Slap some doors and a solid roof on the Mini Beachcomber concept we saw last week in Detroit and you essentially have the all-new and long-awaited Mini Countryman. The Countryman crossover was first previewed as a concept at the 2008 Paris Motor Show and the production version drops in early March at the Geneva show.
While the Countryman is obviously larger than the Minis we've known for nearly a decade, it's still only about 160 inches long. The extra size will allow it to comfortably hold four adults, something that has always been just theoretical in previous Minis.
In Europe, the Mini Countryman will get the full gamut of engines that are available in Minis other than the John Cooper Works edition. On the gas side, the 1.6-liter engines range from the 98 horsepower One model to the 184 hp turbocharged Cooper S. Diesels are available in 90 and 112 hp forms. Unfortunately, U.S. buyers will only get the two more powerful gas engines in the Cooper and Cooper S at 120 and 180 hp respectively.
All of the European powertains are available with automatic start stop, brake energy regeneration and an upshift indicator. The Mini One D Countryman is rated at 54.7 miles per gallon (U.S.) on the EU combined test cycle with the gas-fueled Cooper getting 38.6 mpg on the same test. EPA mileage numbers for the U.S. versions won't be available until closer to the on-sale date about a year from now.