Fancy a Mini cross-country adventure?

2010-12-03 14:07

The Mini Cooper introduced ­retro-cool to the world after ­starring in the remake of The ­Italian Job six years ago. Even the Mini ­stationwagon, the Clubman, managed to look sexy. Now enter the latest model, the Countryman, an ­adorable little off-roading car.

While it might be a Mini, it’s not that small: it’s 4m long and has comfortable seating for four ­passengers. But unless you specify otherwise when buying your car, you’ll get the standard three-bench seater for the rear.

There are two 1.6-litre petrol ­engines available – the Mini ­Cooper Countryman with 90kW of power and the Cooper S ­Countryman with 135kW.

The ALL4 all-wheel drive is ­optional on the Cooper S model and allows as much fun as you can think of on the beaten track.

This permanent all-wheel-drive system is quick and responds well to changing conditions, thanks to the electromagnetic centre ­differential which fluctuates power ­distribution between the front and rear axles.

The styling on the Countryman is the most aggressive in the range, with a bigger gaping grille and a bigger tailgate. With the seats up, you get 350 litres of boot space; and with them folded flat, you get 1?170 litres.

Though it looks similar to its Clubman cousin, the Countryman has shorter overhangs and a ­higher window line. It also ­features black, wide-wheel arches but looks more rugged.

There is a wide variety of ­storage devices, including a ­gumdrop or sweet-holder to pass to the kids in the rear.
As with all Minis, customising options are available. These include exterior paints and interior ­colours, and materials ­designed exclusively for the Countryman.

But the street cred feature is the in-car entertainment known as the Mini connected system, which ­includes the news (via RSS feeds), Twitter and web functions. Yes, you can tweet from your Mini while­ ­driving!

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