Countryman’s middle name, with a 40-20-40 split folding rear seat and a 350-litre boot, which can be upped to a whopping 1,170 litres with the rear seats folded flat. When it comes to the exterior looks, it’s a little difficult to describe the Countryman as conventionally pretty – quirky comes close, especially with the new headlight and grille design. The added bulk though does add to the car’s on-road presence, without looking disproportionate from any angle, and yet maintaining that quintessential MINI design language.
Under the hood, the Countryman Cooper S packs the same 1.6-litre inline-4 petrol engine with a twin-scroll turbo for some extra oomph - with 184PS of power on tap, performance isn’t a big problem. The 100km/h mark comes up in 9.4 seconds and top speed is well north of 200km/h – not bad for a 4-door, 5-seat hatchback (yes, this is more of a hatchback than an SUV)! Compared to the regular Cooper S though, the Countryman’s handling is just not as sharp, but this is easily the best handling 4-door hatchback in the Indian market today.
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