First Look at the 2017 Mini Countryman

BMW has placed the average Subaru buyer squarely in their sights with the new Mini Countryman. And boy, do they have a great alternative.

Subaru’s XV Crosstrek is a common sight on the corners of most “trendy” or “up and coming” blocks. If the Mini Countryman can capture any of Subaru’s very loyal fan base, all our neighborhood walks are going to get a bit less boring. Despite being several inches longer and an inch or so wider, the Countryman is a stylish, sleek alternative to the drab and over-styled CUV’s of the present.

BMW promises that the new Mini Countryman will retain the “go-kart” feel Mini is proud of, while making the car a more usable offering to its customers. Indeed, the top of the line “S” model boasts a 7-second 0-60 time to compliment the sporty handling.

I was most intrigued, however, by the plug-in hybrid option. A 3-cylinder, 134 HP gasoline motor turns the wheels up front, while an 84 HP electric motor propels the rear wheels. This technology, derived from the BMW i3, should give a sportier feel along with a much larger car when compared to the i3. Supposedly, the car can do trips “to and from your place of work” on all-electric mode. The car can do around 24 miles in all-electric mode on the European cycle, and can sustain speeds of up to 77 MPH.

Only driving will tell whether this is truly a Mini, or if BMW have slapped some heavy branding on a hybrid X1. Either way, I’d have a hard time not recommending any new car buyer take a long and hard look at the 2017 Mini Countryman.