This weekend I got my hands on the new Mini Countryman. There's been much head-scratching about this car. Firstly, it's not very Mini. Secondly, rather than just building a more compact Golf, the Countryman is masquerading as a kind of Los Angeles soft-roader.

If you've got a Saturday afternoon on your hands - and you like watching automotive exotica - the King's Road in Chelsea is a good place to spend time. It's also the spiritual home of the Mini as a 1960s fashion icon and still the UK's fashionista central.

So, in the interests of rigorous market research, I took the Countryman for a mid-afternoon bumble down the Kings Road to see if the target clientele noticed the newest and least mini Mini.

In this job you get to drive a lot of a brand new metal and, aside from the odd exception like the last Skyline GT-R, the man and woman in the street didn't pay much attention.

The Mini Countryman might not be a supercar, but it caused a wave of pointing and double takes the full length of the King's Road. Quite a few people pulled on their friends' arms to gain their attention and then started an arm waving discussion about the Countryman's design.