Design review Mini Countryman: ‘Strong interior, but exterior clumsy and without innovation’

Mini Countryman design review

The design of the new Mini model generation has been modernized. Car designer Niels van Roij can be brief about the exterior design of the Mini Countryman. That’s not very good. Is the interior just as bad?

The new Mini design language is called charismatic simplicity. With its upright silhouette, the new Mini Countryman embodies the crossover or SUV flair of the first generation Countryman. However, this crossover does not look very intelligent. Although the exterior design is expressive, it is also quite coarse.

Mini talks about short overhangs in press releases. From the side view the design shows its true face. And that is not one of the wheels on the corners, as with the original Mini. This body has not grown athletically, but has become optically much heavier.

The exterior design is supported by quite bold graphics in the body and a slightly curved roof. The C-pillar element has been pulled by the hair. The unit creates a stage to differentiate between different equipment options. Unlike the new Defender, it is not pleasantly integrated into the design of this Countryman.

Mini Countryman

Mini Countryman

The interior is much more interesting. The dashboard in the new Mini Countryman does not require an additional display behind the steering wheel: everything is projected onto the optional head-up display. This reduction opens up the view forward without too much information disappearing from view and, for example, only going to a screen in the center of the car.

The beautifully curved dashboard is made of textile surfaces in some versions. This makes the atmosphere very different than with any plastic. The dashboard is complemented by warm, pleasant materials. The structure of the textile has a two-color design made of recycled polyester.

Mini Countryman

All design elements, such as the ventilation grilles and door handles, are vertically aligned, emphasizing the crossover character of the car. Mini does not reveal much about the exact material and that is a shame. The color – probably a copper-like composition, given the electric drivetrain – is well chosen in its matte version.

Mini Countryman interior

Mini Countryman interior

Attractive knurling has been applied to the controls of the air vents, which improves the tactile properties.

The central OLED display is uniquely designed in a round shape. It is a strong element on the dashboard. Clearly like the iconic original Mini dashboard, but very agile.

However, when it comes to a truly fresh vision of the future, the exterior design in particular does the Mini brand a disservice. In 2016, Mini showed the Vision Next 100 Concept.

This was an extreme concept car in the truest sense of the word, where the brand actually gave an intelligent push to the unique characteristics of the original Mini. A very successful experiment, which was drawn without lapsing into lame retro design. Mini has held on to this so strongly in recent years. The Vision also has no trace of the clumsy clumsiness and innovation-less body shapes, as the exterior of the Countryman is designed. The beautiful and fresh concept car went far beyond upright headlights and a floating roof. It was a true representation of the essence of the classic mini: the ultimate city go-kart. That car was compact, smart and agile and also friendly. Unfortunately, that cannot be said about the Countryman.

– Thanks for information from Autoweek.nl

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