When you think of the Mini Cooper, the name itself makes you think that it is small. Well, for the most part, it is. With its overall eccentricity, it made an instant hit around the world. When Mini Brunei requested our team to test drive the Mini Countryman S for a day, how could we say NO?

The Mini Countryman looks small from a distance but once closer to it you will suddenly realize that it is pretty big especially for a “petite” girl like me.

“So cute”, I whispered to myself as I gripped the handle of the keyless entry Mini Countryman. I was already enjoying its quirky yet bold styling exterior. It appears grown up while still maintaining that same Mini charm.

The moment the doors opened, a winged Mini logo appeared on the ground below the edge of the door projected from a recessed light tucked just inside the door. You might think that the projected logo is a gimmick but I think it’s a fun approach to path lighting.

As soon as I climbed into the roomy cabin I was greeted by memorable retro style, a “well rounded” theme throughout the vehicle. It is a common theme for Mini and amplified inside the Countryman.

I particularly enjoyed the design of the old-school toggle switches, reminded me of an airplane cockpit. The 8.8 inch center-dash touchscreen display is flanked by a dynamic ring of LED lights that change colors and intensity however you choose to configure it.

You get a surprising amount of space for everyone and a large boot for luggage. In the driver’s seat, I had room to spare, and I loved the extendable thigh cushion support for those with longer legs. It is the perfect road trip car.

Our test ride was obviously equipped with excellent 6-speed Stepthronic automatic and a 6-speed manual transmission (which I personally would love to try out).

One word best sums up the drivability of this big Mini is FUN! It shifts smoothly and you can hit the corners hard like there is no tomorrow without any kind of complaint from the tires due to the design of the wheel base. It feels extremely planted to the road and it absorbs bumps firmly.

Acceleration is quite confident with maximum output up to 192 HP and 280 Nm. It is meant to be driven sportingly. Revs are high and a bit loud but not to the point that it is overwhelming. The Countryman is fun enough in the “Mid” mode but occasionally, I switched on the “Sport” mode to increase the revs and tighten up the steering and suspension.

The new Countryman offers a number of driving-assistance technologies which includes a forward-collision warning system, adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights and parking assistant feature.

It also came with features you might have seen on other vehicles, but not necessarily in this class. The “Picnic” bench is another great idea. Mini describes it as a flexible surface that folds out of the luggage compartment that provides seating for two people. It comes with a fender dirt protection flap, so you can take five and keep your jeans or skirt clean when you sit back.

Utilizing the brands’ go-kart-like handling in a much bigger and family-friendly package, the Mini Countryman is like nothing else on the road. They are fun to look at, fun to experience and fun to drive. It is made for the back roads, driving along coastal roads, through the hills and stopping every so often to take pictures.

If you love road trips and driving in style, then you should consider this fantastic vehicle. They tick all boxes!

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