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Mini Cooper S Countryman

Mini badge, maximum style, four doors, and a go-anywhere attitude, not to mention John Cooper Works-inspired elements. Is the Countryman the Mini you need?

Story: Jim Gorde
Photography: Saurabh Botre

 

Today, big is the new small. The world has turned topsy-turvy and everyone seems to be needing some form of crossover because — well, who needs one car for just one thing any more? It’s all about mixing style and desirability with practicality and everyday usability. Look at the market today and it may seem that the days of affordable, small cars that could be used every day and be fun at the same time are long gone. Now, inflation has gotten to even small cars’ price tags and fun cars are pretty much twice the cost of the normal ones. If you do, however, have the budget for a small car that’s also reasonably large and can handle a fair bit of the rough stuff, you would probably be looking at a premium compact crossover offering like this Mini Cooper S Countryman.

The Countryman was revised last year and the all-new car shares more than some bits with its Bavarian X-rated cousin. Like the Cooper S, it also packs a potent turbo-petrol engine and is front-wheel-drive, but the higher ground clearance and good spread of torque mean it can manage more than its fair share of road surfaces or even a complete lack of them. Have they put in everything you need, though?

The styling is definitely distinct. The bulbous, rectangular headlamps with LED surrounds look right at you. The split front grille looks unique, while the contrasting white racing stripes stand out, especially on this British Racing Green example, as do the white mirror covers and roof. The JCW-Inspired package brings the aero kit, a rear spoiler, and 18-inch “Thrill” dual-tone alloy wheels with 225/50 rubber. The power tail-gate is a plus, as is the hands-free function, which gives access to the 450-litre boot and, in this JCW-kitted version, a picnic bench, too. So, it has the details outside. What does it pack inside?

Mini Cooper S Countryman

The panoramic glass roof with twin sun-blinds makes for an airy cabin. However, it’s not really compact. Minis sure have grown. There’s more than enough space for four, with the further possibility of seating another petite occupant in the middle of the second row. There isn’t any shortage of passenger room front or rear. The equipment list in here, too, is quite lengthy. The centre console is almost lit up with the huge central light surround containing the central display with mood-lighting, thanks to the standard Excitement Pack in here. There’s also the hazard light switch and the controls for the audio system. Below those are the climate controls and various other car functions, with the pulsating red start/stop button never failing to catch the eye. The JCW-Inspired edition, which adds Rs 6.5 lakh to the price tag, also adds the “comfort access” keyless go system which is almost a necessity at this price; no more rummaging for the car keys. Other additions include the anthracite headliner, door sills, stainless-steel pedals, JCW sport steering wheel, the head-up display behind it, plus the premium audio system, navigation and connectivity features, including wireless charging.

Mini Cooper S Countryman

Push the little red switch in the centre and the engine comes alive. It’s refined and reasonably muted to the point of not being smothered. The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, TwinPower Turbo-petrol makes 192 PS and 280 Nm, all of which are funnelled to the front wheels through the eight-speed automatic transmission and electronic differential — there’s no ALL4 all-wheel-drive system here. Either way, few will venture across some serious untameable terrain with this thing. For everything else, there’s a drive mode, and that 165 mm of ground clearance.

More on page 2 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Automotive Correspondent at Bike India and Car India.
Believes that learning never stops. Loves V8 engines as much as a good breakfast.
t: @BikeIndia / @CarIndia

 

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