A Very Big House In The Country: The New 2014 Mini Countryman Review [Video]
Love the styling of the traditional MINI, but have more than two grown-up friends? Then the 2014 Mini Countryman might be the ride for you. It packs all the MINI panache, and provides four doors for accessing full sized rear seats, actually made for human utilisation.
In addition to two extra doors, the Countryman adds 37cms of length, 10cm of width and 15cm of height to the standard MINI. The Countryman name stems from the old Austin designation for estate cars, but this car is not geared towards senior citizens trying to reclaim their automotive past. The five-door hatch is designed to appeal to a younger audience with its rugged, AWD rally car personality.
Not surprisingly, MINI decided to stick with the brand’s winning retro-style design when penning the 2014 Mini Countryman. All of the trademarks styling cues are present including the wide stance with the wheels peeking past the fender wells, and the unmistakable front end with its rounded headlamps. Of course, all of these design elements have been scaled up to accommodate the 2014 Mini Countryman’s two extra doors. Inside, the first thing that catches your attention is the large centre speedo and its ordinate outer ring. Updated door inserts also help the car feel a bit swankier, and remodelled armrests provide more support for those with hefty extremities. A full control panel (power windows, adjustment for the mirrors, and all that jazz) is now located conveniently in the driver’s side door armrest, so you can save your stretching for the gym. For the passengers, a three-seat rear bench is now standard, but a pair of individual seats is available free of charge. Boot capacity is 350-litres, increasing to 1170-litres when the rear seat is folded flat.
The usual range of MINI trim levels can be applied to the 2014 Mini Countryman including the One, Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works. The Cooper S and John Cooper Works are far more macho than the rest of the lineup, sporting all sorts of aggressive visual cues. Safety equipment includes front, side and curtain airbags along with three-point seatbelts for all occupants. All models get air-conditioning and CD stereo as standard equipment, but there are plenty of options for customisation should you feel like exercising the right side of your brain. There is a plethora of styling features available for you to doll up your MINI, as well as tech options for MP3 players and smart phones. You can also select the sport option which drops the 2014 Mini Countryman into the weeds by 10mm, and of course there’s a list of John Cooper Works performance components to choose from.
Tree huggers rejoice – the manual versions of the ‘One’ and ‘Cooper’ petrol models already meet the tough EU6 exhaust emissions standard. All of the models are efficient though, utilising Brake Energy Regeneration, gearshift indicator, Auto Start Stop, and ancillary engine systems to help lower fuel consumption. If you’re trying to squeeze out every bit of fuel mileage, select the One D diesel version, which returns 64.2mpg on the combined cycle and puts out 115g/km of CO2. That’s impressive, but even the feisty petrol Cooper S model manages 46.3mpg and 143g/km while whisking you along.
With the 2014 Mini Countryman, MINI has filled a long apparent void in their lineup. Buyers get to keep the chic MINI style while also securing the sanity of back seat passengers, and you can stow your inanimate objects in the boot too. Sounds like a triple win situation.