Type: Crossover SUV
This week we will be taking you through our Mini Countryman review. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to take the Mini Countryman for a 48H test drive. Having never driven a mini before I was curious to see how their attempt at a cross over performed. I put the countryman through its paces bringing it out to the beach on Bull Island, taking on the thick fog up the Wicklow mountains and I finished off my weekend bring it out to Killiney Hill to cap off what I would consider a great weekend.
First off the whole concept of a 48H test drive is brilliant, you actually get a proper feel of how the car drives along with familiarizing yourself with all the gadgets onboard. Most test drives only last 20 minutes leaving customers questioning whether the car is really for them. Having the opportunity to test a car over several days gives you a real insight into how it will fit into your life. The car I selected was the Countryman, a cross over which is the largest car in the Mini range. I picked this car because, I wanted something different compared to my own car, a VW Golf. To be eligible to take the Mini for the two days, you must have your own fully comprehensive car insurance, transferring over your own insurance to that car for the time period. I was able to safely leave my own car at the garage which gave me great piece of `mind as it technically wasn’t insured.
From the get go I was really impressed with the Countryman, the model I had was a 1.5-litre petrol turbo, putting out 134 bhp, which was pretty impressive. The car had three different driving mode, Eco, Normal and Sport. These setting were all controlled at the flip of a switch. It was no surprise that I went straight for the sports mode to see what the car could do. There was a noticeable difference in the throttle response along with a minor improvement in the sound coming from the exhaust. Other changes included a stiff steering setup, to help the driver manage with the speed.
Mini Countryman Interior:
The inside of the car was deceptively big, comfortably allowing space for five people. The upholstery was a mixture of black leather and alcantara which really made the car feel luxurious. Other features included heated seats in the front of the car, which I really liked especially on the final day of the test drive when the temperature had dipped. The majority of the in car controls were controlled by switches that resemble that of an aeroplane cockpit. Even the start and stop button looked as if it belonged in a Boeing 747.
One of my favourite aspect of the car had to be the BIG red button!
The Bells and Whistles:
The tech spec on the Countryman was quite impressive, The crown jewel of the dashboard was the large circular LED display which was home to the 7inch touch screen display. A nice touch as the colour change that occurred when changing from different driving modes, green for ECO red for Sport. It really gave a nice pop of colour, especially at night. The touch screen had a built-in GPS, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth audio and USB input, catering for both Apple and Android products. The display had a secondary control which was located in on the centre console, giving the driver an alternative to using the touch screen itself.
I really wanted to push the Mini to see its overall performance. During the course of the weekend, I brought it onto the beach on Bull Island in Clontarf, cutting up the sand while enjoying the sun. The combination of the orange sand and green reeds really created a picturesque backdrop for some of the photos taken of the Mini. From the beach to the mountains, the following day I made the journey up towards, Glenmalure in County Wicklow looking to test the suspension of the car along with getting some video content. The Countryman really performed well on the bumpy and uneven roads, preventing any coffee spills on the journey. Unfortunately, the weather conditions were poor due to the dense fog that surrounded us. In search of some more drone footage, I reverted back towards Dublin heading up to Killiney Hill. The meandering road which leads out the coast was a sight to behold, with the higher viewing point from the Countryman, it created a clear view of the calm ocean. While the fog still had not fully lifted, I was satisfied with the scenery that surrounded me on my travels.
Having returned the car on Monday morning it definitely would be in contention if I was in the market for a cross over. Its turbo engine accompanied by the robust exterior, plush interior and increased ride height makes for a really competitive car in the cross over market. You have absolutely nothing to lose in test driving it for the two days, this format gives the consumer a great insight into the car, one that I hope to see rolled out by other manufacturers in the future. If you end up buying a Countryman or have one already remember we have an endless list of Mini Countryman Accessories suitable for both the old and new model. If you have any further questions or would like us to review any other make and model of car, be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.