OUR FLEET TEST DRIVE: Mini Countryman - 2nd Report
08 August 2011
Author: Guy Bird
Our Countryman is still a brand new experience so we're discovering loads on every journey.
Its sheer size, for example, is confusing. The other night I came home late to my London street and although there were two decent-sized parking spaces left, I wasn't confident of fitting easily into either of them - something you'd expect to do in a car traditionally associated with being a city vehicle and more recently a nimble supermini. The Countryman might look like the latter but it's so much bigger, as our photo of a chance encounter with its smaller sibling shows. Maybe if the proportions were more significantly enlarged in one direction - rather than pumped up almost equally in length, height and width - its shape wouldn't play as many visual tricks.
On the subject of parking, the Countryman has an aircraft-style manual parking brake with a horizontal handle like on old Vauxhall Zafiras and Renault Meganes. Stylish it may be, but it's awkward within the confines of this car - the armrest needs to be up to perform the task easily - and seems to require more effort than normal handbrakes. Indeed, I noticed online aftermarket kits are available for such brakes to add leverage. Surely a sign of form over function?
|Mini Cooper D Countryman (manual)|
|Claimed combined |
|Our average |
|Model price range||£16,345-£24,440|
|CO2 (tax) ||115g/km/13%|
|BIK 20/40% per month||£42/£83|
|Service interval|| Variable|
|Boot space (min/max)||350/1170 litres|
|Why we’re running it||To see if it’s a |
too far or whether
Mini can be
|Positive||Standout looks, |
neat interior displays
|Negative||Looks, size, |