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Mini Countryman news - Not so Mini now - 2010

The long-anticipated Mini SUV is here, and it is called the Countryman.

Revealed today ahead of its September launch in the UK, the Countryman looks like… well, a slightly bigger Mini.

See more Mini Countryman pics

It’s the first Mini to get four doors, and the first to get four-wheel drive, albeit an option: standard Countrymen (which, surely, must be the plural) remain front-wheel drive.

The ‘ALL4’ all-wheel-drive system  - only available on the Cooper S and Cooper D - normally splits torque 50-50 between front and rear wheels, but can bung it all to the rears if things get slippery.

Even so, the Countryman seems to be resolutely road-focused: you can, armed with a sufficiently deep wallet, spec your Mini SUV with lowered sports suspension, 19-inch alloys and the range-topping 181bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine from the Cooper S. In fact, all the launch engines - two diesels and three petrols - have been hauled straight from Mini’s existing line-up.

It’ll be a lot bigger on the inside than the anti-Tardis Clubman. The Countryman comes with four seats as standard, though the two individual rear chairs can be replaced with a three-seat bench at no cost. Running the length of the interior is a centre rail that Mini calls the, er, Center Rail, to which you can clip an array of moveable storage boxes, allowing you to misplace your mobile phone for days at a time.

Prices are expected to start at around £17,000, a figure that’ll head rapidly north once you start ticking Mini’s full array of ‘customisation’ options. The Countryman also gets a hefty raft of green measures including stop-start technology and brake energy regeneration.

So you’ve read the spiel and had a good look through the pictures. Go on then: what do you think of the biggest Mini ever?

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