MINI has detailed its all-new Countryman ‘SUV’, bringing more space, more metal and more options to customers for the 2017 model-year.
The regular Countryman range might be overshadowed by the arrival of the Countryman E, but the regular models have their own list of improvements.
High on that list is greater interior space, with MINI saying the Countryman now has “five fully-fledged seats”.
Speaking of seats, the new Countryman now comes with an optional fold-out picnic seat which sits on the luggage compartment lid. An electric tailgate is optional, which can be opened with touchless controls.
But the extra room means the new MINI Countryman is even less mini-sized than ever, having stretched a full 200mm over its predecessor. The wheelbase is 750mm longer, and the total available cargo space has risen 220 litres to 1309 litres.
To compensate for the extra metal, MINI says the powerplants have tightened their belts with greater efficiency and finer tuning for the ALL4 all-wheel-drive system (optional in all models).
Four engines will be available in various markets, including a 100kW/220Nm three-cylinder petrol engine, a 141kW/280Nm four-cylinder petrol, a 110kW/330Nm four-cylinder diesel and a 140kW/400Nm four-cylinder diesel.
All engines feature MINI’s TwinPower turbocharging technology, with the three-pot being 1.5 litres in capacity while the remainder are all 2.0 litres units.
Customers have the choice of manual or Steptronic automatic transmissions, both six-speed with the three-cylinder engine, while the four-cylinder units are available with eight-speed autos (standard in 140kW/400Nm SD Countryman).
Equipped with the petrol engine and eight-speed auto, the Countryman can hit 100km/h from rest in 7.2 seconds - 0.9 seconds faster than the previous model. The model-best fuel figure is 4.3 l/100km, down 0.2 l/100km, in the 110kW four-cylinder diesel.
Options for the enthusiast include Dynamic Damper Control with two settings, and a MIN Driving Modes system with three choices - MID, Sport or Green. There’s also MINI Country Timer, which measures the time spent driving along various surfaces that aren’t tarmac.
The interior also features Radio MINI Boost, Bluetooth and phone connectivity, while a 6.5-inch colour screen with navigation and a Harmon Kardon premium audio system are optional.
The MINI Connected app is now available to Countryman buyers, which is compatible with Apple iPhone and Apple Watch, allowing users to combine calendar appointments, favourite destinations, traffic data and more for easier time-management.
The 2017 MINI Countryman will make its official debut at next month’s LA Auto Show, with sales in Europe to begin in February next year.
For Australia, the local range and pricing will be confirmed early in 2017, with the new model scheduled to arrive before the middle of the year.
MORE: 2017 MINI Countryman E Revealed - MINI Goes PHEV
VISIT THE SHOWROOM: MINI Countryman models - pricing, features, specifications
MORE News & Reviews: MINI | Countryman | SUVs