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Countryman nip and tuck

By Byron Mathioudakis, 23 Apr 2014 News

MINI Countryman

Mini SUV undergoes the subtlest of makeovers

Missing the Mini Countryman’s mid-life makeover isn’t difficult given the minor scale of changes to the three-year-old compact crossover.

Set for a fourth-quarter debut in Australia, the facelift includes slightly more power, some refinement enhancements designed to make it a bit quieter, and a swathe of fresh colours, materials and trims to give it a stronger visual connection to the just-released F56 Mini hatch range.

The simplest way to spot the newcomer is the 2015 model’s redesigned grille, LED fog lights with daytime-running lamps, alloy wheels and chrome appliques on certain models.

Inside is an updated infotainment system dubbed Mini Connected and featuring improved data display and multi-media connectivity, while the company promises the ambience has been lifted to imbue a more premium look and feel.

As before, 1.6-litre engines abound, with incremental improvements in performance – the 140kW/240Nm turbo-petrol mainstay pumps out 5kW more than before – resulting in a 0-100km/h-sprint time of 7.5s, one-tenth faster than before, and a 3km/h top-speed gain (to 218km/h).

More impressively, the Euro combined consumption rating tumbles 10 percent to just 6.0L/100km. Smaller improvements also apply to the slightly more efficient and gutsier non-turbo and turbo-diesel 1.6s.

However, what’s missing is the most glaring aspect of the revamped Countryman range – the F56 hatch’s new-gen three-cylinder crackerjack powerplants that are clearly incompatible with the older Mini models.