Mind you, for a car in this segment, it’s still quite good fun but driving the two cars – the standard and the Countryman - back-to-back makes you see the real difference. Of course, the other critical difference is that you’d have to hack the rear passenger’s legs for them to sit comfortably in the Mini Cooper S. If it’s sheer driving fun you’re after, buy the Mini Cooper S and kindly ask your kids or grandparents or friends to take a cab back home.
It does a reasonably good job on dirt/country roads and is quite a lot of fun on the loose stuff, but the ride is on the stiffer side and you do feel the aberrations coming through, more so on the Cooper S version. It’s no dirt basher, mind you – ground clearance is good, though not excellent, as it’s got 150mm of clearance, 30mm down on the similarly positioned but way cheaper Skoda Yeti.
But here’s the bummer – because it’s a CBU (Completely Built Unit) import, our government would rather that you pay nearly twice of the car’s value abroad, coughing up incredible sums of money for taxes and duties. Which means that this Mini Cooper S Countryman exchanges hands at nearly Rs 31.99 lakhs, ex-showroom, Delhi. Truth be told, at this price, the plot is lost. Sure, for well-loaded families who truly value the Mini brand and want a four-seat runabout, it would work for them. We know it’s not a car that deserves to be judged purely objectively, but hey, when there are incredibly capable cars available at that price point and more practical alternatives that are much cheaper, if a bit less luxurious, it’s hard not to question the hefty premium.