Mini Countryman diesel review roadtest

I have always cared more about practicality than anything else. Perhaps its reason enough that I have a 13-year old Pulsar with me. It is comfy in the city and has decent performance. Moreover, my mom can sit on it without worrying about the seat height. Similarly while I love the Mini Cooper JCW to an extreme, I wouldn’t buy it as the only car in the family. It is too impractical for all that. What’s practical is the car that you see here, the Mini Countryman. So, should this be the only car in your family or a few Santros or Dzires can make their way in your garage? Let’s find out.

Styling of the Mini Countryman

Mini has taken the standard Cooper and increased the ground clearance as well as added two more doors to make this one look like a SUV. Truth be told, the Clubman looks more of a butch SUV while this one is seemingly hatchback-hopped version. However, the new generation car seems to have got a mix of everything right. Not that something was missing but then it feels complete now. I quite liked the cool blue colour with white stripes combination. The 17-inch wheels look bland but then they gel with the overall subtle design of the vehicle. The rear too is recognisable as that of a Mini.

Interior of the Mini Countryman

If you’ve ever been in any of the Minis, you will instantly be at home in the new Countryman. The biggest difference though is the use of a touchscreen infotainment system. It ain’t as fluid as those modern day units that you find but nonetheless is decent. The physical buttons too are present and by default, I was using them more than the touchscreen. This particular car didn’t have a head-up unit for displaying speed and other details though.

The steering wheel has multiple functions on it, however you cannot skip the track. The front seats are powered while the driver gets a memory function too. There is that panoramic sunroof on offer as well. Overall, the interior quality feels very good. The most important question here will be about the backseat. Be rest assured that your family won’t feel cooped up inside this car. The backseat is spacious but not overtly so. Especially with respect to the headroom. The boot too is decent and while the petrol Countryman has an option for a picnic table, the diesel doesn’t get it.

Engine and transmission of the Mini Countryman diesel

This is a familiar engine and is made by Force Motors in India for BMW. The 2.0-litre turbo diesel produces a healthy 190PS of power and 400Nm. An 8-speed Steptronic gearbox is paired to this motor. There are no paddle shifters on offer and I rather missed them. The engine feels a tad lazy at lower revs. It is at the mid and top-end that it truly shines. Mini claims a 0-100kmph time of 7.6s and in our tests, we got 7.3s. The top speed is around 180kmph, as obtained in our tests. In terms of fuel efficiency, the Mini Countryman diesel returned an overall of 14.6kmpl.

The NVH is well controlled and makes this diesel unit fit for a luxury car. This is after all in use in other BMW cars in India as well.

Mini Countryman diesel ride and handling

This is one area where Minis are just flawless. The Countryman diesel too is near flawless. The word near is used because the steering could have felt a bit more lively. It sort of seemed a bit vague on this test unit. What you will appreciate is the ride quality. On 17-inch wheels, the Countryman absorbed most of our road irregularities without any sounds coming from the suspension. That being said, the suspension is tuned to be on the stiffer side and low speed jolts do filter into the cabin.

The handling is very good and the car does your bidding as Minis are known to. However, the aforementioned slight steering vagueness spoils things. Moreover, at higher speeds, you will realise the additional length you carrying around in a corner. Visibility though is at best decent and the fat A-pillar as well as the smaller rear glass make things a bit difficult. Ingress and egress too isn’t an issue and neither is the ground clearance. We tried the car with a full load and never once did it scrape anywhere. Could be due to the absurd 42PSI tyre pressure that is recommended by the company.

Mini Countryman diesel verdict

The Mini Countryman diesel price in India is Rs 44.59 lakh, on-road Mumbai. At this price range, you can get an Audi Q3, Mercedes GLA, BMW X1 or even the Volvo XC40. All these vehicles, especially the Audi looks like a proper SUV, something which the Mini can’t. However, if you love driving and have a family to ferry around, there is nothing better than the Countryman. The diesel variant will help keep running costs low while the Mini charm will keep you enthralled for days to come.

I did the hardest thing I had to do. Part with the keys!

Things we love about the Mini Countryman diesel

Engine refinement, handling, space on offer

Things we don’t love about the Mini Countryman diesel

All-around visibility, not a proper 5-seater, run flat tyres

Images by Donald Dsouza

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