When the Mini Countryman was introduced in 2010, the criticisms leveled against it were harsh but expected. Purists scoffed that it departed too much from the iconic Mini brand. And because it was bigger and longer, some even questioned if it was still, technically, a “Mini.”
But Mini’s gamble seems to have paid off, with the Countryman being embraced by longtime fans and even managing to convert skeptics. At the launch of the second generation of the Mini Cooper Countryman recently, Peter “Sunny” Medalla, Regional Head of Mini Asia, said that a total of about 550,000 units of the model have been sold since it was first launched. He added that about one in four Minis currently on the road today is a Countryman, which just goes to show that even a brand as well-known and as well-loved as Mini could benefit from the occasional makeover.
“The whole idea about the Mini Countryman was to capture a whole new segment of Mini lovers,” Medalla said. “While the car has evolved in terms of size, in terms of spaciousness, the ethos of being a Mini, which is the design, how it drives and how it feels, will always remain. That’s the promise of the brand.”
If you’re a Mini purist, avert your eyes and go find something else to play with. Twenty centimeters longer than the old model, the new Countryman is the biggest Mini ever. The wheelbase has been extended by 7.5 centimeters, resulting in a significantly increased interior space.
“It sits in a completely new platform,” Medalla said. “It rides much more comfortably and much smoother.” He also emphasized the electric-powered tailgate, which allows hands-free opening and closing.
“One thing I need to highlight, is that in the Philippines, it’s the first time we’re launching a diesel variant of the Mini, unlike the previous Countryman, where we only had petrol or gasoline,” he added. “With diesel, it’s much more economical, without any sacrifice for torque or power.”
Other standard features include a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, backup camera, parking sensors, and a smart infotainment system.
The new Countryman comes in Cooper D and Cooper SD variants. The Cooper D has a max output of 150hp at 4,000 rpm, max torque of 330Nm at 2,500 rpm and can zoom from zero to 100 kph in 8.8 seconds. Top speed: 208 kph. The SD meanwhile has an output of 190hp at 4,000 rpm, max torque at 400 Nm from 2,500 rpm, and can go to 100 kph in 7.7 seconds. Top speed: 220 kph.
Translation: never let it be said that your Mini Cooper isn’t equipped with power when you need it.
One other nifty feature in the new Countryman is the Picnic Bench, which is basically a flexible surface that folds out of the luggage compartment and can provide seating for two people outside of the car. It’s useful for when you need to, say, tie your shoelaces or simply just take a moment to enjoy wherever the car takes you.
For better or worse, with this all-new Countryman, the British marque is finally taking the “Mini” out of miniature.
The new Mini Cooper D Countryman retails at P2.9M while the Mini Cooper SD Countryman is P3.4M. Visit mini.com.ph for more information.