Mini gains more room and looks

The Mini Countryman.
The Mini Countryman. Contributed

WHEN is a Mini not a Mini? Answer: when it's the new Countryman SUV. It may be a contradiction in terms but this is a genuinely large Mini.

It is certainly a good looking four-door SUV, and the interior space for occupants and luggage is an improvement over other Minis in the ever-expanding range.

Positively, the rear seats are very accommodating for two adults, thanks to the Countryman's extra width.

All-wheel drive is available on a Mini for the first time with the Countryman ALL4, and as is typical with anything from the BMW-Mini stable, you have seemingly countless specification, engine and colour options to choose from.

Engines on offer are all 1.6-litre four-cylinders, with a 90kW petrol in the Cooper Countryman; an 82kW diesel for the Cooper D Countryman in 2WD and 4WD; and 135kW turbocharged petrols in the Cooper S Countryman 2WD or AWD.

The Countryman already has a lengthy waiting list in Europe such is its popularity, and is hoping for similar strong sales now the SUV was available in Queensland.

Interest is sure to be high for the funky Countryman, as Mini has established a strong reputation for producing quality cars with loyal owners. With lack of space being a common complaint, however, it will be intriguing to see if the new Mini SUV captures the imagination of families, cashed-up surfies and the style conscious.

Prices start at $42,454 drive away for the entry-level Cooper Countryman, rising to a significant $66,426 for the Cooper Countryman SD ALL4 Chilli automatic.

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