Mini Countryman S 2017 first drive: Mighty improvements for the massive Mini?

Do you remember the exact moment that every manufacturer scrambled to add a high-riding SUV to their line-up? It was around the time the Nissan Qashqai started to become a runaway sales success and as a result, all sorts of bizarre shapes started to appear on forecourts.

Not content with simply creating a fun, quirky and stylish hatchback, Mini started to expand its model line-up in 2007, first with with the launch of the Clubman and then the larger Countryman in 2010.

The idea was to entice those families wanting a trendy small car but who also demanded the chunky body addenda, additional space and raised driving position afforded by rival SUVs.

┬áIt has always been a slightly odd proposition, because the Countryman isn’t actually that spacious, the suspension isn’t jacked-up enough to warrant any proper off-roading and, to some eyes, it’s hideously ugly.

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