Mini Countryman might be big, but is it still fun!

Ever since BMW bought the Mini brand, they have been keeping busy with turning it from a one model company, to four models it currently has now.
So while you can still have the original Cooper hatchback and the Cooper convertible, you also get to pick from the long-wheelbase Clubman, and now onto an even bigger model called the Countryman, which is essentially a MINI SUV.
When BMW first unveiled the Countryman, many enthusiasts of the brand were unsure if a big-Mini was a good idea, as it does not stand for what the company is known for.
However, one look at it and you will agree, that it looks just like how a Mini should. Personally I think it looks fantastic. For the money, this is the most eye-catching new car you can buy.
The interior is similarly as interesting. It retains all the funkiness of the original new Mini with toggle-switches and a large centrally placed speedometer, only difference now is, you can carry your friends and their luggage too, and since it is a BMW product, you can be sure it will be safe for all its occupants.
However, don’t bring too many friends, this is a strict four-seater (an alloy bar runs between the front and rear seats). Thankfully all that do fit will find plenty of headroom and legroom.
The interior can be trimmed with many optional extras such as a navigation system and a premium stereo system, depending on your budget.
You can also choose how much power you want under your right foot, because like all other Mini’s, this one also can be had with either a normally aspirated four-cylinder motor, or a turbo-charged motor. Both motors displace at 1.6-liters, however while the base engine is good for 121 hp, the turbo motor can produce 181 hp, which would make it a lot more fun. My tester came equipped with the base motor, which was fine and economical (Averaged 8.2-liters/100km in my week) but was hardly exciting.
You can also choose between a front-wheel drive model or an all-wheel drive model. The aptly named ALL4 system is however only available with the turbo charged Countryman S model.
During my sunny week, the front-wheel drive model was just fine. It might not have been the most peppy vehicle to drive around in, but thanks to its excellent six-speed manual gearbox, it was still a lot of fun to drive.
While some might complain that the Countryman is not as good through the twisty bits as a regular Cooper, I’d say it is at least far, far better than any other sport utility vehicle in this price range.
So it looks good, has a wonderful interior, gives great fuel economy and even offers more driving fun than other vehicles in its class, seems like a winner to me. With prices starting at $27,850 it is not even that expensive. So if you’re looking for a practical vehicle that is fun to live with, do check out the Mini Countryman.

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