Mini Cooper Countryman gets New York fresheningTue, 15 Apr 2014 00:00:00 -0700
The Mini Countryman has undergone a subtle midlife facelift for the New York auto show, four years after it was launched in North America. The lightly reworked range-topping Mini Countryman model is expected to go on sale in July at prices company officials suggest will remain largely unchanged here in the U.S.
As this first batch of official photographs reveals, there is very little to distinguish the refreshed Countryman from the existing model. Exterior styling changes extend to a lightly modified grille, new range of alloy wheels and revised color schemes.
There are also revised optional headlamps with an LED function for the daytime running lamps and fog lamps, as well as a series of off-road embellishments, including skid plates within the lower part of the bumpers and within the side sills, on all All4 four-wheel-drive variants of the new Mini.
The Mini Countryman gets improved sound deadening and instrument/bezel detailing.
The go-lightly approach is also reflected inside, where recent rumors suggesting the facelifted Countryman may adopt a similar interior to the latest hardtop models have gone unfounded. Instead, Mini's design team has concentrated on improving the existing interior with new anthracite-colored instruments and chrome applications within the air vents, among other subtle changes.
In a move aimed at answering criticism of the Countryman's less-than-dazzling NVH characteristics, it also receives additional sound-deadening material to improve what Mini describes as its “acoustic comfort.”
Under the hood, the Countryman receives an updated four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine modified to conform to upcoming European Union emission standards. The 1.6-liter unit, originally developed in a joint venture between Mini parent company BMW and Peugeot-Citroen, continues with 120 hp in naturally aspirated form in the Cooper but gains 6 hp in turbocharged form in the Cooper S, which now boasts 187 hp.
The Mini Countryman is offered with an optional six-speed automatic transmission.
Transmission choices remain unchanged, with a standard six-speed manual and optional six-speed torque-converter automatic -- the latter of which can be ordered with remote steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. Both the Cooper and Cooper S continue to come in standard front-wheel-drive and optional All4 four-wheel-drive guises.
Continuing at the top of the new Countryman lineup is the four-wheel-drive-only John Cooper Works model. It runs the same turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine as the Cooper S, albeit tuned to deliver a strong 218 hp.
About the New York auto show
The 2014 New York auto show runs April 16-27 and is expected to attract a range of production and concept cars including the 2015 Mustang convertible, BMW M4 convertible and next Hyundai Sonata. Check out Autoweek's complete coverage at autoweek.com/new-york-auto-show.
By Greg Kable