We Met The New Mini Countryman In LA And It Looks Superb


It's not so Mini anymore, but it's a sweet little ride.

It's odd how manufacturers put out teasers for new models that will be "unveiled" at a show, only for them to release a full set of images of the car before the show. That's the case with a few cars seen at the LA Auto Show, like the 2017 Mini Countryman. So pretty much everyone saw the car before the reveal, but that didn't stop us from making a beeline for the new car to see if the images that were released matched what we would see in the metal. And we are happy to report that it does. It's not small in the classic Mini sense though.

The new dimensions are immediately noticeable, that extra eight inches of length that allows a three inch longer wheelbase, and over an inch of width is hard to ignore. That said, it's big, but not as big to the eye as the measurements suggest, thanks to some clever design trickery. The new external dimensions allow for more space inside, Mini says there's nearly four inches of extra legroom for passengers in the rear, although that's never mattered much to us, as long as the driver seating has enough space the passengers can suffer. Mini says it's the "most adventurous" and biggest Mini ever, and it does look up to the task of an adventurous lifestyle, for the whole family.

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The interior fit and finish, and the feel of everything is typically Mini, with that BMW-quality build. The interior trim looks good, and the way the materials and the different colors have been integrated is just right. It looks and feels like a car that costs more than the price tag this one will carry. We obviously couldn't take the car for a drive to sample either of the motors on offer, the turbocharged 134-hp 1.5-liter 3-cylinder and turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder. The Cooper S E Countryman was also there to see, and it's pretty much the same as what you see here besides a few necessary changes to the gauges and the "fuel" filler. The gasoline variants will go on sale my March 2017 and the all- electric version by June.

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