Thu, 01 Nov 2012 13:31:00 EST
It's been two years since the debut of Mini's Countryman crossover. In that time, the general public has indeed warmed to the idea of a big Mini - we grew to rather like it during our long-term test - and for 2013, a few small, thoughtful updates are on tap for the brand's range-topper.
Thu, 20 Jun 2013 09:28:00 EST
The big change for the Countryman concerns the power window toggles, though Mini would also like you to notice the new Carbon Black ring around the center speedometer and new interior colors. Mini window controls have long resided in the center console, lost among the number of other buttons. The new Countryman breaks with that trend by moving the buttons to the door armrest, where it is located on most other passenger vehicles. We first saw this on the production Paceman that debuted in Paris earlier this year. This location also allows for a multi-button panel on the driver's side door. Previously, opening and closing all windows meant hitting each button individually.
Also of note is the removal of the two standard bucket seats in the second row, instead being replaced with a bench seat. Those who appreciate the customizable center rail in four-seat models can still select rear bucket seats, however. The 2013 Countryman is scheduled to hit European dealers sometime in November with US sales to follow shortly thereafter.
When Mini first introduced the Countryman, it only came as a four-seater, with a center rail between the two seats that could house things like cup holders and could be slid back and forth. Buyers could even opt for a full-length center rail that ran from just aft of the gear shifter all the way back between the rear seats, like we did in our long-term 2011 Cooper S Countryman All4, shown above.
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 10:58:00 EST
Shortly after the Countryman's launch, Mini was able to offer the vehicle with a proper rear bench seat; the company could not offer this at launch due to NHTSA guidelines that governed the minimum vehicle width for three-person seating, but those rules were changed. And now, we've received official confirmation of something we reported last year: the Countryman is losing its center rail and four-person seating arrangement altogether. Moving forward, buyers will only be able to spec a Countryman with the bench seat, and a cup holder will be affixed to the back of the forward cabin's center console.
The larger-but-smaller Paceman will also be losing the center rail between its rear seats, but the car will remain a four-seater, instead having a console between the two rear seats that houses a cup holder, an iPod cozy and a 12-volt outlet, according to USA Today.
Mini has introduced three generations of retro hatchback since its revival in 2001, with numerous bodystyles spun off that core model. But the Countryman has always stood apart from the rest (save the Paceman which was in turn spun off of it). The Mini crossover is bigger than the rest of the lineup, has more doors, more driven wheels and a familiar yet different look.
There's an all-new model in the works, set to share its architecture with BMW's own front-drive family. But that's still a couple of years away, so to keep the Countryman looking fresh, Mini is reportedly preparing to roll out a mildly facelifted version at the upcoming New York Auto Show.
As we're still awaiting confirmation from the automaker, few details on the updated Countryman are available at this point, but word has it that it will only include some minor cosmetic enhancements to the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Just how comprehensive those updates will be, and how many of them will be derived from the latest Mini Cooper hardtop remain to be seen, but with the NY show just a week away, it won't be long before we find out.