Mini used last week's 2023 Munich auto show to unveil a third-generation Countryman measuring 5.1 inches longer than its predecessor, making it the biggest Mini yet. However, the brand known for its small cars may be planning to go even bigger.
Speaking with Wheels at the launch of the new Countryman, which is expected to reach the U.S. next year as a 2025 model, Mini chief Stefanie Wurst hinted that a compact van with more than five seats was possible and pointed to 2020's Vision Urbanaut concept.
“Urbanaut is definitely an interesting concept,” she said. “Urbanaut wasn’t very specific on seat capacity but it had a lounge area so instead of doing that you could also imagine a bigger seating capacity.”
It's not the first time Mini has hinted at a vehicle bigger than the Countryman. The automaker in 2020 said it was working on an SUV larger than the Countryman, though Wurst in her interview with Wheels said she'd rather introduce a new type of vehicle concept than simply going up in size.
“I personally think we’ve reached a good size, yet I think when we launch a larger Mini or an extended Countryman, I don’t know if this is still a Mini,” she said. “I would rather go on a new innovative concept that is more unexpected and surprising because Mini is about doing things a different way."
Rumors of a Mini minivan date back several years, with the Traveller name often linked to those rumors. The original Mini Traveller, or Morris Mini-Minor Traveller officially, was a smallish van that in some generations came with bolted-on wood body parts, and Mini may stick with the traditional name just as it did with the Clubman and Countryman names that were both borrowed from the original Austin-Morris lineup.
While a Mini minivan may be years away still, Wurst hinted that Mini may introduce more Countryman variants to help fill the void left by the Clubman which bows out after 2024. The automaker will also launch the Aceman next year, an electric crossover smaller than the Countryman.