The test drive of the MINI Countryman was like no ordinary drive, because it was a race of sorts. On the start-line at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Durban, the drivers paired and hit the road with only route maps as guide. The lead car soon disappeared and the race actually began. The MINI Countryman CooperS has a navigator but no time to check if it was programmed until the first stop at the Blueberry Cafe, Nottingham Road, where the car change took place.
The MINI Countryman’s sturdiness and swiftness pushed anxiety off as the thrill began right from the toll gate. It was time to know the car and what it has to offer, which did not take long because the more you push the pedal the better the drive becomes.
On route, heads turned, as people stared at the beautiful leap as it glides past.
The interior is made so comfortable and protected from external noise/sound, even as dust billows off the grave road that crisscross the Sugar Cane farms in KwaZulu Natal. The dusty cars from the farm roads still looked elegant when they congregated for the first driver change. Children along the route cheered and adults smiled, mouthing their approval at the beautiful sight. The MINI Countryman is an SUV ALLWheel Drive, complete with driver assist.
The new MINI Countryman has powerful proportions, 20 centimetres longer than its predecessor; five fully-fledged seats, clear increase in space and versatility; electrical tailgate control as well as touchless opening and closing of the tailgate; MINI Picnic Bench: fold-out load loading sill cushion as a comfortable seat on the luggage compartment lid and for general outdoor use; new generation of engines and gearboxes, an efficiency-optimised all-wheel drive system ALL4 will be available with the MINI Countryman John Cooper Works.
It also has central instrument with touchscreen function for the first time; MINI Country Timer measures driving fun over demanding terrain; MINI Connected App as a personal assistant on a day-to-day basis and when travelling; MINI Find Mate: everything you need on board at all times – or in view.
The new MINI Countryman is some 20 centimetres longer than its predecessor and approximately 3 centimetres wider. Its wheelbase has been extended by 7.5 centimetres. This growth results in significantly increased space on five fully-fledged seats as well as a definite increase in storage volume and luggage transport versatility. The raised seating position ensures an excellent view and hallmark driving fun. The rear seats can be shifted longitudinally by up to 13 centimetres. The folding rear backrest offers a 40: 20: 40 split. It also provides a variable tilt angle so as to be able to either increase seating comfort or gain additional storage space at the rear. The luggage compartment volume is 450 litres and can be extended as required to a total of 1,309 litres. This constitutes a maximum increase of 220 litres as compared to the predecessor model.
The manufacturers said the MINI Countryman will be in its dealerships in sub Saharan Africa from May, this year. Thus, those desirous of having a sweet feel of this vehicle in Nigeria should visit Coscharis Motors to book a test drive.