It’s sporty and sensible

Mini Countryman Cooper
Mini Countryman Cooper

So another Mini joins the burgeoning range - but it’s a rather different animal, as clever in some ways as it compromises in others.

Part of the Countryman’s job is to keep existing Mini people loyal when they out-grow their city runabouts and shopping rockets and no other Crossover would dare come equipped with as much as the 184bhp developed by the pokey 1.6-litre petrol Cooper S, which can sprint to 60 in as little as 7.6s on the way to 134mph.

It can be ordered conventionally front-driven, or, for the first time in any Mini, with clever ALL4 4WD. This is one of those smart systems able to automatically vary the power distribution between the front and rear axles according to the grip available. It won’t thank you for taking it off road, though - it simply isn’t that kind of car.

But, in Cooper S form, it does mix sporty and sensible with laudable aplomb - a car created for the times we live in.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: MINI Countryman Cooper S

PRICE: £21,415-£23,970

INSURANCE GROUP: 28-30

CO2 EMISSIONS: 143-180g/km

PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 7.6s / top speed 134mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: (combined) 46.3mpg

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: stability control, ABS, six airbags

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/heightmm 4110/1789/1561