On September 18th 2010 Mini will be adding another model to its growing line-up. The standard Mini, the Clubman and the Mini Convertible will be joined by the Mini Countryman, a "Soft off-roader".

The initial line-up will consist of 3 petrol and 2 diesel engines. Prices will range from £16,000 through to £20,810. New petrol engines are being introduced throughout all Minis in March and these same new engines will be used in the Countryman in September.

For company car drivers who require boot space the Countryman will offer a max boot space of 1170 litres if the rear seats are folded down flat.

With its raised suspension and off-roader credentials the Countryman Cooper S and Cooper D (diesel) will have the option of ALL4, the mini all-wheel drive system. This optional extra will cost £1,065 for the Cooper D whereas on the Cooper S it will cost £1,220.

Finally the press release suggests that the Countryman is expected to be used in everyday situations including 'parking in a field' and 'driving on the beach'.

So what competition does this soft off-roader have? The spectrum is pretty broad and growing steadily. Some suggestions include the BMW X1, Fiat's Panda 4x4, Suzuki Jimny, Skoda Yeti, Landrover Freelander 2.
Here is a comparison table showing the Mini ALL4 diesel along side other similar diesel 4x4's from the list in price order.

  CC Torque
(Nm)
Length
(cm)
Height
(cm)
Max boot
(ltrs)
CO2
(g/km)
Mpg 0-62
mph
Monthly Company
Car Tax(£)*
FIAT Panda 4x4 1.3 Multijet 1248 143 3538 1540 860 136 54.3 13.8 41.25
Mini ALL4 Cooper D 1598 270 4097 1577 1170 116 64.2 10.9 42.83
Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDI CR S 4x4 1968 250 4223 1644 1760 157 47.1 12.2 66.58
LandRover Freelander 2 2.2 TD4_e 2179 400 4500 1740 1670 179 42.2 11.7 86.66
BMW X1 xDrive 18d SE 1995 320 4454 1545 1560 150 49.6 10.1 89.66

*Company car tax based on a monthly cost during the 2010/11 period based on the 20% tax rate.

Following the snow fall in the early part of this year, statistics show that the car driving population are giving more thought towards the off-roader as a possible next vehicle. The Land Rover Discovery January sales were up 92% this year compared to last. With recent technological developments, buyers that choose carefully don't have to feel environmentally inconsiderate and can actually find some good 4x4 company car prices due to these lower CO2 figures.

Of course, I am only scratching the surface of 4x4 company car possibilities here but you can use our Car Chooser tool to filter all cars and off-roaders to suit your own needs.