The second-generation Mini Countryman debuted at the 2016 LA Auto Show but made its first Indian appearance only at the 2018 Auto Expo earlier this year. Nevertheless, the 2018 Countryman is finally here and is now available at a Mini dealership near you starting at Rs 34.9 lakh (ex-showroom).
Like most new Minis, it’s grown larger in size – 200 mm longer and 30mm wider to be precise. The wheelbase has been extended too, by 75 mm. Mini is quick to point out though, that despite the increase in size, the Countryman still maintains its trademark proportions. Therefore, the wheels are pushed out to the farthest corners, the overhangs are minimal and the bodywork is visually split into three distinctive portions – the main body, the glasshouse and what Mini likes to call, the helmet roof that is specific to the Countryman model line.
The second-generation model identifies itself with a revised oval shape for the headlamps, a ring of LED lighting for the daytime running lights, new detailing for the vertical taillights and two new exterior shades – Island Blue and Chestnut Brown. Taller roof rails, redesigned cladding and an increased ground clearance, beef up the Countryman’s rugged appearance and highlight its intent of driving off the tarmac too.
To that effect, the Mini Countryman gets the all-wheel-drive capability that Mini calls ALL4. The Countryman is predominately is a front-wheel-drive car like the new BMW X1 that it shares its UKL2 platform with, but it can also power the rear wheels when the terrain is slippery. The Countryman is available in two variants, the Cooper S and Cooper SD. The Cooper S is powered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, good for 192 PS and 280 Nm while the Cooper SD comes with a 2.0-litre diesel motor which puts out 190 PS and 400 Nm. Both engines come standard with an 8-speed Steptronic transmission. A high-performance JCW variant with uprated power and sportier styling will launch in some time.
Given its increased size, the new Countryman also boasts of improved cabin space. The boot space is a generous 450 l with all seats up or 1309l with the rear seats folded down. A 40:20:40 split on the rear seats adds more versatility to the Countryman’s cargo hauling capabilities. The cabin is done up in typical Mini flamboyance. The infotainment is compatible with Apple CarPlay and gets new-age connected technologies too.
Using the Mini Connected App, the Countryman can not only transmit trip, fuel and service information to the phone, it can also read the smartphone’s calendar entries and help the user plan the trip to meetings and outings as per the schedule. A new Find Mate system also lets users electronically tag items like luggage, apparel, cases etc. during a road trip and should the users misplace any of the tagged items, the Countryman and its connected apps can help track them.
The 2018 Countryman also features a higher seating now for a more commanding view of the road. There is a heads-up display, reversing camera and sensors, cruise control and a high beam assistant. The cabin is secured with front, side and curtain airbags.
The Mini Countryman’s natural rivals in India are the Volkswagen Beetle and its own stablemates like the Cooper Hatch and the Clubman, but it’s pricing and intent also pips it against cars like the BMW X1, the Mercedes-Benz GLA, the Audi Q3 and the soon to be launched Volvo XC40.