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The Mini Cooper Countryman grows bigger, and that's not a bad thing

Mini touts its newest Countryman as its biggest car ever, resulting in a comfortable rear seating area and good cargo space. What's not to like?

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Wayne Cunningham
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The Countryman serves as Mini's compact crossover model, and it gets a generational update for the 2017 model year.

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The Countryman can be had with Mini's All4 all-wheel-drive system, but its meager 6.5 inches of ground clearance limits its capability.

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The Countryman features the same styling that makes Mini vehicles so unique.

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The Countryman can be had as a Cooper or Cooper S, denoting different engines, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and with a manual or automatic transmission.

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The Countryman's all-wheel-drive system puts up to 40 percent of torque to the rear wheels in low speed conditions, then shifts to front-wheel drive at higher speeds, improving fuel economy.

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LED headlights can be had on Cooper S Countryman models.

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Mini proudly proclaims the new Countryman as the biggest car it has ever made, although it remains small compared to crossovers from other makers.

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The Countryman's new platform lets it deliver a comfortable ride with engaged handling.

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The Countryman serves as a daily commuter and weekend getaway driver.

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For the Cooper S, Mini fits S badges around the body.

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The Cooper S Countryman gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder engine making 189 horsepower. Cooper versions get a turbocharged 1.5-liter three cylinder engine, good for 134 horsepower.

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The high roofline and large windows contribute to good visibility all around.

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Mini fits more S badges on the hood scuttles.

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A panoramic sunroof comes standard, as do roof rails.

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