Automotive purists were outraged when the Mini Countryman was launched just over a decade ago. They – mostly men of course – were whining about the sheer size of the car, haven grown from the conventional compact hatch back to something classified as a SUV of some sorts.
After spending some time in the latest reincarnation of the Countryman in Cooper S guise, I really have no problem with its size. Let’s face it, most girls tend to expand a little as the years go by, so why can’t our cars not be afforded a similar kind of luxury? Whether you have outgrown your smaller Mini model by means of additional numbers to your family or dress size (or both in most cases!), having a roomier option makes perfect sense.
The Countryman offers plenty of space inside the cabin, whether it’s legroom in the rear of the generous 450 litres of boot space that swallows plenty of school bags and the groceries. Not forgetting my career-driven sisters, who’ll be able to load their whole desktop PC and printer in there, let alone their slimline laptops. Despite it being bigger than other Mini models, its just as much fun to drive. It handles with ease, making it very easy to manoeuvre in city traffic and into those darn tight parking spaces at your favourite mall.
For those not so familiar with the brand, the presence of the big red S next to the Cooper moniker on the bootlid means that there is more spice under the bonnet than the S-less Cooper. In this case, the 141kW/280Nm 2.0-litre engine paired to a smooth seven-speed Steptronic automatic gearbox is more spice than an average mother of 2.6 children on her way to school would ever need.
Inside, the very futuristic digital instrument cluster will ensure even your teenagers think you drive a cool car. To add to the whole package, the Countryman rides a few centimeters higher than the conventional Mini Hatch, which means you can get in and out of it easier and you have a more elevated seating position. And sitting higher with a bigger presence on the road with all the traditional good stuff Mini has to offer give the Countryman massive appeal. It almost gives me a sense that I can be a meanie too … despite driving a Mini.