Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

MINI Piles on Inches; Advertisement Feature

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

MINI Piles on Inches; Advertisement Feature

Article excerpt

IF you ever fancied a MINI but decided against it because it just wasn't large enough to meet your needs, it's time to think again. There's now a super-sized MINI that's longer, wider, taller and, for the first time ever in the MINI family, has four doors.

Not only that but you can also have it with fourwheel-drive. In effect an off-roading MINI.

The newcomer is the MINI Countryman, although unlike the original Countryman it doesn't have van-like double doors at the rear, preferring to remain a hatchback like the best selling traditional MINI.

The Countryman officially goes on sale on September 18, but there is no point in rushing out to order one for this year as the entire allocation for the UK has already been snapped up.

The Countryman is the fourth member of the MINI family but unlike the other three - the Hatchback, the Convertible and the Clubman - it feels more of a distant relative.

Drive any of the other three, which are all built on the same platform, and the feel, the handling and the fun are almost identical. But the Countryman is a totally different ball game. It's a more grown-up MINI with a personality all its own that will appeal to a different type of buyer altogether.

I took the opportunity to try out both the diesel and petrol four-wheel-drive versions before the official on-sale date.

The first thing that strikes you is that the new car feels much heavier, which is perhaps not surprising considering the addition of four-wheel-drive and an extra 15in in length, 6in in height and 4in in width.

Those extra inches mean not only can you now sit in the rear seats and stretch your legs out - an impossibility in the current MINI - but you also have some 350 litres of boot space with the rear seats in position..

If you sit in the rear seats and open the doors you will be surprised to find that they open wider than on a 3-Series BMW. …

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