Invited to experience Mini’s latest 2020 Mini Countryman out along the countryside roads of Mpumalanga, was the perfect place to witness the car in its road-tripping element.
The largest of MINI’s offering in the stable, the new refreshed MINI Cooper Countryman sees two variants available in South Africa. The standard Cooper Countryman is powered by an updated three cylinder 1.5l with latest MINI TwinPower turbo technology petrol engine which delivers 100kW/220Nm and consumption figures of 6.3l/100km. The faster of the two the MINI Cooper S Countryman boasts a 2.0l four cylinder TwinPower turbo engine which produces 141kW/280Nm and a claimed fuel consumption of 6.7/100km. Their standard seven-speed Steptronic with double clutch delivers no lack of power in both models, with paddle shifts optional and only available on the MINI Cooper S Countryman.
Distinctive highlights on the outside of the vehicles include a new radiator grille design and LED headlamps and LED fog lights with LED rear lights in Union Jack design as standard features. New body finishes ensure a particularly striking appearance: with headlamp surrounds, rear lights, radiator grille and side indicator elements Ð or side scuttles Ð all finished in high-gloss black instead of chrome. 17-inch light alloy wheels in Channel Spoke Black design are new to the range as standard too with 19-inch Turnstile Spoke two-tone wheels as an optional extra.
On the inside one finds a sports leather steering wheel as a standard feature. A new digital instrument display with 8.8-inch colour touchscreen located in the central instrument which is typical of the brand, is now highlighted by a colour bar. With Black Panel design behind the steering wheel and Connected Media all as standard connectivity to your MINI is seamless, with optional Connected Navigation Plus as an added extra should you need it.
The new MINI Countryman is equipped with a SIM card that is permanently fitted in the car. This enables use of Intelligent Emergency Call with automatic detection of vehicle location and accident severity, as well as MINI TeleServices. There are added MINI Connected functions as well as an extended range of Original MINI Accessories for you to personalise your Countryman further.
Through some of the mountain passes en-route to our overnight stay in Polokwane, the Model S variant was certainly the more livelier and fun to drive through the tight and twisty sections with MINI’s typical direct steering and drive tearing through the passes. Considering Countryman’s elevation and ground clearance there is still minimal body roll at high speed which is awesome as it enables you to tackle dirt roads with ease and peace of mind. Addressing some of the up hills might have been a little more difficult heavily loaded in the Cooper Countryman variant, but by no means was it tough going at any stage. The Cooper Countryman actually impressed in the level of comfort of ride thanks to the beefier tyres which made for a smoother, softer ride.
A very interesting aspect was the amount of space that the MINI SUV Countryman has to offer, considering we were three to four people in each car at a time with luggage in tow. There was also more than enough leg and headroom even for the rear occupants. The new Countryman is without a doubt a brilliant road tripper considering you get the best of both worlds whether it is on tar or dirt, thanks to the ground clearance.
You most certainly have the time of your life navigating through the tight and twisty sections of road, but you now get the flexibility in a vehicle to experience life out in the country… man.
Prices at launch at R599 624 for the MINI Cooper Countryman and MINI Cooper S Countryman at R631 004.