Being the first Mini assembled in India and the first time having 5 door, Mini countryman Cooper D is one of the machines in its class. Competing with Mercedes-Benz A-Class, B-Class and Volvo’s V40 cross country, CooperD has a lot of uniqueness compared to its rivals. The uniqueness is the classic yet modern style of Mini stance and the interiors, in all aspects Mini CooperD Countryman impresses us with its fantastic handling and looks. On the other hand, it also lacks few things which are expected from its price tag. Read on Team AutoColumn’s test drive with 2013 Mini Cooper D Countryman over 600kms covering countryside trails and some fantastic straight highways and few curvy roads of Lavasa.
Mini Cooper D Countryman looks a way different than its sibling Cooper S. It can really stand out from other 2 when looked from front. We noticed it too when we got the car from Chembur BMW service center. CooperD looked tall and had crossover-ish design. Front end gets big vertical grille and slopping bonnet lines merged with headlamps. Headlamps are equipped with Mini trademark projectors and are not wrapped-around unlike the other 2. Front design is more of a ‘being SUV’ types than other two Coopers. This is the first MINI to come with four doors and a large tailgate as well as a versatile interior offering space for five people.
MINI Countryman is the first member of the MINI family with a body measuring more than four metres, 4110mm in length. Other distinctive features are its MINI proportions and design cues. Short overhangs, a high window line, the wrap-around look of the windows and the car’s powerful stance is unique in its segment. Countryman provides a fresh interpretation of characteristic MINI features, such as the hexagonal radiator grille, large headlights set into the bonnet, side indicator surrounds, voluminous wheel arches and vertical rear light clusters. MINI Countryman bridges the gap between the classic MINI concept and a contemporary Sports Activity Vehicle.
The interior of MINI Countryman is very much in keeping with the brand’s familiar style but boasts a selection of new design and functional elements. From dashboard to ORVM, all are derived from circle. Classic speedo outlined in chrome placed right in the middle of dashboard gives a retro touch to Mini. Unique design of handbrake and all circle shape derived interiors make this car look feminine from inside. The slightly raised seating position allows easy entry, optimizes the driver’s view over the road. MINI Countryman comes as standard three-seat bench. The rear seats can be moved forward and backwards individually or in a 60 : 40 split, the angle of backrests can be adjusted and backrests can be folded down either individually or in a 40 : 20 : 40 split, all of which allow luggage capacity to be increased from 350 litres to a maximum 1,170 litres. Power functions to driver and co-driver seats are absent in Mini and this is where Mini lacks compared to competition. The dashboard is made up of plastic material with foam texture rather than soft touch foam material when compared to rivals like A-class , B- Class and Volvo V40 Cross country.
Cooper D Countryman comes with 2 liter turbo diesel engine equipped with VGT and 6 speed automatic transmission. The engine produces 112 bhp of peak power and 270 Nm of peak torque. The engine feels lack of power but the punch of 270Nm takes Mini from 0-100kmph in 10.9 seconds. Countryman Cooper D can achieve top speed of 185kmph and we tested it till 165kmph.The engine is refined and cabin is damped well. As soon as you touch 140kmph the ‘limit’ light glows in instrument cluster and a specific sound can be heard from all speakers to indicate the same. If you cross 140 mark several times the ‘limit’ warning shifts to +10kmph. It can easily cruise at a speed of 130-140kmph on highways without giving feel of over revved engine. Complete test of 600 kms showed us fuel economy of 13-14kmpl on instrument cluster and that came up with different driving styles.
The suspension setup in this car is purely designed to have driving fun, a go-cart like fun. Steering is direct and suspension setup is hard. One can feel the road vibrations directly on steering when cornering in speeds above 60kmph. At the same time rear seats feel bumpy ride due to Mars inspired Indian roads. The driving fun factor is all available in this ‘not-so-Mini’ Cooper D. The 112 bhp power makes you feel this car less punchy to go quick high speeds. As suspension setup is towards handling there it negligible dive and sqat from the car and one car hardly make out from driver seat that the car is front wheel drive. Ground clearance of this car is fantastic for Indian roads and though the car looks low slung, owner really doesn’t need to bother about scraping underbody. We took the car in tight parking slots and some soft off roads, the car feels fun to drive and confident in tight parking slots. The electric power steering gets heavier at high speeds and keep the maneuverability in pure control of commandeer.
Countryman is a practical car for India with its striking difference from other Minis as a 5 door car. The performance of 2 liter diesel is perfect but still there is expectation of more power when someone gets behind the wheel of fantastic driving fun of this ‘not-so-Mini’. In ride and comfort department we rate Mini Cooper D at 6.5/10, but in ride and handling department, the car surely gets 8+ even though its front wheel drive. Cooper D countryman is styled unique than its rivals and it stands out from the competition but the price at which the car is offered doesn’t justify missing of some convenience features like power seats which are expected from a car priced above 30 lakh.
Photo Credits: Kaustubh Khare