New Mini Countryman revealed - sporty crossover begins at £22,465

New plug-in hybrid model joins the range for the first time; all-wheel drive available on all models

Mini has revealed its all-new Countryman, which goes on sale today with deliveries commencing in February 2017 at prices from £22,465.

The new model takes over duties from one of Mini’s best-selling models, with the original Countryman one of the first cars, along with rivals like the Nissan Juke, to really cash in on the growing market for compact crossovers with similar levels of fun to more traditional small cars but extra practicality.

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The new Countryman will also herald Mini’s first ever plug-in hybrid model, though a range of more conventional engines and transmissions will also be offered.

> More - Mini Cooper review - retro hot hatch is as fun as ever

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All units are new to the Countryman, but will be familiar to anyone with experience of more recent Mini models like the hatchback, five-door and the Clubman. The range kicks off with the Mini Cooper Countryman, which uses BMW’s 1.5-litre, turbocharged three-cylinder engine and in this guise develops 134bhp with 162lb ft of torque.

Next up is the Cooper S Countryman using a larger 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged unit and correspondingly higher power and torque outputs: 189bhp and 207lb ft.

Two diesels round out the conventional range, both displacing 1995cc and utilising four cylinders apiece. In Mini Cooper D Countryman trim you get 148bhp and 243lb ft, and in the Cooper SD Countryman that rises to 188bhp and 295lb ft.

For the time being - it doesn’t take Nostradamus to predict a more powerful John Cooper Works model arriving at some stage - it’s the Cooper S E Countryman All4 that offers the greatest urge, thanks to the combined efforts of the 1.5-litre 3-pot sending power to the front wheels, and an electric motor on the rear axle.

Combined they develop 221bhp and 284lb ft of torque, for a 6.9-second 0-62mph sprint, yet combined economy is quoted as 134.5mpg with CO2 of 49g/km. Naturally, your real-world figures will vary considerably depending on how often you charge and how much of the claimed 25 miles of electric range you utilise on a regular basis.

The hybrid model uses a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission alone and sends its power (naturally) to all four wheels. All wheel drive is available as an option on all new Countrymans (Countrymen?), while Mini’s traditional handling characteristics should be preserved by optional electronically-controlled dampers. Their characteristics are controlled, along with throttle and steering response and the car’s sound, via Mid, Sport and Green driving modes.

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> Also read - Mini Clubman Cooper S review - odd to look at, fun to drive

In terms of style, the Countryman will remain a love-or-hate-it shape, but the slightly squared-off styling is arguably more successful than the uncomfortably blobby looks of the car it replaces, and indeed that of the Mini 5-door and Clubman.

Pricing begins at £22,465 for a basic Cooper while the automatic transmission adds £1595 and All4 models are an extra £1090. The Cooper D begins at £24,425, the Cooper S £24,710, and the Cooper SD - automatic only - begins at £29,565. Pricing for the hybrid hasn’t yet been confirmed.

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