Mini has given the biggest and most versatile member of its model family, the Countryman, an update. Not only has the crossover’s external styling been mildly tweaked, but there are also additions to the equipment range and new, innovative technology. Plus there are changes to the engine line-up, new emissions-reducing tech, and a plug-in hybrid. Prices now start from £23,500 for the entry-level Cooper, with first deliveries expected in August.
Let’s just consider how important a model the Countryman is for Mini. Since it hit the market in its second-generation form in 2017, it’s accounted for just under 30 per cent of Mini’s global sales. So, the facelift is important to the company as the Countryman goes head-to-head with the likes of the VW T-Roc, Nissan Juke and Audi Q2.
Ok, so what are the main changes?
Look closely and you’ll notice this facelifted model gets a new front grille, new front and rear bumpers, and a choice of new alloy designs; buyers can choose options up to 19 inches. Pop round to the rear of the car, and you’ll spot the new Union Flag tail-light signatures.
Up front, night driving conditions will be improved thanks to new adaptive LED headlamps with auto-dimming as standard. And if you’d rather get rid of the ‘standard’ chrome finishings, you can tick the options box for ‘piano black’ exterior trim.
And what’s it like in the cabin?
Here there’s a new five-inch digital instrument cluster — now standard on every trim level — lifted straight from the Mini Electric hatchback. The dashboard and door cards are now trimmed in Piano Black, and buyers can choose from two new leather upholstery colours — Indigo Blue and Chester Malt Brown. Also on the options list, similar to that of the outgoing Countryman, are a 6.5-inch or 8.8-inch central touchscreen infotainment system.
The latest Countryman is available with the same basic range of engines as the pre-facelift model. That said, Mini has introduced a new range of efficiency and performance tweaks. There’s a new, higher-pressure direct injection system and a redesigned cylinder head for the petrol engine, while the diesel unit now includes an updated AdBlue system, to help the meet the latest Euro 6d emissions standards.
Ok, so what are the engine choices?
Four engines choices — two petrols, one diesel and a PHEV — are now available. And Mini says all of the engines are Euro 6d compliant. The entry-level Cooper gets a 134bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit, capable of 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds and a top speed of 127mph. Next-up, the Cooper S, which starts at £26,000, is powered by a 176bhp (down from 189bhp) 2.0-litre petrol. It’ll cover 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and max out at 140mph.
The Countryman diesel range now starts at £25,500 for the Cooper D. Power comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine fitted with a newly-revised two-stage turbocharging system. Boasting the same bhp and torque as the outgoing model — 148bhp and 243lb/ft — it gets to 62mph from standstill in 9.1 seconds, has a top speed of 122mph, and Mini says it’ll return between 64.2 and 67.3mpg at the pumps.
Across the whole new Countryman range, buyers can up-spec each model, be it petrol or diesel, with an all-wheel-drive system; this also includes an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Price for AWD? £3,400.
Didn’t you mention a plug-in hybrid?
I did. Not surprisingly, the PHEV sits near the top of the new Countryman range. Priced from £34,700, power comes from a turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor and a 9.6kWh battery pack; combined, the trio generate a total output of 217bhp.
While the petrol unit sends drive to the front axle via a six-speed automatic gearbox, the electric motor supplies the rear. According to Mini, the PHEV combo allows the Countryman to cover up to 38 miles solely on electric power. Official fuel figures are 166.1mpg … but we all know, in the real world you’ll get nowhere near that figure.
And what about bootspace?
It’s pretty much as it was before. The non-hybrid models will swallow 450 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place. Fold the rear bench seats down, and that increases dramatically to 1,390-litres. However, because of the PHEV’s battery pack, which takes up 45 litres of space, standard bootspace drops to 405 litres.