What is it?
This is the diesel Mini Cooper Countryman and is also the first Mini to be assembled in India. Priced at Rs 25.9 lakh it is the most practical Mini to buy hence the ideal Mini offering for India. This funky crossover competes with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Volvo V40 Cross Country and closer to family, the BMW 1 series.
How does it look?
This is called as a Mini but it is not 'Mini' in size having a length of 4097mm. This is the biggest Mini and also the first one to have five doors yet its still unmistakably a Mini. It has got all the usual Mini styling cues draped all over it and we like it for that. The unique and funky styling makes it stand out from the crowd. There are curves all over the place and the front is the traditional Mini face with the large headlights, hexagonal radiator grille and an upright windscreen. The three horizontal grille slats on the Mini One Contryman are black while those on the Cooper D Countryman are matt silver.
Move to the side and this is where is starts to look like a crossover and you cannot miss those massive alloys. At the rear the upright tail-lights positioned on the outer edges make the car look wide plus there is also the big Mini logo at the back which also acts as a boot release. All that and plus being in the stunning colour that you see, resulted in a car that attracts massive attention. Everywhere we went camera phones were whipped out and you are given celebrity status where ever you go.
How is it on the inside?
Just like the exterior the interior is dripping with character and high quality materials. This is an interior that feels special and you can spend a lot of time just gazing at the myriad shapes and curves all over plus those little unique touches. This is one special place to be in. The handbrake for example looks like it belongs on a cockpit of a plane and its a joy to use that plis the massive central speedo.
Little details like that we otherwise ignore are elevated to a whole new level of design in this car. The overall quality and ambience is just superb and it really feels more expensive that it actually is. Space is better than what its prodjects from the outside and at the rear its perfect for two while three can be a bit of a squeeze.
What about features?
The feature list is long but notable mentions include the terrific Hi-fi harmnan/kardon system plus the usual features like Bluetooth, glass roof, automatic aircon, park distance control. However electric adjustment for seats is something that was sorely missed.
How does it drive?
The talking point here is the 110 bhp diesel and thats what new here. While 110 bhp may not sound that much it performs quite well thanks to the 270Nm of torque at your disposal plus the gearbox. The Countryman D gets a six speed auto and it is quite responsive. In the city the Countryman D is quick to respond and there is very less turbo-lag. To put it in numbers the Countryman D does 0-100 kmph in 11.3 seconds.
In the handling department the Countryman D is fun and not just for a crossover. Of course it cannot be as nimble as the other smaller Mini Cooper but due to its compactness and sharp steering it performs very well. The ride though gets choppy.
What about fuel efficiency?
Being a diesel it offers less running costs and during our tests we got around 11-12 kmpl which is respectable.
So should I buy one?
The Mini Cooper D Countryman is a fun car at its heart and in diesel guise it is wearing a cloak of practicality. Thing is though its still a Mini which means that if you are sold on the styling nothing else at this price or even higher has the style or the unique character that it has. It looks great and the interior is truly special though we would have liked some more features at this price.
The Countryman D starts as 25.9 lakh and the Cooper D high comes in at 29.5 lakh. This is not as fun to drive as the BMW 1 Series but if you want a stylish crossover with a smidgen of practicality this is it.
Words- Somnath Chatterjee Photography- Rajeev Bhendwal