MINI Cooper has grown up since it was reintroduced to the American market in 2001.
And like other bantam brands, MINI has produced a spectrum of models to fit Cooper loyalists’ lifestyles.
The subcompact MINI Cooper Countryman has been redesigned for 2017 with fresh exterior styling, an upgraded cabin, and more cargo space.
Countryman’s body length is stretched nine inches attached to a wheelbase that is three inches longer than its predecessor.
Up to five occupants become the benefactors of Countryman’s enhanced size with more head and legroom up front and generous backseat knee and hip room to accommodate two adults comfortably.
Nearly 18 cubic feet of rear load capacity is available when second row riders are in place.
When unoccupied, lowering the 40/20/40 split-fold rear seatbacks offers flexible carrying solutions and opens the cargo volume to a maximum 47.6 cu-ft.
I recently tested the 2017 MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 with standard features that include a panoramic moonroof, heated front sport seats, sliding and reclining rear seats, rearview camera, runflat tires and all-wheel drive.
Countryman’s base model is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 134 horsepower coupled to a six-speed manual or optional six-speed automatic transmission.
My test model comes with a 189-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual gearbox. An eight-speed automatic with steering wheel paddle shifters is available.
The top-tier Countryman John Cooper Works ALL-4 is shipped with a 228-hp twin-turbocharged 2.0-liter mated to a six-speed automatic. An eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters is extra.
Fuel economy averages 23 miles per gallon/city and 32 mpg/highway across the three-engine lineup.
MINI’s interior design is one of distinct features with a novel switchgear and gauge layout that adds youth and personality to Cooper’s quirky styling theme, setting the bar for flashy cabins in the post-Millennium world.
Reigning dead center in the dashboard is Cooper’s signature pie-plate size gauge cluster and information display ringed with LED lights.
Ring colors are programmable and offer owners the flexibility to personalize the look to suit their mood and taste. The circular hue can also be shut off.
The 2017 MINI Cooper Countryman is priced from $26,000 to $37,800 with the Cooper S Countryman ALL4 starting at $31,600. Prices include $850 for freight.