2017 Mini Countryman Cooper SD Review

For 2017 the Mini Countryman is bigger than ever, and its styling ditches some (but not all) of the retro-kitschy cues of previous Mini models. This is meant to be a modern Mini, not a complete retro-reheat, and a vehicle of its very own.
It may not be small by Mini standards, but it's still no giant in the SUV realm. Useful space has been increased, with a more roomy interior and bigger boot making this one better suited to young families than the previous model while still maintaining its inner-city agility.
Vehicle Style: Small SUV
Price: $51,500 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 140kW/400Nm 2.0-litre 4cyl | 8sp automatic
Fuel Economy Claimed: 5.2 l/100km | Tested: 7.2 l/100km
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There’s a hotter John Cooper Works version on the way, but until it arrives the Mini Cooper SD Countryman is the flag-waving range-topper for the time being.
At $51,500 plus on roads the price position is knocking at the door of genuine prestige models, as well as larger mainstream SUVs, but for Mini buyers the unique look and attitude is part of the package. As with any designer item, that comes at a price.
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  • Standard Equipment: Cloth and leather seat trim, dual-zone climate control, JCW sports steering wheel, powered tailgate, keyless entry and start, sliding rear seat, automatic headlights and wipers, LED headlights, rear centre armrest, multi-colour LED ambient lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Infotainment: 6.5-inch touchscreen, satellite navigation, USB and Aux inputs, DAB+ digital radio, Bluetooth phone and Ausio connectivity, six-speaker audio (optional 8.8-inch screen, 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio)
  • Cargo Volume: 450 litres to rear seats, 1390 litres with seats folded
The Countryman’s interior moves ever so slightly away from some of Mini’s previous design traditions. Yes, there’s still a big round display housed in the middle of the dash (meant to mimic the original Mini’s central speedo) but things are now squarer elsewhere, more classic and less cartoony for a more premium feel.
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On the outside the Mini is still relatively compact - measuring just 4.3 metres from nose to tail - but is around 20cm longer than before. That translates to a more spacious interior with added rear legroom (plus sliding rear seats), and, thanks to the high-roofed SUV stance, an airy and open feel to the cabin.
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  • Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel, 140kW @4000rpm, 400NM @1750-2500rpm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all wheel drive
  • Suspension: MacPherson strut front, multi-link independent rear
  • Brakes: Ventilated front discs, solid rear discs
  • Steering: Electrically assisted power steering
  • Towing Capacity: 1800 kg braked, 750 kg unbraked
By definition a Cooper SD Countryman should be sporty, light on its feet, and agile - all the things that Mini’s marketing department has gone to great lengths to instil in its last decade of advertising messages.
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The heavy lifting is handled by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine producing 140kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm of torque between 1750 and 2500rpm. Engine noise is low, even at high revs, and Mini claims that the 0-100 km/h sprint takes a warm hatch-like 7.4 seconds.
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The Countryman SD’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system is also rather handy in the car's role as an all-rounder rather than an outright sports star. On loose surfaces, or in the way the Cooper SD Countryman is more easily able to get torque down, there’s no wheelspin and no tugging or kickback from the steering wheel.


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