Countryman isn't exactly a synonym for urban cruising but MINI's first-ever crossover could prove to be an exciting companion during the crowded morning when driving practically resumes to waiting 2 minutes for the green lights, moving forward a few meters and then waiting for the green light once again.
Fuel consumption is not a virtue. At least, not when talking about the Countryman, although figures are likely to step into the "decent to acceptable" region if you're capable of driving like an old man. Truth is, it's absolutely impossible to feather the pedal and treat the car like a lady. Because it's not. The 1.6-liter turbo engine generates 184 horsepower, more than you'll ever need in urban traffic, and helps the car sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 7.6 seconds. It weighs 2889 lbs (1310 kg) after all, but this is almost unnoticeable once you press the throttle pedal and you hear the aggressive engine roar.
The Countryman remains as agile as a rabbit and, although it looks a bit massive from the outside, you can squeeze through the other cars or park in a tight place pretty easy.
The 6-speed manual transmission isn't bad either and, even if we must admit that we would always go for an automatic configuration, manual shifting was piece of cake. Plus, it allows drivers to control the car however they want, thus supporting both economic or sporty driving styles.
Fuel consumption is said to be around 31.4 mpg (7.5 l/100km) in city conditions but, as always, facing reality proves that our paradise is different from theirs. We couldn't go lower than 11 l/100km (21.3 mpg), but we couldn't stay away from the forbidden fruit and pushed the throttle pedal every time the traffic light turned to green.
Not exactly a kart, the Countryman remains the same extremely-easy-to-handle vehicle like its predecessors, so moving around city streets shouldn't be a problem at all. Sure, we missed the adaptive headlights that could increase visibility on dark alleys a little bit, but such a feature was only available as an option.
And speaking of visibility, both the windshield and the rear window provide a great view on the road, while the high seating position, typical to crossovers, also has a major contribution. The exterior mirrors on the other hand seem to be a bit too small and the view angle is kind of inconvenient, especially when driving on city roads, especially if taking into account the overall dimensions of the car.
Parking shouldn't take more than a few seconds, as the car was equipped with rear parking sensors with audio notification. However, we missed the front parking sensors and/or a rear-view camera that could prove to be more useful than the basic sensors.Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
I think you now understand that I was right when I first told you that whatever BMW is building, it’s fascinating. The Germans are just incredible and no matter what they’re selling, I’ll buy it. If I have the money, of course. If I was rich as Mr. Bach, I could buy all products wearing a BMW brand.
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