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New Mini Countryman Test Drive Review

Date: 14 November 2014   |   Author:

Revised styling, greater efficiency and subtle engineering changes mark out the mid-life refresh for the Countryman crossover, the biggest car in Mini's range.

The company's designers have created a distinction between the Cooper S and lower trim levels, with a hexagonal grille finished in chrome for the higher trim, and a split high-gloss black version on the One and matt silver on the Cooper. LED daytime running lights and fog lights are a new feature on the Cooper trim level and above. The All4 all-wheel drive models, are also now more distinguishable, with bodyguard cladding designed to make the point that the car has off-road ability.

Inside, Mini claims that acoustic refinement has been enhanced, although refinement is probably best described as average for the class, while the cabin has also been tweaked with subtle touches including anthracite-coloured dials.

The slight efficiency improvements - brought about by optimising air ducting, lower-friction wheel bearings and lower rolling-resistance tyres - mean every model drops one benefit-in-kind band as a result.

The 112hp All4 Cooper D driven here emits 128g/km, just 1g/km less than the four-wheel drive 130hp Nissan Qashqai that can be considered the biggest rival. Skoda's all-wheel drive Yeti offers 140hp, but is badly off the pace for emissions, with its 152g/km being 24g/km and five BIK bands higher than the Countryman.

The Mini can't get very close to the Qashqai's 37.2% residual value, and its 35% figure is both disappointing for a brand renowned for bullet-proof RVs, and also behind the Yeti's 35.4%. Boot space is also more compromised in the Mini, which is 80 litres shy of the Nissan, and the interior, while more characterful and individual than any rival, doesn't quite feel as classy as other vehicles in the segment.

Mini Countryman Cooper D All4 CPM 52.4p
P11D price £23,480
Model price range £16,435-£29,410
Residual value 35.0%
Depreciat­ion £15,255
Fuel £6288
Service, maintenance and repair         £1887
Vehicle Excise Duty £220
National Insurance £2139
Cost per mile 52.4p
Fuel consumption 57.6mpg
CO2 (tax) 128g/km (21%)
BIK 20/40% per month £82/£164
Service interval variable miles
Insurance (1-50) group 14
Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles
Boot space (min/max) 350/1170 litres
Engine size/power 1598cc/112hp
Top speed/0-60mph 112mph/11.6secs
On sale October 2014
 

Verdict


Subtle improvements inside and out for a costs winner
8/10

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