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Mini Countryman: Test Drive Review

Date: 29 July 2010   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £21,820
Key rival: VW Golf

The Countryman represents a whole series of Mini firsts. As well as being the first serious fleet proposition, it is also the first four-door Mini and the first to be available with four-wheel drive.

Only the range-topping four-wheel drive 184hp Cooper S model was available at the early event BusinessCar attended, and it is a world away from the diesel expected to dominate sales. However, there were conclusions to be drawn about the car ahead of trying the 116g/km diesel in the coming months.

The looks, gently described by many as 'challenging' after seeing the initial pictures, are a little better in the metal, but fail to carry off the cuter look of the hatchback The inside is typical Mini, with the same switchgear and large central speedo as the rest of the line-up. The rear will feature a three-seat bench as standard, or two individual seats as a no-cost option and the rear seats slide to give owners a choice of more rear legroom or a larger boot.

Despite Mini's attempts to convince otherwise, the Countryman does predictably lose some of the hatchback's "go-kart like handling", as the higher weight and centre of gravity have an impact on the driving experience. The performance is also a little lagging when compared with the same engine fitted to smaller and more nimble siblings. It's a more normal lower medium competitor, rather than the stand-out supermini that the hatchback is. The pay-off is that, even on the larger wheels fitted to the Cooper S, ride quality felt promising.

But despite the toned-down driving experience, this car will take Mini into a whole new, more practical class, and RVs look close to the industry-leading hatch, with KwikCarcost predicting a 46.5% RV. There'll be plenty of interest from the Ford Focus and VW Golf - and very successful Nissan Qashqai - drivers that Mini is targeting.

Mini Cooper S Countryman All4
P11D price£21,820
Model price range£16,000-£21,820
Fuel consumption42.2mpg
CO2 (tax) 157g/km (20%)
BIK 20/40% per month£73/£145
Service intervalvariable mls
Insurance (1-50)group 31
Warranty3yrs/ unlimited mls
Boot space (min/max)350/1170 litres
Engine size/power1598cc/184hp
Top speed/0-62mph130mph/7.9secs
On sale 18 September 2010
VerdictWe’ll be interested to try the
more fleet-friendly versions


We’ll be interested to try the more fleet-friendly versions