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Maxi Mini Countryman revealed

2010-01-21 09:38
The Mini Countryman breaks the mini mould in terms of style, versatility and size.

Larger than any other Mini, it looks remarkably different too, sporting four doors, a wide opening tailgate, a revised grille and new oversized headlamps integrated into the bonnet. Four seats are standard, although a regular rear bench is an option, too.

The Countryman will be the first Mini to feature permanent All4 all-wheel drive using an electrohydraulic differential on the final drive to constantly vary the distribution from the front to the rear axle.

A higher ride height will give occupants a more commanding view of the road.

Safety nets include stability control and traction control, while passive safety systems include front, side and curtain airbags.

Countryman remains a Mini, so the range of options and customisable features will be extensive. Options to integrate a range of smartphones, a large panoramic sunroof, adaptive headlights, a selection of wheel trims and sports suspension are all to be expected.

The new Mini also ushers in a new range of petrol and diesel engines (depending on the market) with low emission, high efficiency measures such as brake energy regeneration and auto stop and start as standard features.

Despite a strong family resemblance, the Countryman will actually ride on a different platform to the rest of the Mini range. To accommodate the Countryman’s all-wheel drive system, the chassis and most components are shared with the BMW X1.

While the BMW X1 will be built in the USA, the Countryman will be assembled by Magna Steyr in Austria, making this the first time that a Mini will be assembled outside the UK.

Inside Wheels24

Opel Astra 1.4T Enjoy auto – understated and smart new hatch

When it comes to the mid-size hatchback choice, there are a few default choices, a few bland ones… and some often overlooked cars. The Opel Astra hatch is an example of the latter, writes David Swanepoel. - Sponsored

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