Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive: Mini Countryman - Final Report
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Our Fleet Test Drive: Mini Countryman - Final Report

Date: 04 April 2012   |   Author: Guy Bird

Mini's largest ever car arrived for evaluation with BusinessCar last July - big, bold, and in bright blue, unashamed, which is more than could be said about its temporary new owner when faced with the stares and shaking heads of some smaller Mini owners of various generations I encountered.

But as I said back then, the experience of living with the Countryman Cooper D was one I was interested in partly because of its potential controversy.

I quickly came to appreciate that boldness and equally its easy access via five wide-opening doors to a spacious cabin for passengers and their kit [1]. Boot space is tall rather than deep, but with sliding seats the 350 litres becomes 450, and when a holiday's worth of luggage needed to be housed, Mini Park Lane did a great job of fitting a stylish roof box in quick time to add to the car's 'adventure-ready' looks [2]. Satnav able to take a full English postcode garnered praise as did the interior's wonderful colour-adjustable ambient lighting [3]. Both are options worth having.

Our engine and transmission choice - the 112hp 1.6 diesel manual in front-wheel drive with standard stop/start and a 115g/km CO2 rating - helped keep mainly city driving fuel costs manageable and ensures its super-low 13% BIK rating only rises to 15% in April 2013. However, neither our decent 47.2mpg 'high', let alone 34.5mpg 'low', could get anywhere near the official combined 64.2mpg or 60.1mpg urban figure.

Meanwhile, those used to the enjoyable drive of regular Minis will surely be disappointed with its lack of manoeuvrability, and although the steering was pleasingly firm, the ride was sometimes a little harsh. Ultimately, though, as someone who previously saw the Countryman as a brand extension too far for the small car firm, after seven months living with the vehicle I have way more respect for it as a useful and characterful family car in a sea of often dull options. The final epiphany came after parking next to a VW Golf Plus and glancing back at the two cars in an otherwise deserted car park - "Glad I'm in the Countryman," I thought to myself as I plipped the remote and walked away.

Mini Cooper D Countryman
Our average consumption43.0mpg
Forecast CPM43.9p
Actual CPM46.7p