With extra length and two extra doors, is the Mini Countryman still a Mini? Priyadarshan Bawikar investigates...
We have mentioned earlier how surprisingly spacious the back seats of this two-door hot hatch are. But let’s face it, you’re still going to be hard pressed to fit two regular sized adults in there. If you do want to make a car dedicated to the task of carrying four to five people about regularly, you need a longer wheelbase and two extra doors. And that’s exactly what the Mini Countryman is.
Now Mini bills the Countryman as a crossover SUV, but you’d have a very hard time believing that once you see the car in the flesh, especially in the Cooper S trim. Yes, it’s bigger than the hatch, and the ground clearance has been bumped up a bit (although not significantly so), but there’s nothing on the car to indicate that it would handle any of the rough stuff.
Some might like to argue that the Mini Countryman won the Dakar Rally this year and has been going great guns in the WRC as well. But the rally version of the Countryman bears as much similarity to the road car as the current Mini hatch bears to the original Mini, which is to say not much at all.
Maybe the ALL4 four-wheel drive equipped Countryman might have better luck at tackling a bit of off-road use, but the Countryman Cooper S (Also Read:MINI launches its Cooper and Countryman model range) with its revvy turbocharged engine and stiffened suspension is best suited for tarmac use. That being said, where the Countryman does excel is in terms of space – there’s a huge amount of it in the back of the cabin as well as the boot.
Get in the driver’s seat though, and you’ll be hard pressed to figure out what the difference between this and Cooper S is really. It’s got the exact same funky, yet functional interior, the same mad “look-at-me” speedometer in the middle of the dash around the multimedia display. The only tiny differentiators are the two buttons to control the rear power windows flanking the central locking switch.