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by Tim Beissmann

The 2011 MINI Countryman has landed in Australia, offering the adventurous and fans of the outdoors a new small, all-wheel drive option for under $40,000.

Prices for the new Countryman start at $37,700 for the entry-level Cooper Countryman and peak at $56,050 for the range-topping Cooper S ALL4 Countryman Chilli.

The compact off-roader will be available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine in two tunes as well as a 1.6-litre diesel engine.

The standard Cooper models produce 90kW of power and 135Nm of torque. Combined cycle fuel consumption is 6.5 litres/100km, CO2 emissions are 152g/km and acceleration from 0-100km/h takes 10.5 seconds.

Cooper S models get the twin-scroll turbocharged engine that produces 135kW and 260Nm of torque. Combining fully variable valve management and direct injection, the Cooper S is more frugal than the less powerful variant, using just 6.3 litres/100km and emitting 154g/km CO2. Accelerating from 0-100km/h takes 7.6 seconds and the S will continue all the way to 215km/h.

The Cooper D Countryman produces 82kW and 270Nm. Combined cycle fuel consumption is an unrivalled 4.4 litres/100km while CO2 emissions average 115g/km. The sprint from 0-100km/h comes up in 10.9 seconds and the D is all done at 185km/h.

All versions of the MINI Countryman come standard with a six-speed manual transmission, and all models but the diesels are available with a six-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters ($2350 option).

The newly developed suspension incorporates McPherson spring struts and forged track control arms on the front axle, and a multi-arm rear axle. The Cooper S model features a sportier set-up (optional on all other variants), lowering the car by 10mm.

Electric power steering, stability control, ABS, EBD, cornering brake control, brake assist and Hill Start-Off Assistant are standard on all models, and Dynamic Traction Control comes standard with the ALL4 system and is optional on all other models. ALL4 all-wheel drive is available on all but the entry-level Cooper model.

The Chilli package can be optioned on all variants, adding $5400 to the price of the Cooper and Cooper D variants and $5650 to the Cooper S variants. Included in the pack is a Harman Kardon audio system, automatic air-conditioning, Xenon headlights with automatic headlight washers, sports seats and partial leather upholstery, dark silver interior surfaces and an auto-dipping interior mirror.

MINI says it’s all about the number ‘four’ with the new Countryman: more than four metres long (4097mm), four doors, ALL4 four-wheel drive and four seats (although a fifth seat is a no-cost option).

Luggage capacity starts at 350 litres and expands to 1170 litres with the rear seats folded down – enough for two mountain bikes with the front wheels removed, according to MINI Australia.

The centre rail interior design is unique to the Countryman, aiming to connect the front and rear seats, yet put space between driver- and passenger-side occupants. When fitted with the optional third rear seat, the centre rail stops more traditionally at the backrests of the front seats.

The Countryman is available in eleven different colours, the roof can be finished in black, white or body-colour, and the interior can be optioned with five different trim colours.

The Cooper and Cooper D Countryman get two different 16-inch alloy wheel designs and the S Countryman gets 17-inch alloys standard. All variants can be optioned with a range of 18- and 19-inch wheels to further personalise the look.

The basic audio system includes a CD player, while optional extras include satellite navigation, iPhone/Smartphone integration and a high-end sound system. Six airbags are standard across the range.

Other options include adaptive xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, heated windscreen, towbar and a range of John Cooper Works performance components. MINI Countryman owners will have to make do with the JCW parts at the moment, as MINI does not currently make a devoted John Cooper Works Countryman model like it does for the Hatch, Clubman and Cabrio ranges.

The 2011 MINI Countryman is on sale now in Australia for the following manufacturer’s list prices:

  • Cooper Countryman – $37,700
  • Cooper Countryman Chilli – $43,100
  • Cooper S Countryman – $47,500
  • Cooper S Countryman Chilli – $53,150
  • Cooper S ALL4 Countryman – $50,400
  • Cooper S ALL4 Countryman Chilli – $56,050
  • Cooper D Countryman – $40,950
  • Cooper D Countryman Chilli – $46,350
  • Cooper D ALL4 Countryman – $43,850
  • Cooper D ALL4 Countryman Chilli – $49,250

Read Caradvice’s full drive review of the MINI Countryman.




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