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Slalom champion.

Slalom champion.

MINI’s Russian office makes its cash register on Countryman crossovers: in 2012, this model accounted for almost two-thirds of sales! During the year 1600 Countrymen were sold in Russia – more than all Jaguars combined, for example. To figure out why the Russians fell in love with the little British five-door, “Motor” settled a bright blue Countryman Cooper S in its garage for a month..

Yes, yes, we certainly know that the bulk of the “Country” cars sold in Russia are front-wheel drive versions of One (95 horsepower) or Cooper with a 122-horsepower naturally aspirated engine and an automatic transmission, and by no means 184-horsepower all-wheel drive “eski” “Like the one we got. But a real crossover should only be with four-wheel drive! Otherwise what’s the point in it?

Moreover, in such a “crossover” as the MINI Countryman. Ground clearance "charged" five-doors are a modest 149 millimeters, that is, less than some of the popular C-class sedans in Russia, and the suspension moves are simply microscopic. So if you really don’t need all-wheel drive – take the regular Mini or the Clubman version: otherwise what would you pay that kind of money for?

For a protective body kit made of dark plastic?

A pair of mufflers, pseudo air ducts in the rear bumper, "visor" spoiler on the fifth door – Countryman Cooper S looks like a real bully.

Money package.

Traditionally for MINI, many options can be purchased in packages, which turns out to be a little more profitable than separately. The cheapest set of add-ons will cost 30 thousand (this will be a package of electrical adjustments and heating), and the most expensive – 188 thousand rubles.

After all, a small crossover MINI is not cheap at all: the basic 122-strong version with “mechanics” in Russia is sold for 995 thousand rubles, and with an “automatic” – almost 80 thousand more. For the all-wheel drive Cooper S with a manual transmission, they will ask for 1.28 million rubles, and for the version with “automatic” – at least 1.354 million. And we must take into account that these will be cars in a rather meager configuration.

You will have to pay extra for bi-xenon headlights (42 thousand rubles), and for separate climate control (24 thousand), and for large wheels with stripes on the body; for “music”, navigation (46 thousand), heated glasses, mirrors and seats (from 3 to 17 thousand for each item in the list of options) and even for the stabilization system.

What else can you buy for 1.8 million rubles.

As a result, the test car, stuffed with options to the eyeballs, received a price tag on which the figure was 1.782 million rubles – almost half a million more than the base model. But this is not the limit – we did not have, for example, a panoramic roof for 59 thousand rubles, a Harman Kardon audio system for another 50 thousand, and a sports suspension for 12 thousand. And it’s good that it wasn’t!

Because even with the stock chassis, the MINI Countryman Cooper S feels crushingly tough.!

The blue MINI crossover with a white roof and white wheels is a stylish thing. And compact – it’s no more difficult to park on it than on any B-class hatchback. More precisely, even simpler: it has short overhangs and a little more ground clearance than small hatches.

It took almost a week to come to terms with the Countryman’s suspension settings. At first I wondered: is he really that tough? I drove through all the cracks, pits and joints, now quickly, now slowly, with an empty cabin and with passengers. Equally tough.

I checked the tire pressure – normal. At some point, even a crazy thought appeared that they forgot to remove the transport spacers in the suspension on the test car – I heard about such non-fictional stories more than once.

But no: “Mini” is just very tough, and that’s it. Point.

Average fuel consumption recorded during the MINI Countryman Cooper S test.

Only later did I understand the rules of driving a “Countryman”: it is necessary to dodge all, even the most insignificant, defects in the roadway. And nothing else. Moreover, the British crossover is quite well adapted for “road slalom”!

Minimal rolls (thanks to a stiff suspension), quick response to turns of the “short” (slightly more than two turns from lock to lock!) Steering wheel and precise and very effective brakes.

As a result, every trip turned into a game of "checkers": went around all the holes in the road – well done. I couldn’t – bang bang! Get the hardest hit on the suspension. I’m not exaggerating! In the first week, I had to stop and check the wheels two or three times, expecting to see a pineapple-sized hernia or a split disc.

Then I got used to.

On a good road, Countryman Cooper S rides "flat" and for sure – in this class there is hardly a car with a similar character of handling.

I’m also used to the toy appearance of the MINI Countryman Cooper S. It looks like a model of an off-road vehicle on a scale of 1: 1.75 – big wheels, a cheeky face with big headlights and round foglights, swollen bumpers, but at the same time a playful blue body paint, white stripes on bonnet, white mirrors and white roof-cap.

Inside, the story is the same. Everything is rounded and cartoonish: a speedometer basin in the middle of the front panel, inside which there is an LCD display of the multimedia system, round vents of the ventilation system, a “winged” round air conditioner display, round buttons on the steering wheel, oval pedals and a round tachometer nestled right on the steering column. Even the inner handles for opening the doors – and they have a semicircular shape.

All in all, Cubist fans won’t like it here..

Inside the MINI Countryman, there are solid circles and ovals. Not a single sharp edge and not a single right angle.

The seats are also rounded, and the height adjustment is made here by a lever with a round base..

On the ceiling – a lever that can be used to adjust the color of the interior lighting (this is an option).

Door opening handles – semicircular. But comfortable.

This is the power window lever on the rear doors. Stylishly!

The joystick for controlling the multimedia system can be rotated, tilted in different directions and pressed. On the sides of it are the keys "Home" and "Menu".

The center tunnel has a USB connector and an AUX input.

On the runners-rails above the central tunnel, various accessories are installed that can be moved between the front and rear parts of the passenger compartment – for example, an eyeglass case, as on a test car.

In the center of the front panel is a huge speedometer with an integrated LCD display. There is navigation and access to mobile applications.

Under the climate control unit – "tumblers" windows and central locking. Under it are the buttons for turning on the parking sensors and other auxiliary systems.

But, despite its frivolous image, the MINI Countryman proved to be quite practical. The front seats will be comfortable even for tall drivers – thanks to

the tilt and reach of the steering wheel, and the possibility of adjusting the seat height. The back is also not very cramped. Moreover, the back sofa can be ordered as a two-seater version – with a “rail-organizer” in the middle, and in a traditional, “three-seater” version. But you won’t have to pay extra for any of the options: separate rear seats are a free option.

But in fact, and in another case, the seats have longitudinal adjustment and adjustment of the angle of inclination of the back.

Even the trunk is not tiny at all: 350 liters with the rear seat backs up (more than in the B-class hatchbacks), and 1170 liters when folded. There is a backlight and a 12-volt socket.

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