So let me tell you a little bit about myself… I am tall, and by tall I mean 1.70 cm. In other words, I am not your average kind of girl. So you can imagine my shock and horror when the team announced that I would be doing the Mini Cooper Countryman review. This was until I saw it – this is the biggest Mini there ever was and I am not joking, that’s a fact.
A little bit more about me… I am a thirty year old living a life in pursuit of adventure and freedom. When I first got the car, a song immediately came to mind, “Suited” by Shekinah. The part I like the most goes:
“Suited for each other, yeah
Don’t try to move me from my lover, yeah
Suited for each other [x2]
Tailor made I’m glued up on my lover”
(Ed – party in the Countryman?)
I honestly felt that this car was tailor made for me. It was love at first sight.
With its good looks and striking chestnut colour, it is no doubt that the Countryman turns heads, however, this review would not be complete without mentioning this car’s interior. From the moment you step in, you are taken by the classy and solidly beautiful interior. Who said BMW does not make good interiors. The quality is evident from the posh materials used.
If there is one thing I dread in life, is driving in the rain. And unfortunately we have been experiencing heavy rains in Joburg recently. During the review, I drove to the beautiful Kievits Kroon Country Esrare in Cullinan. This is about 70kms out of Johannesburg. This was the first time that I drove the car on a gravel road and I must say that it took me by surprise. The bumps were simply absorbed without being felt in the cabin. This is not just a pretty Mini, it is obviously a solid car for tarred and gravel roads. On our way back from our day trip, we were met with heavy storm. I must admit that I was a bit nervous about driving the car in such terrible conditions. As it did with the gravel road, the car handled itself beautifully in these conditions. I felt safe and in control. The elevated ride position was also reassuring.
The new version is 20cm longer, 3cm wider and 13mm higher than the old car, and the wheelbase has been extended by 7.5cm. The end-result is a car that has more interior space for both front and rear passengers, and a boot that is 450 litres big. The boot lags behind competitors though and is the only real negative in the car. It takes away from the adventure element of the car. A family of four or four friends seeking an adventure may struggle sharing the rather compact boot space.
My test Countryman came with a panoramic sunroof which created an illusion of having even more space in the cabin space and it was the centrepiece when I took my girlfriends for a spin with the sunlight shining through.
The hallmark Mini central instrument is integrated in the instrument panel and is surrounded by an LED ring that provides a lighting display in response to driving situations by way of control feedback. This forms part of the Excitement Package, which also comprises the LED ambient lighting and a projection of the logo from the exterior mirror on the driver’s side when opening and closing the car. This became my party trick during my review of the Countryman. It was a pure joy opening and closing doors after dark just to see the logo.
The Cooper’s 1.5-litre engine has no problem with power but the process of getting the power behind is was gradual rather than brisk. A bit of patience is required to see the Countryman perform, but once it starts, it hard holding it back.
I thoroughly enjoyed this car, it suited my lifestyle perfectly. The car is perfect for the everyday commute to work and even better for the soul seeking adventurer. It was really difficult to say goodbye.
This is the complete price list for the Countryman range:
Countryman six-speed manual R422 000
Countryman six-speed automatic R440 000
Countryman S six-speed manual R490 000
Countryman S eight-speed automatic R509 500
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