New SUV shaping up as Audi Q2 price rival

Mini Australia is keen to look at the business case for the hybrid version of the redesigned 2017 Mini Countryman, but for now is only willing to confirm a four model grade line-up - and a pricier one at that.

There are six variants of the current Countryman on sale in Australia, but Mini will simplify that with the release of the new model.

We should also see a John Cooper Works version of the new Countryman locally, sometime before the end of June and not long after it goes on sale overseas.

“We will confirm pricing for the revised range closer to the local launch,” Siobhan Kircher, communications representative for BMW Group Australia, told CarAdvice at the international launch this week.

“We are aiming for the starting price to be around $40,000, which is a jump from the current model, but we expect significantly more standard equipment as part of that.”

Reaching beyond $40,000 would bring the Countryman into the same ballpark as the ostensibly more premium Audi Q2 that will begin from $41,100 when it launches later this month.

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As it stands, the current model pricing starts from $34,150 before on-road costs for the 1.6 2WD grade. Further, Mini Australia estimates buyers have been spending between $3500 and $4500 on options.

In Australia, we will get the 2017 Mini Countryman as Cooper (1.5L), Cooper D (2.0L), Cooper S (2.0L) and Cooper SD All4 (2.0L), with the hybrid Countryman well and truly in the mix as the company looks to see whether it can make the business case work.

That model line-up also means we only get one AWD Countryman locally, the SD All4.

“All vehicles will feature automatic transmissions as standard, but manual is a no-cost option,” Kircher said.

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Run-flat tyres are also standard for Australia, but it appears buyers will be able to option conventional rubber – at no cost – and order a full-size spare if they wish.

“Existing owners in Australia mirrored the opinions of those internationally,” Kircher said. “They wanted more safety, more convenience, more technology as well as the ability to personalise the vehicle.”

Kircher admits the extra standard specification is heavily aimed at strengthening the Countryman’s value proposition, but also suggested it is directed at simplifying the buying process and not having endless lists of options and additions.

The 2017 Mini Countryman will arrive in Australia in March 2017. Stay tuned to CarAdvice for our review from the local launch.