So much for being Mini; the latest offering from the British automaker fails to live up to its brand name, as it surpasses the Clubman as the largest Mini on the road. Faux outrage aside, the redesigned 2017 Mini Countryman is a big deal for the BMW-owned brand and not just because it’s an inch wider and offers a half-inch more headroom than last year’s model. The all-new compact SUV will be the first Mini to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It will also feature the latest generation of Mini’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system as well as the brand’s signature Mini Connected infotainment system, which features a 6.5-inch screen, Bluetooth, Siri and a back-up camera. All that considered, when Mini of the Americas Vice President Thomas Felbermair calls this the “most versatile” vehicle in Mini’s product lineup, he isn’t just blowing smoke. Mini has shifted away from its normally friendly aesthetic in favor of a more aggressive design on the 2017 Countryman that includes more chiseled character lines along the front bumper and side rocker panels as well as restyled headlights that ditch the circular nature of the previous generation for a rounded rectangle look. Inside, the five-seater is 7.8… Read full this story
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