First DriveMildly revised Mini Countryman Cooper S uses improved economy, performance and refinement to fight off its growing band of rivals
First DriveThe Countryman has gained the engine it has been crying out for, with enough torque to deal with its extra weight and decent fuel economy, too.
What is it?
The Countryman is currently the second most popular Mini body style, so it does make perfect sense for BMW to improve its diesel offering. So along with every other Mini in the range, the Countryman can be specified with what is now the most powerful diesel in the line up, the 143bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre 'four.
What’s it like?
In many ways, this engine suits the Countryman better than any of its siblings. As the heaviest Mini in the range - by a long stretch in All4 guise - the Countryman really does need all the torque it can find. And this new turbo diesel develops more torque than any other engine in the MINI range, including the John Cooper Works power plant. That’s 225lb ft of the twisting stuff, which is very welcome.
That maximum torque is developed from a relatively low 1750rpm really helps – this is not the most refined diesel out there but it does imbue the Countryman good low-speed response. But unlike its siblings equipped with the same powerplant, it won’t give much enjoyment if you push a bit harder. Body roll is uncomfortable and mid-corner bumps have a habit of knocking the car off line, which isn’t much fun.
Should I buy one?
Treat this Countryman – as I suspect most owners will – as a relaxed cruiser that’ll accommodate four six-footers in comfort and it works well. And for those put off by the poor fuel economy of the petrol Countryman, the 57.6mpg on offer will also be welcome. Add an interior that must be the most entertaining in the class and you’ve got a little SUV that really stands out.
But if you’ve come looking for the handling dynamics that so distinguishes much of the rest of the Mini range, you really need to look elsewhere. And the Mini Cooper SD with the same engine is a good place to start.
Mini Cooper SD All4 Countryman
Price: £23,190; Top speed: 121mph; 0-62mph: 9.4secs; Economy: 57.6mpg; Co2: 130g/km; Kerbweight: 1470kgs; Engine type, cc: four cylinder, 1995cc; Power: 143bhp@4000rpm; Torque: 225lb ft at 1750-2700rpm; Gearbox: six speed manual