The Mini Countryman was the largest Mini in the model’s lifetime. At more than four metres long, it’s over a foot longer than the regular Mini, or roughly the same length as a typical modern supermini, while the younger Clubman and Paceman are both slightly longer. The second generation car may only look like an evolution, rather than a revolution, but its size is set to increase by 200mm in length and its width and height is set to increase also.
It’s also the first Mini to get two doors in each side of its body, and what Mini describes as a “large tailgate”.
Nonetheless, Mini’s designers have gone to some lengths to maintain many of the regular Mini’s styling characteristics. We’re not totally sold on how they integrate into these proportions, but it’s worth noting that the basic Mini proportions have been with us in one form or another since 1959, so perhaps it’s just a case of getting used to it.
What can’t be denied is that they give the Countryman an upright stance like no Mini before it. It’s 10cm wider and some 15cm taller than the regular hatch.
Like the original Countryman, which had visible seams, the vent surrounds follow the A-pillar line down to the wheel arch. Headlight detailing has become increasingly complex in recent years, but few have detailing as intricate as the Countryman’s.
Unlike the original Austin Mini, but very much like the current hatch, the Countryman gets an enormous bonnet pressing that covers both wings and drapes around the light clusters. The bulge in the middle of the bonnet doesn’t need to be there for engine-clearing purposes but surely adds a little rigidity to the large structure, as well as implying some ‘oomph’.
As on several Volkswagens and Fiats, the prominent bootlid badge also acts as the handle for the rear hatch. Sculpting detail helps to cleave air from the rear of the car without it becoming too turbulent, reducing drag and dirt build-up on rear screen, while the rear light clusters stick well out from the bodywork, just like on the original Countryman.