Ready For Adventure…

From the outside the bigger and better MINI Countryman has a striking new identity. Inside there is a sense of less is more, but nothing is missing, writes Paul Agnew. Photography: Peter Austin

Attempting to improve a car of truly iconic status is, at the very least, a high-risk strategy. Surely safer to leave well alone – if it ain’t broken etc etc.

But MINI hasn’t earned its place at the motoring top table by playing things safe or standing still.

So they have taken the Countryman – a model that has served the brand so successfully – and made it better, much better.

And bigger, much bigger.

In fact, you have to give yourself a p-inch (for those still dealing in old money) when you first set eyes on it!

Hard to believe that the all-new MINI Countryman is only 13cm longer and 6cm taller than its predecessor, for this is a vehicle with a striking new identity and a real presence.

It owns the showroom in a way that is impossible to ignore, demanding attention and drawing you in for closer inspection. And when you do, expect to be blown away. There are no disappointments here. Still the same MINI Countryman in many ways, but so different in others. And so grown up.

Dominant and distinctive with chrome-free design elements, sleek and athletic elegance, but with the unmistakable MINI spirit. Robust and ready for adventure, count on its muscular SUV build whether on or off the beaten track.

No clutter or just-for-the-sake-of-it extras, just the handsome good looks, clean lines and striking appearance as before.

Inside there is definitely a sense of less is more, but nothing is missing.

A host of impressive features include a recycled fabric dashboard and a smaller (heated) steering wheel (to emphasise the go-kart feel) which is wrapped in attractive and sustainable Vescin upholstery, as are the ultra-comfortable seats.

Oh, and not forgetting the truly mind-blowing OLED display.

This pizza size (240mm), one-of-a-kind, world-first, centre-piece is a genuine take-your-breath-away stunner, not only looking great but housing everything you need to stay connected.

Serving as an instrument cluster as well as the infotainment and assistance hub, all features can be explored through this one focal point, via intuitive touch or voice control.

Let your mood transform the look and feel of the cockpit with a choice of eight MINI Experience Modes, each following its own individual creative design, ambient lighting and sound palette. You can even download your favourite photo (partner, pet, holiday snap or whatever) as a personal screensaver and enjoy a back massage while setting it up!

A newly-designed toggle bar provides access to everything from parking brake and gears, to MINI Experience Modes, and much more, all within easy reach along with a host of multifunctional controls on the steering wheel.

Across the various models, much of it coming as ‘standard’, are the likes of LED headlights, auto air conditioning, cruise control, parking assistant, heated seats, cameras – including one inside, driver facing – head-up display, panoramic glass sunroof, wireless charging tray, roof rails and automatic tailgate, e-call and teleservices, Harmon Kardon sound system, electric seat adjustment with memory and MINI navigation.

Trust me that is just a brief overview of the selection of goodies provided, depending on the model you choose.

Talking of which – from the entry level ‘C’ (Classic) to the top-of-the-range ‘JCW’ (John Cooper Works), all are powered by lively petrol engines.

The 1.5 litre Classic comes with three cylinders, can zip from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds and deliver 45.6mpg (combined).

The two-litre JCW comes with four cylinders, can fizz from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and deliver 36.2mpg (combined).

As for the drive? Every bit as good as you anticipate. Although bigger and carrying more of a punch, it remains a fun car, handles superbly, nippy around town and very comfortable on longer journeys.

Power, spontaneity and responsive steering make for an electrifying performance and, on the subject of electric, the new all-electric MINI Countryman is just around the corner.

Generous in size and highly versatile, there is ample room for five long-legged adults and up to 25 per cent more luggage space while ‘comfort access’ means you never need to go rustling to find your keys. This clever car automatically detects and verifies the key in pocket/bag and does the locking and unlocking without troubling you.

The all-new MINI Countryman is certainly a big deal, surely set to be one of the most sought-after cars of 2024.

As for demographic and identifying the perfect owner – well that’s a toughie. Hard to say who is best suited in terms of age, gender or need.

Oh, hang on, I’ve got it. Everyone.

Bowker Preston
Channel Way
Preston PR2 2YA
01772 761234



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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