It’s been three years since Mini introduced its second-generation Countryman, so it’s time for a facelift.
Mini testers covered up the front of this example with gratuitous amounts of tape but we've obtained close-up photographs of the car with the front grille and bumper details exposed (below), and it's very much a case of "same old".
The headlights with new LED signature are the most obvious difference, and this particular car has a new mesh insert for the fog-light surrounds and front intakes – indicating it's a sportier 'Cooper S' or 'Cooper SD' variant. The lower part of the front grille appears to be slightly revised, doing away with the moustache-like motif.
A look around back reveals new tail-lights. Unlike the units in the last set of spy photos we shared, this Countryman appears to use a set of LED units that feature a signature similar to the same Union Jack graphics as the Mini Hatch – great, now I’ve got 'Rule Britannia' stuck in my head!
There’s no shots of the interior, so we don’t know if there are any changes to the cabin such as a larger infotainment screen or revisions to the driver instrument binnacle like there have been on other recent Mini models.
Currently, the Countryman has offers 6.5-inch and 8.8-inch infotainment units depending on specification, while the BMW X1, with which it shares its UKL2 platform, has a standard 10.25-inch unit in markets like Australia. As screens get bigger and bigger, Mini may have to reconsider its rectangular-screen-within-a-big-circle motif.
This year saw some mechanical changes made to the Countryman line, including a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Consequently, don't expect to see many changes under the bonnet with this mid-life massage beyond rejigging the current range of turbo petrol, turbo-diesel and plug-in hybrid drivetrains to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
The Countryman is currently the only way to get a new Mini with a diesel in Australia, since Mini discontinued the Cooper D Hatch with last year's 'LCI' mid-life upgrade. It’s also the only Mini model currently available with a hybrid powertrain.
Mini's largest model is an important product for the brand. Last year, the Countryman was Mini’s second best-selling model after the hatch but was outsold almost 3-to-1 by the related BMW X1.
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