2017 Mini Countryman Overview – Video
There was shock among some Mini fans when the brand launched a maxi-size vehicle called the Countryman six years ago. While the “big Mini” looked relatively enormous in European traffic, it managed to maintain an aura of cuteness in the United States, where the roads are dominated by massive pickup trucks and SUVs. Now a market success in the U.S. and elsewhere, the Countryman’s sales volumes are worth preserving, so here’s the second iteration of the model. It’s bigger still.
The new Countryman’s wheelbase is larger by 2.9 inches, its overall length is up by 8.5 inches, and its width has increased by 1.3 inches. It needed to grow if only to stay ahead of the second generation of the Clubman, which eclipsed the first-gen Countryman in size. At 169.8 inches long, 71.7 inches wide, and 61.3 inches tall, the Countryman now is the undisputed king of the Mini lineup—longer than the Clubman by 1.5 inches, wider by 0.8 inch, and 4.6 inches taller, although both models ride on the same 105.1-inch wheelbase.
The Cooper and Cooper S powertrains are familiar from elsewhere in the Mini lineup. The Cooper has a 134-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder that’s mated to a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Cooper S comes with a 189-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, but here the available automatic has eight forward speeds.
The plug-in hybrid is the top-of-the-line Countryman. It combines the three-cylinder engine, the six-speed automatic, and an electric motor that operates on the rear axle. Total system output is 221 horsepower and 284 lb-ft of torque. Under ideal conditions, the hybrid can travel a maximum of 24 miles solely on electric power. Those ideal conditions don’t include high-speed runs—it can reach a respectable 77 mph on electricity only, but range will be significantly compromised by traveling at those velocities. Recharging the lithium-ion batteries at a 3.6-kilowatt wall box takes just over two hours. Charging it using a standard 110-volt household outlet will take a lot longer.