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MINI Countryman

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

The MINI Countryman re-invents itself in third generation form. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 54

The third generation MINI Countryman serves up an even trendier confection for youthfully-minded customers in the lower-mid-sized SUV segment. There's a divisive look, a completely redesigned and more practical cabin and full-electric drivetrains for those wanting them. It's all about as far from the original wood-panelled middle-class '60s Countryman estate as you could imagine.

Backgroundword count: 168

Here's a different kind of MINI Countryman. The third generation version of the brand's lower-mid-sized SUV has grown in size. First to leave space beneath it in the range for the company's new Aceman small SUV. And second so it can share all its underpinnings and powertrains with BMW's X1 and iX1 models. This MK3 Countryman is built in a BMW factory too, the Leipzig plant that makes the 1 Series; it's the first time that BMW's and MINIs have run along the same production line. Petrol power continues, but as our previous 'BMW iX1' reference suggests, the big news this time round is that instead of the electrified Countryman offering being a Plug-in Hybrid, it's a full-EV. As with the second generation MINI Cooper Electric, there are two battery variants, though here, they use a completely different battery and platform. What this Countryman does now share with that smaller MINI model is its completely redesigned cabin with its new screen and media technology. It's a rejuvenated proposition.

Engines and Tech Specword count: 257

MINI wants to be a full-EV brand - but not quite yet. Which is why, though new full-electric variants headline this third generation Countryman line-up, a huge proportion of sales will still be of the combustion models. With diesel consigned to history, these are all of the petrol-powered sort and must all use auto transmission. The big numbers are likely to be accounted for by the entry-level front-driven Countryman C with its 1.5-litre 168hp three cylinder turbo unit, good for 62mph in 8.3s en route to 132mph. The other two combustion Countrymans have four-cylinder 2.0-litre units allied to MINI's All4 four wheel drive system. The Countryman S offers 215hp (0-62mph in 7.1s and 142mph); and the Countryman JCW All4 has 296hp (0-62mph in 5.4s and 155mph). What about the full-EV variants? Well there are two, both using a 64.7kWh battery. Things kick off with the single motor Countryman Electric E, which offers 201hp, 62mph in 8.6s and a range of 287 miles. The alternative is the Countryman Electric SE, which adds an extra electric motor on the rear axle, creating a nominal four-wheel drive system. This boosts total output to 308hp with 494Nm of torque and the 62mph sprint time drops to just 5.6s. But range drops too - to 269 miles. Different chassis settings are available depending on the model you choose, including an adaptive suspension option that lowers ride height by 15mm. You can select between seven 'MINI Experience' modes - 'Core', 'Green', 'Go-kart', 'Personal', 'Vibrant', Timeless' and 'Balance' - each with a corresponding soundtrack.

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Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
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