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2017 Countryman Is too Big to Be a MINI, Says Consumer Reports

2017 Countryman Is too Big to Be a MINI, Says Consumer Reports 4 photos
2017 Countryman Is too Big to Be a MINI, Says Consumer Reports2017 Countryman Is too Big to Be a MINI, Says Consumer Reports2017 Countryman Is too Big to Be a MINI, Says Consumer Reports
The more heritage a brand has, the harder it becomes to design new cars - just look at Porsche. But the best thing to do is rip it off like a band-aid, and that's what MINI did with the second-generation Countryman; they made bigger, about the size of an entry-level premium crossover like the Audi Q3 or Mercedes GLA.

In fact, the new Countryman shares its platform with the equally new BMW X1. Which is not to say that they are the same.

While Consumer Reports was critical of the way the 2-liter turbo in the X1 sounded, they were won over by the same engine's zest in the Cooper S version of the Countryman. Maybe it's the badge, but most people just act differently when they are around a MINI.

So even though you have to pay about $7,000 to get access to the safety systems Consumer Reports says should come standard, the reviewer is all smiles about. But asking too much money for stuff has always been the MINI way.

Why did they make the Countryman bigger? Well, everybody and their mom had the previous generation, and the only major complaint was with the interior space.

The styling is a matter of taste, but you can't deny the Countryman has its own thing going on right now. We think the designers were inspired by Salvador Dali's paintings with the melting clocks because some of the round shapes were deformed in that way. It has bags of character, which is what fans of the brand expect, but we wouldn't necessarily call it beautiful.

The interior is more grown up, with an easier to use engine starter, conventionally placed window toggles and the first touchscreen iDrive in a MINI. Passenger space is decent, and there's adjustment in the seats, so it should do well on longer journeys.

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