News : MINI Countryman (2017) makes a giant splash

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Keith Adams

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The 2017 MINI Countryman has been revealed and, just like its predecessor, it moves very much into the Austin Maxi way of thinking by being bigger, better equipped and more distant from the original entry-level hatchback. However, the Countryman is a product which will bring more economies of scale to the MINI marque, as it comes into line with BMW’s platform strategy by being based on the underpinnings of the 2 Series Active Tourer.

The 2017 Mini Countryman is bigger on the inside, too, with a bigger boot – 450 litres seats up, 1309 seats down, a 220-litre improvement over the previous Countryman, larger rear doors and more space for passengers and driver.

The engine and equipment package now falls in line with the rest of the MINI range, gaining the F56’s huge centre dial with a touchscreen option. It’s powered by the same range of three- and four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo engines, and also comes with a plug-in hybrid variant.

The Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4 combines its 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with an 87bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels for 221bhp and 284lb ft. MINI claims a 0-60mph of 6.7 seconds. No prices have been announced for this model yet.

The base Cooper trim starts at £22,465, while the flagship MINI Cooper SD ALL4 Countryman weighs in at  £29,565 before options, and the range goes on sale in February 2017.

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Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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24 Comments

  1. That hybrid model sounds interesting, with decent performance stats. Wonder what the price will be.

    If BMW can keep it under 30k, it will go down a storm with the Surrey/Cheshire MILF set.

  2. I hope it’s an improvement on the 2015 model my sister has. That thing is big on the outside, small on the inside and the ride is back-breakingly hard. Even my wife’s BMW 3 Series M-Sport feels soft and cossetting in comparison!

  3. Bigger Uglier and not made here – should someone not contact the Trading Standards department over the use of the name MINI?

  4. So we’ve got a new BMW built in Austria badged as a Mini,who was it said that you can’t put lipstick on a pig?,it’s huge,ugly and overpriced. Just the thing for a League One WAG isn’t it?

  5. I remember going to the original launch of the first generation version at the Cowley plant. It’s ugliness was simply breathtaking.

    Now, they appear to have come up with something even worse!!

    We used to be passionate about our new MINI’s, but they are now mostly a laughingstock. How very sad.

      • I take it that you’ve overlooked how their sales, which grew very strongly for the first 7 or 8 years have grown much, much more slowly since then?
        I take it the fact that the Fiat 500 outsells it strongly in the MINI’s home market isn’t a consideration?
        The 2 seater versions flopped quite badly, as did the Paceman and the previous Countryman.
        I want to see MINI and Cowley succeed, really I do, but they can’t take their eye off the ball like this.

  6. Follows the standard German design philosophy. Make it indistinguishable from the previous model until you get them side by side and then play spot the difference.

    • Great point. It struck me recently that I can’t tell one generation of A4 from another!

      However one side effect of this is that used values remain high, as the older model still looks fresh, compared to a manufacturer who rolls out a revolutionary design every generation.

      A 15 year old MINI hatch still looks fresh, and a 10 year old 3 series could almost pass for the new model. The baseball cap crew rejoice that they can obtain an old A3 to modify/ruin that looks vaguely like that sold to suburban junior bankers.

      Compare this to, for example, the latest x08 models from Peugeot, which made the x07/308 mk1 models look dated overnight.

  7. The previous MINI Countryman and Paceman were made under contract by Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria. This arrangement ends in 2016, moving the new Countryman production to the brand’s Oxford plant and some to the MINI NedCar Plant in the Netherlands.

  8. Personally I think it better looking than the first one.

    BMW will no longer use Magna for the Countryman, I imagine this will be produced at Cowley as NedCar will produce more 3 doors and the exclusively the convertible.

    • You could have a point there. Trying to work out if the Mk1 of the Mk2 Countryman is the uglier car is not that straightforward. What we have here is a top of the range new Countryman, with lots of extras; while the basic shape might be hideously ugly, the lashings of chrome do go a little way to dulling the pain just a little.

      Comparing basic Countryman 1 & 2’s side by side would be fairer. In the Mk 1’s favour, in very low light conditions, from a great distance, with lots of imagination, it looks vaguely reminiscent of Frank Stephenson’s original R50. For the Mk2 to pull off the same trick, it would probably need to be a foggy day too.

      It’s left me struggling to think of a single car, available today, that’s uglier than either of them. The front end of the latest generation of Vauxhall Vivaro van does share some of the Countryman’s worst styling cues, but the featureless oblong box that forms the rest of the van is streets ahead in attractiveness.

      • You mention that the mk1 looked a bit like a larger R50, to me the Paceman looked like a 125% photocopy of a great MINI silhouette. If they had reduced it down as a small hatchback it would’ve been a great looking little car. (As per the plan with the Rocketman concept)

    • I read in The Times the other day that it will be produced at the NedCar plant. The way it was written suggested it would be produced there exclusively.

      • “BMW, the German custodian of the brand for the past two decades, has decided to build it not at its sprawling plant at Cowley in Oxford but at a factory in the Netherlands.”

  9. Perhaps an article is due on the Austrian car industry then, which must have produced tens of thousands of Pacemans and Countrymans, and the Steyr Puch brand, I’m sure, had links to Fiat in the past and assembled 500s( old variety) under licence.
    Also the other part of what was Austria- Hungary has found a very successful niche in assembling the Suzuki Swift, itself a cheaper alternative to a Mini, and the Audi TT.

  10. I wonder if the Countryman will come with a spare wheel? I had three punctures with my Countryman one of which ruined a day out . Now I drive a Kia Sportage with spare wheel, peace of mind on long journeys,

  11. Of course this car made a giant splash….just look at the size of it. It’s bigger than a Maxi and nearly as badly styled.

    Why people buy them at that price is beyond me.

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