"Small" MINI Countryman Starts At $22,350
The Countryman is a game-changer for us. We are going from extra-small to smallMINI USA’s Jim McDowell turns brand defiance into “game changer” status, by defining the forthcoming Countryman “SUV” as “small” and the previous MINI models as “extra small” in Automotive News [sub]. But the $22,350 Countryman (Cooper S trim with AWD should cost “just under $30k”) is considerably less extra-small than even the next-least-small MINI, the Clubman. According to MINI’s European sites [UK comparison tool here], the Countryman Cooper S weighs about 200 lbs more than the Clubman Cooper S (loaded or “kerb” weight, before adding AWD) and 400 lbs more than the MINI Cooper S. It’s also nearly six inches longer than the Clubman, four inches wider and five inches taller. In fact, with AWD and an automatic (sure to be the most popular configuration in the US market), there’s no way the Countryman Cooper S will weigh less than 3,000 lbs. If that’s what qualifies as “small” these days, it’s a wonder the MINI brand exists at all.
Building a whole separate distribution network for the Mini was a mistake from the get go. The very name catches the brand in a trap. How can you have a Big Mini? That makes no sense.
The Mini should have been a model offered alongside a broader lineup. Back when BMW controlled the whole Rover group that would have worked, but BMW made a decision to ditch the rest of Rover whilst holding on to the Mini Redux. Now they have a nearly unsolvable branding problem. Maybe they could reskin it in a retro BMW 2002 look and sell the result at BMW dealerships ???? Or, go all the way back to the BMW/Isetta ??
Fiat should launch the 500 with a city display of a 500 on the roof of a countryman like Mini did with the Excursion.
3000 pounds is not catastrophic... that's 300-400 pounds less than most crossovers. Then consider that BMW usually quotes curb weight as including driver and fluids... The CX7? 3100 pounds? You're kidding, right? That car's curb weight is 3,500 pounds... minimum. WITHOUT all-wheel drive. All wheel drive models are 4,000 pounds... and the rear seat sucks compared to the competition. Granted, BMW MINIs have always been heavy for their size (usually about 100-200 lbs heavier than competitors), but they're not incredibly so compared to many modern cars. Gone are the days when you could actually get a midsized vehicle under 3000 lbs... heck... many "compact" sedans now weigh that much, at least (cough... Cruze... cough)... my Focus weighs well over 3,000 lbs). For a four door vehicle with AWD, 3000 lbs isn't that bad... especially if that figure includes a 150 lb driver and fluids. Don't expect it to have a back seat worth squat, though.
I'm interested. I like the basic package. Want to see one in person. Still like the Mini car.