The current MINI Countryman was updated for 2015 but development of a successor is already well underway. A prototype for the new Countryman has just been spotted, revealing many of the details of the next-generation compact crossover. It appears designers have adopted a boxier, more rugged look for the new Countryman although there’s no mistaking it for anything but a MINI. The prototype is also bigger than the current Countryman, which should add some much needed room in the cabin.
Underpinning the vehicle is the same UKL platform found in the the latest MINI Hardtop as well as the latest Clubman and Convertible. The UKL platform is also found in several BMWs including the latest X1, whose development was closely tied with the new Countryman.
Expect the base Cooper Countryman to continue with front-wheel drive, with MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel-drive system remaining an option. There will also be more potent variants like the Cooper S Countryman and another John Cooper Works model, with the latter coming standard with the ALL4 system and at least 228 horsepower on tap.
In the engine department, Cooper Countrymans should feature 1.5-liter three-cylinder engines, with the Cooper S and JCW variants getting 2.0-liter four-cylinder mills. Turbocharging will feature across the range and transmissions will include standard six-speed manual and available six- and eight-speed automatic options.
Buyers can also expect some new safety features. These will include a head-up display, collision and pedestrian warning systems, a parking assistant and even a speed limit information system.
A debut should take place in 2016. At present, we're expecting the new Countryman to arrive as a 2017 model.