I didn’t want to start having a go at Minis again, especially after such a well-received marketplace feature in this week’s magazine.

After speaking to Mini specialists and owners I was willing to consider that there is possibly a case for the small hatch. But now after it showed the Countryman, it does seem to be a model too far.

Personally I find it ferociously ugly. All the original Mini variants looked proportionate and pretty.

Right now the really rather odd Clubman isn’t actually selling in the UK anyway, due in part to the bizarre door configuration, while the name confusion also continues.

Obviously there is not enough wood, or even plastic wood for me but surely this ought to be branded as a modern version of the phenomenally successful Austin Morris 1100/1300.

That diced with the Escort as the UK’s best seller for years, but the modern Countryman’s packaging seems all wrong to me. Style over content and practicality seems to be the defining values of the new Mini brand.

Giving the customers what you think they might want does work. That’s how Issigonis designed the original because he knew best.

A friend of mine who worked at a Saab franchise and now at a Saab specialist knows why the marque has die – it killed the hatch.

Saab misunderstood its buyers and the marketplace. Mini may be doing the same. But then again, Mini has supplied us with a handy-sized, friendly looking 4x4 on the back of all the bad weather this winter.

Yes I’ve changed my mind, the Countryman is a stroke of genius.

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