Where Size Matters

Where Size Matters

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
01 Aug 2017
We do love the car, as it is quirky, and a step away from how others have designed their SUVs / Crossovers
What we like:
Build quality
Boot Space
What we dislike:
Handling is a mixed bag with a little too much roll

Start the 1.5 litre, three-cylindered turbocharged engine, even on idle, you’d not be able to tell that it’s a 3-banger. The only hint, comes to you when the car restarts itself when start-stop is on, where there is a notable slight wobble from the front. Step out of the car when the engine is on, and you can hear the characteristic popping noise from the three-pot.

With 136bhp on tap, the Cooper Countryman hits 100km/h in a respectable 9.6 seconds. While there are sport settings on the Countryman, these only affect the way the engine and transmission behaves. The Cooper model does not come with the S model’s trick suspension.

As go-kart-ish MINI would want to make the Cooper Countryman, it truly is a compromise with this car, and we felt it around some tight corners and bumpy surfaces. The dampening feels a little soft, which is good for comfort, though the springs could have been softer for a more comfortable ride. This would have been good in “Comfort” and “Eco” modes, but flick the car to “Sport” and drive it harder, and it would wallow around the bends. A harder damper setup, would have been ideal in this case, but drop it back into “Comfort” mode, and the car would then be rather uncomfortable. This really is a slippery slope of attempting to meet people’s needs and expectations.

Turn in hard into a corner, and you can feel the large MINI plough forward a little, with not much of a hint of feeling ‘go-karty’. Drive it at more normal speeds, and it does reward you with a very controlled drive. There is however a little more roll compared to other MINIs due to the added ride height.

The Countryman feels very un-SUV like, the moment you hop in, it feels all MINI, apart from the added body roll. We do love the car, as it is quirky, and a step away from how others have designed their SUVs / Crossovers. The practical passenger and cargo room is actually good, not just for a MINI, but as a car in general. It may not be extremely fast, nor does it handle the best, that would be the job of the Cooper S Countryman variant. But even with the BMW underpinnings, MINI had managed to create a car that is still with a soul of a MINI.

What Do We Think


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