2017 MINI COUNTRYMAN FIRST LOOK: NOW WITH MORE PLUG-IN
Mini is constantly pushing the limits of its own brand name. The second-generation Clubman became the biggest Mini yet when it debuted and now, the 2017 Mini Countryman takes back that title with its enlarged footprint. In addition to getting the latest crop of Mini engines, the new Countryman also adds the brand’s first plug-in hybrid variant.
The 2017 Countryman grows in nearly every dimension over its predecessor, now 8.0-8.1 inches longer, 1.3 inches wider, and with a wheelbase that’s 2.9 inches longer. At 105.1 inches, the wheelbase is identical to that of the Clubman and related BMW X1. The Countryman is considerably smaller than the X1, however. Still, Mini promises the new Countryman will offer the “most spacious Mini interior ever” thanks to the new UKL2 architecture.
Looks-wise, not much has changed. The new Countryman features more angular headlights, as opposed to the rounder, teardrop-shaped units on the outgoing model. The grille is now slimmer, and all models sport the frowning front-end look that was previously only available on Cooper S models and up. Aside from the difference in size, you’ll find it difficult spotting the changes from the side and rear. The 2017 Countryman gets new taillights with a circular LED design element, however.
The second-gen Countryman receives the new engines that first debuted with the Hardtop hatchback. Those engines include a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder that makes 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque for the Cooper model, and a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 making 189 hp and 207 lb-ft for Cooper S models. Both engines can be paired with an updated ALL4 all-wheel-drive system and a six-speed manual transmission. Base front-wheel-drive models have the option of a six-speed automatic, but all others get an eight-speed auto as the optional transmission choice. Mini says the three-cylinder produces 42 percent more torque than the old base turbo 1.6-liter I-4, and scoots the Countryman to 60 mph in 9.3 seconds, 1.6 seconds quicker than before. Read more...