All-new MINI Countryman gets bigger body, all-turbodiesel line-up

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 10) — Autohub Group, which manages the MINI brand in the Philippines, debuted the all-new MINI Countryman early this month.

The Countryman is a compact sport-utility-vehicle (SUV) version of the MINI 3 Door hatchback. Thus, it features a higher ride height, a longer wheelbase and two rear doors.

mini-philippines-05_CNNPH.png The MINI Countryman features more ground clearance and more space than a regular MINI.  

At 4,299 mm long, 1,822 mm wide and sporting a 2,670 mm wheelbase, the new Countryman is also 200 mm longer, 30 mm wider and has a 75 mm longer wheelbase than the old model. This has not only resulted in more interior space, but also in a larger cargo area.

Indeed, the company said the luggage compartment now has 450 liters in volume with the seats up. With the seats folded, the Countryman offers 1,390 liters of space.

mini-philippines-01_CNNPH.png AT THE LAUNCH (from L-R): Former BMW Asia Managing Director Axel Pannes, MINI Philippines President Willy Tee Ten, current BMW Asia Managing Director Paul de Courtois, Autohub Group chair Benita Tee Ten, MINI Asia head Sunny Medalla and MINI Philippines General Manager Miguelito Jose.  

MINI Philippines President Willy Tee Ten in a press statement said the company is thrilled to offer the new Countryman in the Philippines.

"It has a powerful expressive design, efficiently shaped bodywork and unmatched driving agility," he said. "MINI has a strong following in the Philippines and we believe the new MINI Countryman is the car they have longed to drive every day, everywhere, for every occasion."

Rugged looks

Aside from the larger dimensions, the all-new Countryman's styling has been slightly revised.

Up front, the large, bug-eye headlights, which are now LED units, have been squared off slightly, better suiting the prominent front grill.

Meanwhile, the fog lights have been moved nearer the middle of the lower bumper, which has a more aggressive design in the Cooper SD model.

mini-philippines-04_CNNPH.png The high-performance Countryman Cooper SD gets a sportier bodykit and a more powerful turbodiesel engine.  

Down the side, classic MINI touches like the contrast-color roof and mirror caps, as well as the chrome door handles, are complemented by black plastic cladding and aluminum-effect roof rails.

The entry-level Cooper D gets 17-inch alloy wheels as standard, while the Cooper SD gets 18-inch wheels. These can be upgraded to the optional 19-inch light-alloy wheels.

mini-philippines-02_CNNPH.png MINI styling cues, such as the contrast roof, are carried over in the Countryman.  

At the rear, the large rectangular tail lights now flank the license-plate holder, which is now mounted on the tailgate. The company said an electrically operated tailgate is standard in the Cooper SD and optional in the Cooper D.

Spacious, stylish cabin

Stepping inside, MINI design features like the massive circular infotainment screen in the center console and the aircraft-style chrome toggle switches remain.

mini-philippines-01B_CNNPH.png The cabin features large, circular dials and metal toggle switches.  

As standard, the Countryman gets a 6.5-inch LCD display and Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone climate control, a panoramic glass roof, a 40:20:40 split-folding rear seat and an alarm.

Options include a Harman-Kardon surround-sound system, GPS navigation and the Wired package, which includes an 8.8-inch touchscreen that can also be operated by a Touch Controller in the center console.

The Wired package also includes the MINI Country Timer, which registers all travel over sloping, uneven, unsurfaced and snow-covered terrain, as well as MINI Find Mate, a wireless tracking function that allows objects with special tags attached to be located by the car.

mini-philippines-01C_CNNPH.png A not-so-mini MINI: Seating for five, split-folding seats and up to 1,400 liters of cargo space in the Countryman.  

In addition, options like the MINI Yours Interior Styles package and the MINI Excitement Package allow you to customize the lighting effects in the Countryman.

Two turbodiesels

Both variants of the Countryman are powered by a 2.0-liter, twin-cam, 16-valve, direct-injection, inline-4 turbodiesel, which is connected to an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

All Countryman models are front-wheel drive, with the company's ALL4 all-wheel-drive system available as an option.

In the Cooper D, the engine pumps out 150 horsepower and 330 Nm, which is good for 0 to 100 km/h in 8.8 s. and a top speed of 208 km/h.

Meanwhile, the performance-oriented Cooper SD's engine has 190 horsepower and 400 Nm of torque, which helps it finish the 0 to 100 km/h dash in 7.7 s. and keep going to a top speed of 220 km/h.

MINI Asia Head Sunny Medalla told CNN Philippines the company has no plans yet of bringing in gasoline engines for the Countryman, saying there was more demand for turbodiesels.

As with all MINIs, the Countryman has a bevy of standard safety features, such as Dynamic Stability Control, a collision mitigation braking system and rear Park Distance Control.

Options include active cruise control, a Parking Assistant that automatically parks the Countryman and a Heads-Up Display.

90 units for 2017

MINI Philippines Marketing Manager Mae Pacatang-Valdez told CNN Philippines the company is looking to sell 90 units of the Countryman for 2017, with the SD expected to take a bigger share of sales.

The company sold 244 units of the first-generation Countryman, which was available from 2011 to January 2017.

The Countryman Cooper D is priced at ₱2.9 million, while the Countryman Cooper SD is at ₱3.4 million.