In 2010, Mini expanded its range with a more family-oriented model: the Countryman. At the time, it was 4.10 m long and appealed to small families. Seven years later, the second generation went to 4.30 m to make it even more practical and roomy. For the third generation, the British-German manufacturer is going even further by making its SUV grow again, this time by 13 cm. Thus, the Countryman vintage 2023 reaches 4.43 m long, for 1.61 m high (+ 6 cm).
Even more family-friendly, the Countryman nevertheless retains its DNA with its large grille framed by two headlights between the round and the square, on which is affixed an LED light signature. For the adventurous aspect, the shields inherit an aluminum-style protective shoe, while the black plastics extend over the wheel arches and the sills. The profile adopts the same flush door handles and imposing mirrors as the new electric Mini Cooper. The SUV stands out with a unique treatment of the quarter panel, extending from the contrasting roof and featuring a small inscription specifying the version (here All4 for all-wheel drive).
The rear, meanwhile, seems more stretched than before, a bit like a backpack. On the tailgate, a large Mini logo surmounts the Countryman inscription in full, while the diffuser is relatively thick. This has a silver shoe as before, which incorporates the reversing light. The vertical lights have the right to OLED technology, as on the city car, allowing their light signature to evolve from the Union Jack to simpler vertical stripes.
A simplified dashboard and more space
Inside, the Countryman logically shares a lot with the new Mini Cooper. The textile dashboard is very similar, although the air vents here are vertical, as are the door handles. A little less hollow, it takes on the other hand the central round OLED screen of 24 cm in diameter. For the first time in the automotive industry, the display is done over the entire round surface (driving information, navigation, air conditioning, etc.). Some controls (start, driving mode, audio volume) are located under the slab. The center console is slightly different, with a more imposing armrest, a second pull-out pocket and a slot for your smartphone in height, which also serves as an induction charger.
Thanks to its increased dimensions, the Countryman is much more welcoming in the back. We feel more comfortable, whether in the legs (the seat seems a little longer) or in the head. The architecture also makes it possible to reduce the service tunnel, which leaves a little more legroom for the central passenger. The newcomer should also be more comfortable thanks to a softer adjusted damping as we were able to experience during a passenger ride a few months ago aboard a prototype. The trunk volume also gains with 460 L (55 L more) in 5-seater configuration or 1,450 L with the bench folded down. This one is also sliding on 13 cm.
The third generation of the Countryman also evolves greatly under the hood. By using a platform common to the new BMW X1, the Mini SUV can have conventional thermal engines (petrol “C” or diesel), but also an unprecedented electric engine. It will even be available in two battery-powered variants. The entry-level Countryman E delivers 204 hp and 250 Nm of torque, and sprints from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.6 s. The Countryman SE version offers 313 hp as in the iX1, and 494 Nm of torque. The exercise from 0 to 100 km/h is achieved in 5.6 s. The 64.7 kWh battery is identical for both versions, and allows a range of 433 km for the “SE” and 462 km for the “E” according to the manufacturer. The charging power reaches 22 kW in alternating current and 130 kW in direct current. It remains to know the details of the price range, by the marketing in the fall.
Photos : DR.
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To sum up
A family model in the range since 2010, the Mini Countryman is still growing with its third generation. It shares its platform with the new BMW X1 and offers an unprecedented electric motorization in addition to thermal variants.