2017 Mini Cooper Countryman Preview

Christian Wardlaw | Oct 26, 2016
FAST FACTS
  • Largest Mini car model ever, surpassing size of Clubman
  • Turbocharged 3-cylinder or 4-cylinder engine
  • Manual or automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • Available with plug-in hybrid powertrain
  • Optional Dynamic Damper Control suspension
  • Next-generation Mini Connected infotainment system
  • New Island Blue and Chestnut paint colors
  • On sale in March 2017, with plug-in following in summer

2017_mini-cooper-s-countryman_p90240576_lowres_600.jpg

2017 Mini Cooper S Countryman front quarter right photo

Introduction

The Mini Clubman’s reign as the largest car ever offered by the automaker was a short one. Behold the redesigned 2017 Mini Cooper Countryman, which is longer, wider, and roomier inside than the model it replaces, and which the automaker now claims is its largest vehicle.

When the new 2017 Countryman goes on sale early next year, it will be offered in Cooper and Cooper S trim. In the summer of 2017, a plug-in hybrid version called the Cooper S E will become available.

Exterior Features

For 2017, the Mini Countryman grows by 7.8 inches in length on a wheelbase that is stretched 2.9 inches. The compact crossover SUV is also an inch wider. These changes result in a roomier interior.

Familiar design cues instantly identify the Countryman, but the new version benefits from a more chiseled appearance. Exaggerated SUV styling cues in the form of gray plastic cladding, silver rocker panel covers, and front and rear protection plates better signal the Countryman’s membership in the crossover SUV club.

Standard equipment includes 17-in. aluminum wheels, rear park-assist sensors, automatic headlights, and rain-sensing wipers. The Cooper S trim includes LED headlights and running lights, and larger 18-in. wheels.

Interior Features

Traditional Mini design cues continue inside, governing the control layout and the cabin’s overall appearance.

Standard equipment includes dual-zone automatic climate control, leatherette upholstery, panoramic sunroof, keyless access and push-button engine starting, and a 6.5-in. Mini Connected infotainment system with Bluetooth, Siri, and a reversing camera. With the optional ALL4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, heated seats are also standard. The Cooper S has sport-bolstered front seats.

Mini improves legroom and headroom for all occupants, and passengers in the rear seat benefit from added shoulder room. Mini strongly underscores that three people can sit abreast in the Countryman’s rear seat.

The rear seat reclines and slides forward and back with up to 5 inches of travel. It is a 40/20/40 split-folding design, and when used the Countryman holds 17.6 cu. ft. of cargo. Fold it down and maximum volume measures 47.6 cu. ft., an improvement of 5.4 cu. ft. over the old model.

Optional Features

Buyers will be able to customize a Countryman in myriad ways. Mini supplies a large selection of paint colors, wheel designs, interior materials, and accessories. Wheel sizes up to 19 inches in diameter are available.

Available upgrades include quilted leather, power-adjustable front seats with driver memory, LED ambient interior lighting with exterior Mini logo projection, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, and a power rear liftgate. New for 2017, a Mini Picnic Bench rear bumper and sill cover allows two people to sit on the edge of the cargo area.

Under the Hood

The standard Cooper Countryman has a turbocharged, 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine. It makes 134 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and 162 lb.-ft. of torque starting at 1,250 rpm, the latter figure representing a 42% improvement in torque over last year’s base engine, according to Mini. The new Countryman weighs a minimum of 3,300 lbs.

A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, with a 6-speed automatic transmission optional. Upgrade to the ALL4 AWD system and an 8-speed sport automatic is standard. Mini claims that the Cooper Countryman accelerates to 60 mph 1.6 seconds faster than before, at 9.3 seconds. With ALL4 that time rises to 9.5 seconds, the automaker says.

The Cooper S Countryman has a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 189 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 207 lb.-ft. of torque at 1,250 rpm. It comes with a 6-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed sports automatic. Acceleration to 60 mph takes a minimum of 7.2 seconds unless you opt for ALL4, which improves the time to 7 seconds flat, according to Mini.

A plug-in hybrid, the Cooper S E ALL4 Countryman (yes, that is the name, I think) has a turbocharged, 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine, an electric motor, a 7.6-kWh Lithium-ion battery, and a 6-speed automatic transmission. Peak power measures 221 horsepower and 284 lb.-ft. of torque, making this version the quickest at 6.8 seconds to 60 mph. Mini says the Countryman EV (so much simpler) supplies 24 miles of range and a 75-mph top speed. It takes 3.25 hours to recharge using a 240-volt system, according to the automaker.

The ALL4 AWD system is a next-generation version of the technology, but since the Countryman offers just 6.5 inches of ground clearance, you’ll use the new Mini Country Timer feature sparingly. Drivers can adjust the Countryman’s dynamic demeanor using the Mid, Sport, and Green driving modes, and a new Dynamic Damper Control suspension is an option.

Safety

As is expected of a modern redesigned vehicle, the new Countryman offers a number of driving-assistance technologies. Fittingly, they are bundled into the Mini Driving Assistant package, which contains a forward-collision warning system with pedestrian detection and city braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, and road sign recognition.

Mini has not announced or confirmed other safety-related features. The Countryman will offer a Parking Assistant feature that steers the vehicle into parallel parking spaces while the driver operates the pedals and transmission.

Technology

An optional Technology package installs an 8.8-in. touch-screen display, next-generation version of Mini Connected, navigation system, Qi wireless charging, and a new Mini Find Mate Bluetooth tagging feature.

Next-generation Mini Connected technology is now compatible with Apple CarPlay and Apple Watch, and serves as a “personal mobility assistant” with an expanded range of functions including the ability to detect common routes and warn of traffic delays, to save popular destinations automatically to the navigation system, and others.

Mini Find Mate allows the Countryman’s owner to attach two tags with Bluetooth wireless tracking functionality to frequently used items, like a purse or a briefcase, and notifies the owner if these items are not on board in an effort to prevent loss or theft.

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