Text and Photos Neil Pagulayan
With traffic building and space dwindling in the Metros and the rainy season and its accompanying floods fast approaching, it’s now surprise that subcompact crossovers are a popular choice for car buyers. Add the need for fuel efficiency and a little bit of off-road ability and that list narrows down. There are many choices out there but few boast of personality quite like a Mini.
To meet all these needs in style and ease, Mini Philippines just launched the all-new Mini Countryman in two flavors, the Cooper D and the Cooper SD. We got first dibs on the Cooper D and spent a weekend with the most stylish crossover in town.
The first thing to grab your attention is the unmistakable Mini shape: the iconic front end, large LED headlamps with distinct Daytime Running Lights, its white floating roof, black scratch proof wheel arches, and the new side grilles that nod to more rugged SUVs. Aluminum roof rails up above add some utility. Down on the ground, 17” alloy wheels wrapped in Goodyear Efficient Grip 225/55’s keep contact with the road or trail.
Under the hood is a Twin Power turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder 16 valve diesel engine that puts out 150-hp and 330-Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Countryman has three Mini driving modes, Sport, Normal and Green. We found ourselves forgetting to switch to Sport, as Normal mode offered up very good acceleration and, at the same time, shifting up to the next gear quickly, making for relatively good fuel economy.
Get behind the Servotronic leather wrapped sport steering wheel and you’ll find the fabric/leather seats are snug and firm. Steering wheel has tilt adjustment. The driver and front passenger both have height adjustment for their seats and it has the Storage Compartment Package. Everything in the cabin is within reach. The large center armrest also doubles as a storage area too. The sliding back seats have ISOFIX-compatible child seat mounts, a center armrest and splits 40:20:40 to fold forward to expand luggage space. There are also air con vents for the second row.
Equipped with the Mini Excitement Package, it includes the multi-color mood lighting option inside the car. This lights up under the seats, foot-wells, on the dashboard and on the doors. It also illuminates the welcome lights on the door handles and has a puddle light which is a projection of the Mini logo on the ground near the driver’s door.
There are steering wheel mounted controls for cruise control, the entertainment system and for answering and taking calls on your phone. The entertainment system has Bluetooth connectivity with hands-free interface.
Some more features are the dynamic control systems: automatic headlights, cruise control with auto braking, rain sensing wipers and a rear view camera just to name a few.
As expected, the Mini Countryman was exciting to drive. The twin turbo diesel was lots of fun on the open road. Its engine Auto Start/Stop works on its own and helps keep fuel consumption down when caught in stop and go traffic. It’s spacious inside, seats five and offers lots of headroom for taller occupants. It tends to attract quite a bit of attention, but that’s expected when you choose an iconic car like a Mini.
The 2017 all-new Mini Countryman Cooper D is offered at P2,900,000 and is available for viewing and test drive at all Mini showrooms.