MINI Countryman gets Top Safety Pick designation from IIHS

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 5, 2011

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the MINI Countryman a Top Safety Pick designation. This is particularly significant for MINI since the Countryman marks the start of the arrival of its new vehicles. The Countryman has already appeared in almost all important markets and is preparing to confront the challenges made to its safety features by the various organizations.

The IIHS’s designation means that the model is as safe to drive and crash as the best of them.

The Countryman performed well in all the tests, getting good ratings for front, side, rollover, and rear impact protection.

Countryman is actually the first MINI (and the second BMW model, after the new 5 Series) to comply with the requirements since the IIHS made the rules tougher and added a prerequisite of a good performance for roof strength in rollover crashes.

The IIHS said that the roof of the Countryman withstood a force equal to nearly 5 times the car's weight. The federal standard is 1.5 times the car’s weight. In the US, the Countryman has a price tag of $21,650 (for the entry level version) and $25,250 for the S trim.

MINI offers the model in North America complete with optional features and added packages, including the Sport pack, the Premium Package ($1,750), the Cold Weather Package ($750) and the Convenience package ($1,250).

The new MINI Countryman marks the rise of a new design direction for the marque. In fact, the design and styling of the MINI Countryman are distinct to the marque’s current product lineup, as expressed in its body design. For starters, the new MINI Countryman measures 4,097 mm (161.3 inches) in length,1,789 mm (70.4 inches) in width, and 1,561 mm (61.5 inches) in height, with the MINI Cooper S Countryman version is around 4,110 mm (161.8 ) long.

Still, the new MINI Countryman features the traditional brand proportions except that it has higher ground clearance and a higher seating position. With its features and elements, the MINI Countryman is the missing link between the classic MINI concept and a Sports Activity Vehicle. While the new body concept of the new MINI Countryman has opened up an array of possibilities, its design reflects the evolution of the marque’s unique design language that conveys fresh interpretations of fundamental MINI design elements.

For instance, the new MINI Countryman body has a three-level split and a front end marked by large headlights, a hexagonal radiator grille and upright windscreen. Other reinterpreted design elements are seen in the greenhouse and roof as well as the vertically stacked rear lights and the cascading rear contours that broaden as they flow from the roof to wheel. On the hand, signature brand details like the headlights and rear lights have been integrated like "islands" into the body. There’s also a side scuttle between the front wing and door while the greenhouse tapers towards the rear.

All of these design elements help emphasize both the distinctive character of the new MINI Countryman and its family roots. Overall, the MINI Countryman has a design that exudes not only originality and performance but also versatility and robustness. Aside from its upright radiator grille and large headlight units, the front fascia of the new MINI Countryman also features a stunningly contoured bonnet. The front of the MINI Countryman is designed to rise up high to comply with current pedestrian protection legislations as well as to exude a dynamic stance. The crossover also features a powerdome that tapers forward to the front of the bonnet.

This powerdome provides the surface of the Countryman with a distinct appearance, along with main headlights located on the outer edges of the bonnet. These newly designed headlights with chrome surrounds extend into the shoulders of the MINI Countryman to further highlight the crossover’s width. These headlights are shaped in such a way that they appear nothing like the classic circular maps of the other MINI models.

They feature upper edge sloping to the outside for more pronounced wheel arches with the inner edges seemed flinching away from the radiator grille, which now boasts of a modified form. This more upright hexagonal radiator grille feature three horizontal slats -- on the MINI Cooper Countryman, MINI One Countryman, MINI Cooper D Countryman and MINI One D Countryman – and seems to be free-floating. Meanwhile, slats on the MINI One Countryman and MINI One D Countryman grilles are finished in high-gloss black, while those on other versions are in matt silver. In addition, the MINI Cooper S Countryman comes with its own hexagonal grille design in black, distinguished by an extra integrated air intake and ventilation inlets for the brakes.

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