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2017 MINI MINI-Countryman Overview
MINI's Countryman is bigger for 2017 with a complete redesign opening up room throughout the vehicle. MINI's Countryman project manager Julius Schluppkotten said in a statement that the Countryman's new interior emphasizes the car's suitability for family use as a primary vehicle. Using the previous Countryman as a primary family hauler seemed unthinkable given its diminutive size.
New for 2017
At a glance, the new Countryman doesn't look drastically changed from the outgoing model. Overall length, however, has increased 7.8 inches, the body is an inch wider and the wheelbase is extended 2.9 inches. Ground clearance is also increased from the outgoing 5.9 inches to 6.5 inches. Those are not insignificant changes. Along with the new dimensions are additional features such as an optional power liftgate and LED headlights.
A longer wheelbase opens up room on the inside. Rear legroom is substantially increased from 33.8 inches to 37.6 inches, while front and rear headroom and shoulder room also grow. The back door openings are larger than before for easier ingress and egress, plus the backseat now slides fore and aft up to 5 inches and also reclines. Cargo room has increased 30 percent to 17.6 cubic feet behind the backseat and a total 47.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the 40/20/40-split folding backseat -- much more competitive numbers against small SUVs such as the Buick Encore and Fiat 500X. The cargo area has a picnic bench feature that folds out of the liftgate; it has a padded sitting surface for two people.
Styling inside remains uniquely MINI. Like the exterior, the cabin has a similar shape but is all new with wild and brightly colored displays, fun toggle switches and an available 8.8-inch touchscreen multimedia system with navigation. Standard features include a panoramic sunroof, leatherette upholstery, smart keyless entry and 17-inch wheels. Upgrading to the higher-performance Cooper S trim adds sport seats, 18-inch wheels; with all-wheel drive heated seats are standard.
New tech features include MINI Connected infotainment system that syncs appointments with an Apple iPhone or Apple Watch and, through the car's navigation system, can tell you the optimal departure time to make the next meeting using current traffic data. On the optional 8.8-inch system, a MINI Find Mate connectivity feature uses Bluetooth tags to track items in the car by attaching a tag to a briefcase or other important item, pinging the tag with an audible beep if it's in the car. If it's not detected, MINI Find Mate can navigate to the last destination where the item was detected by the car.
Under the Hood
There are three powertrains for 2017 including an all-new plug-in electric version called the Cooper S E Countryman ALL4. Perhaps the most notable change is that all-wheel drive isn't limited to Cooper S models any longer; you can now option a base model with AWD, and the plug-in hybrid comes with a unique AWD configuration.
A new 134-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder base engine replaces the wheezy 121-hp, naturally aspirated four-cylinder for substantial zero-to-60-mph improvement of up to 1.6 seconds between 2016 and 2017 automatic-equipped models. The Cooper S has a more-powerful 189-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 30 additional pounds-feet of torque, now at 207 pounds-feet. An optional suspension system tailors suspension firmness at the push of a button in the Mid, Sport and Green driving modes that also adjust throttle, steering and automatic transmission programming for a sportier or more comfortable driving experience.
All Countryman models except the plug-in hybrid come standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Optional on front-wheel-drive base models is a six-speed automatic transmission; the AWD model gets an eight-speed automatic transmission. The only automatic option for the Cooper S -- FWD or AWD -- is the eight-speed automatic.
The S E Countryman ALL4 is MINI's first plug-in hybrid vehicle, which uses a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, while the rear wheels are driven by an 87-hp electric motor powered by a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. Total output is 221 hp and 284 pounds-feet of torque good for 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is slightly faster than the Cooper S' best of 7 seconds. MINI estimates the S E Countryman ALL4 can travel up to 24 miles on electric-only power and can drive up to 77 mph in electric-only mode.
Standard safety features include a backup camera and rear parking sensors. Optional safety features are front parking sensors, a precollision system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, and adaptive cruise control.
Overview courtesy of Cars.com