Motoring News 5.4.2017 09:53 am

The Mini Cooper Countryman grows up

1500 and two litre engines launched, diesel and all-wheel-drive versions coming later.

The new Mini Countryman has been unveiled in SA and it is bigger than ever before, making it the largest Mini the company has made.

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Initially it will be available with a choice of two turbo-petrol engines, a 3-cylinder 1 499 cc producing 100 kW, and 220 Nm, or a 4-cylinder 1 998 cc producing 141 kW and 280 Nm.

These, the Mini Cooper Countryman and the Mini Cooper S Countryman, will be joined by the Mini Cooper D Countryman, with a 1 995cc 4-cylinder diesel engine in the third quarter. This model will produce 110 kW and 330 Nm.

The only all wheel drive version will be available with the Mini Countryman John Cooper Works, also later this year. As an alternative to the standard 6-speed manual transmission, a 6-speed Steptronic transmission is also offered for the new Mini Cooper Countryman.

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An 8-speed Steptronic transmission is available for the new Mini Cooper S Countryman, which means it does a fair bit of changing, but performs nicely. Despite having only frontwheel drive, and despite having run-flat tyres (or could that be because of?) the Mini was particularly impressive over poor road surfaces.

Natal has plenty of dirt and potholed roads, as well as goats and pedestrians, but the Mini proved agile and surprisingly comfortable under all circumstances.

This is due to run the combination of a single-joint spring strut axle at the front and a multilink rear axle with a design and a slightly raised ride-height. The Countryman comes with 16-inch light alloy wheels and the S with 17-inch.

The Countryman is going to appeal to the young-tech savvy family and tech it has aplenty. The standard fittings of the Countryman include the Radio Mini Boost with four-line display in the central instrument and a Bluetooth hands-free telephone facility.

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Options include the Radio Mini Largest mini yet: New countryman introduced in south africa The Mini Cooper grows up Visual Boost with 6.5-inch colour display, the Harman Kardon hi-fi speaker system, the Mini navigation system and the Mini navigation system Professional.

The features of the Wired package, including Mini navigation system Professional, comprise not just the Touch Controller on the centre console but also an 8.8- inch colour screen in the central instrument with a new graphic design. It is also a touchscreen and includes the Country Tim er, which registers all travel over sloping, uneven, unsurfaced and snow-covered roads and tracks.

The driving situation is analysed based on data supplied by the control unit of the Dynamic Stability Control function.

In this way it is possible to observe how fast and how persistent the new Mini Countryman is surpassing the status of “Street Cruiser” and striving to achieve the “Cliff Champ” category. The standard collision warning with city braking function can be extended to include the Driving Assistant system with camera-based active cruise control, pedestrian warning with initial brake function, high beam assistant and road sign detection.

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In addition to this, Park Distance Control, rear view camera, Parking Assistant and Head-Up-Display are also optionally available. A tow hitch with removable ball head is likewise available.

Based on a flexible platform, the Open Mobility Cloud, Mini Connected integrates the vehicle into the Mini driver’s digital life via touchpoints such as the Apple iPhone and Apple Watch.

Mini Connected informs the driver of the optimum departure time based on calendar entries and current traffic data.

Address data and appointments saved by the driver previously on a smartphone via Mini Connected are automatically transferred to the car and do not have to be entered in the navigation system again.

The feature can also save regularly visited places as favourite destinations and it detects frequently covered routes so as to be able to inform the driver in the event of unexpected traffic delays.

Another new feature Find Mate. This forms part of the Wired package and consists of socalled tags with a wireless tracking function that can be att ached to frequently used objects and travel items such as bags, cases, key rings and rucksacks.

Find Mate is able to track the location of any such objects connected to the system that the driver wants to be sure not to forget: tracking is done not only on the on-board computer, but also on a smartphone.

Providing there is a Bluetooth connection with the tag, an acoustic signal can be activated in the car or on the smartphone to help locate the object. If the tag is outside the Bluetooth range, the driver can be guided to the place at which a connection was last detected.

A useful, if more mundane, option is the Picnic Bench – a flexible surface that folds out of the luggage compartment and provides seating for two people.

The Countryman really does have a “get outdoors” aspect to it while mostly maintaining its “Mininess” and is certainly an option for Mini fans who have started a family and as an alternative to some pretty expensive
competitors.

info
Model Pricing

  • Cooper Countryman – 6-speed manual …………………………………..R422 000
  • Cooper Countryman – 6-speed automatic ……………………………..R440 000
  • Cooper S Countryman – 6-speed manual ……………………………….R490 000
  • Cooper S Countryman – 8-speed automatic …………………………..R509 500

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