Monday, June 5, 2017

Used Car Review - MINI Countryman (2011-2017)

Another MINI vehicle offspring gets the spotlight for today

2011-2017 MINI Countryman


Ever since BMW bought the British carmaker MINI in 1994, they wanted a car from that marque to incorporate vehicle characteristics from the German manufacturer. However, the MINI concept was untouched and instead the BMW 1 Series was introduced to fill that void. With the introduction of the new MINI hatch in 2001, its success prompted to introduce offshoot models while retaining its iconic shape that it is known for.

The Countryman was notable for the brand for two reasons: it was the first SUV for the marque which had jumped to the trend a bit late and the first five door vehicle to churn out of the brand. That impact made way for a second crossover in the line-up named the Paceman (which was killed last year) and the third generation MINI Hatch had a five door model.

In 2011, the local MINI distributor brought in the Countryman in FWD form with both non-supercharged and with SC gasoline engines available for sale.

Value and Costs
With a selling price of P2,380,000 for a non-SC model back in 2011 and the high horsepower option going for 500 grand more, second hand examples come rare and if there is one, it is priced expensively with the cheapest model going for P1,600,000. If rarity isn't an issue, there are more BMW X1s on the market to choose from or if you want to go large, their one size counterparts are aplenty.

No thanks to its limited dealer network, taking care of this baby may prove to be expensive although a bit high than its corporate cousin. Reliability isn't a strong suit with problems plaguing the transmission system, built quality, timing chains that stretch when its low on oil, and oil leaks that contaminate electrical components. If you want something that is trouble free, look elsewhere.

Exterior and Interior
The MINI name is an oxymoron, especially that the sizes are not mini anymore and what more with the Countryman, as it has gained more height and length. Although the Countryman name was used during the 60s, this is a different animal altogether. Its iconic style is retained but you have to get used to its oddball styling for sometime.

Going inside, the interior design still resembles the ones seen in its lower brethren but that is a good thing. Space isn't mini, its decent enough for five persons and you wouldn't feel cramped especially that this drives on its front wheels.

Utilized among other MINI (and some BMW vehicles) is a 1.6 gasoline engine which can be had in either normal utilizing 120hp at 6,000rpm and 160Nm at 4,250rpm or supercharged flavors that gains 181hp at 5,550rpm and 240Nm at 1,600-5,000rpm. For city driving you'll feel more satisfied with the normally powered engine but for long drives, the supercharged version is required (the low powered model has even has a sports mode).

Driving Impressions
No thanks to a taller profile, the Countryman gives you a somewhat stiff ride but when it comes to attacking corners, it comes perfect since it inherits its smaller brothers. Despite its larger size, it is easy to drive.

If you're buying this car with your heart due to its funky styling and topnotch driving fun, this is the one. If you're buying this car with your mind, go elsewhere since there are numerous practical SUVs that are fun to drive yet have more room and more dependable.

The Good:
  • Looks good
  • Handles well
  • Engaging to drive
The Bad:
  • Not that practical as you think
  • Tallish profile means stiff suspension
  • Not that reliable
The Pick: 1.6 Countryman

Engine: 1,598cc 14 gasoline (supercharged for some versions)
Power: 120hp @ 6,000rpm (non-supercharged), 181hp @ 5,550rpm (supercharged)
Torque: 160Nm @ 4,250rpm (non-supercharged) 240Nm @ 1,600-5,000rpm (supercharged)
Fuel Consumption: 8-11km/L (city), 10-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear multilink

Price (New): P2,380,000-P3,000,000
Price (Now): P1,600,000-P2,000,000
On Sale: 2011-2017
Rivals: BMW X1, Mercedes Benz GLA

MINI Global City - (02) 856-7555

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