Few cars have a more appropriate name than the 2022 MINI Cooper Countryman as it’s the perfect companion for those who enjoy that Sunday morning countryside drive for exploration, adventure, or just to get the heart pumping.
The Countryman is able to do this because it has that rare ability to disappear into the background and yet reassert itself into the driving experience. Left alone to its own devices one can commute in comfort unbothered by the act of operating the MINI while absorbing the reality of the surroundings.
On the surface this would make the Countryman appear to be a boring drive, which it is not. With a push of the pedal it can deliver the driving thrills. Even more spectacular, it can combine both.
How? The factors are simple, the MINI Cooper Countryman is infused with premium modern conveniences and the engine and chassis dynamics that made the 1960’s original such a hit.
Passengers will be cosseted by the high level of cabin refinement, making it relaxing at any speed. The stylish interior pays homage to its MINI past while being modern and fun. The round infotainment system dominates as a tribute to the iconic speedometer of older MINIs. This ode to history sits well with the new 5-inch instrument panel in front of the driver.
Switchgear is also a throwback, featuring toggle switches in the centre console and on the roof for major controls, while large tactile rotary knobs operate the dual climate HVAC system.
Soft touch materials and high gloss piano black elements are broken up by fabric inserts that bring a more homely feel to the cabin. Seats are supple enough to fall asleep in and provide comfort over long distances, yet supportive enough for high speed driving.
During the day the split sunroof can be opened to make the interior even brighter and airy, while at night ambient lighting that can be switched to one’s preference casts a calming glow over everything. That, plus the fact that all four door handles light up at night and the MINI badge projected on the ground guides in drivers via keyless entry. There’s plenty of technology with automated functions for the lights and wipers.
Connectivity to the bright 8.8-inch touchscreen, with its fun tweaks for 2022, is simple and quick via Bluetooth or one of the several USB/USB-C ports around. Rear occupants aren’t left out of the mix either with their half of the sunroof, and rear vents.
It would be quick to dismiss the MINI Cooper Countryman and its 1.5-litre three-cylinder TwinPower turbocharged motor. One shouldn’t, it’s a gem of an engine with loads of horsepower and torque that never leaves the driver wanting in any situation. It pairs well with the smooth-shifting seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Then there’s the chassis and suspension. Dynamic, yet compliant, the MINI soaks up the road never passing on the rougher impacts to the cabin or upsetting the vehicle’s driving line. And there’s more than enough ground clearance for the road less travelled.
In MID and GREEN mode the engine is felt and rarely heard. The Countryman motors along unbothered by its surroundings, a sense it passes to its occupants allowing them to concentrate on the journey or the destination.
For those who want a bit more enthusiasm, the MINI Cooper Countryman is able to oblige. Slip the car into SPORT mode and everything turns red. The throttle sharpens, as does steering feel and the Countryman can be made to easily dance down small narrow Jamaican lanes or gobble up long highway miles at speed in confidence.
Whatever the use case, the MINI Cooper Countryman should be on top of the purchase list. As a daily driven compact sport utility vehicle there’s plenty to like, from its practicality, space, fuel efficiency and ability to keep up with those who have an active lifestyle.