NEW FOR 2015:

– Cooper trim discontinued
– Restyled front grille
– New optional LED fog lights
– New wheel designs, including optional 19-inch wheels for S
– New colours: Starlight Blue, Jungle Green, Midnight Gray

The subcompact premium crossover market continues to heat up with entries from Audi, Buick, and Mercedes-Benz, so to keep things fresh, MINI has given its Countryman a slight update for model year 2015.

Quietly, the brand dropped the underpowered front-wheel-drive Cooper model from the lineup, leaving the turbocharged S and rabid John Cooper Works trims in the product portfolio. We doubt many will lament the loss – the Cooper was woefully underpowered, although it achieved strong fuel economy figures.

Although there’s no new sheetmetal or heavily revised plastic, the Countryman manages to look ever so slightly different thanks to a new grille, and optional LED fog lights, plus new wheel designs. We’re especially fond of the new Jungle Green paint (pictured), which replaces classic British Racing Green on the colour pallet.

Though considerably bigger than the Hardtop hatchback, the Countryman is still one of the smallest and nimblest crossovers around. The 181-hp turbocharged engine of the Cooper S has plenty of zip and makes a joyful, raspy sound when wrung out, while the Works is a real riot thanks to its additional power and sports suspension. Both the S and JCW come with a six-speed manual as standard, with a six-speed automatic as an optional extra. An all-wheel-drive system that can send up to 100% of power to the rear axle ensures nimble handling.

Features on the Cooper S include 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning with filter, power mirrors, chrome door handles, sports seats with extending thigh support, leatherette upholstery, manual seat adjustment, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat, tilt and telescopic multi-function steering wheel, leather-wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, ambient interior lighting, auto up/down windows, luggage compartment light, keyless entry with pushbutton start, rear wiper, vanity mirrors, electronic locking differential control, halogen fog lights, roof rails, rear spoiler, lower front air scoop, dark anthracite interior trim, dual exhaust, stainless steel pedal, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, and satellite radio pre-wiring.

The John Cooper Works adds a full body kit, sport button, 18-inch wheels, LED fog lights, unique shift knob, anthracite headliner, Piano Black interior trim, centre-mounted exhaust, bi-xenon headlamps, JCW leather-wrapped steering wheel, white turn signal indicators, and automatic climate control.

Type 4-door, 5-passenger compact hatchback
Layout Front engine/AWD
Engine 1.6-litre I4, DOHC, 16 valves, turbocharged
Horsepower 181 @ 5500 rpm
208 @ 6000 rpm (JCW)
Torque (lb-ft) 177 @ 1600-5000 rpm
192 @ 1750-5500 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
6-speed automatic (optional)
Tires P205/55R17
Tires JCW P225/45R18
Curb weight S 1455 kg (3207 lbs)(M/T)
1475 kg (3251 lbs)(A/T)
Curb weight JCW 1480 kg (3256 lbs)(M/T)
1500 kg (3300 lbs)(A/T)
Wheelbase 2595 mm (102.1 in)
Length 4110 mm (161.8 in)
Width 1789 mm (70.4 in)
Height 1561 mm (61.4 in)
Cargo capacity 467 L (16.5 cu-ft)(seats up)
1,195 L (42.2 cu-ft)(seats down)
Fuel consumption
1.6L I4 turbocharged 6MT AWD (L/100km) EnerGuide 5-Cycle City: 9.5; Highway: 7.6
1.6L I4 turbocharged 6AT AWD (L/100km) EnerGuide 5-Cycle City: 10.1; Highway: 7.8
Fuel type Premium
Warranty 4 years/80,000 km
Powertrain warranty 4 years/80,000 km
Side airbags Standard
Curtain airbags Standard
Other airbags Passenger knee
Anti-lock brakes Standard
Traction control Standard
Stability control Standard
Assembly location Graz, Austria

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