Nostalgia can be a tricky thing. Most of the time its allure can feel like a trap. It promises a return to something grand and forgotten only for you to realize that it was never there to begin with. Nostalgia has snaked into all aspects of society; from numerous Hollywood reboots, to musical comebacks, to vintage designs, the world has become too addicted to nostalgia’s shine that it never bothers to go past the surface.
It can’t be denied that there’s a fondness for Mini’s vintage qualities. Its design reminds us of a different time, a less complicated era. Perhaps that’s the most appealing thing about owning a Mini: that sense of wonder and escape from the suffocating world of today. But to think that a Mini is nothing more than a blast from the past is a failure to recognize its latest innovations.
In the last several decades, Mini has gone from niche brand to a real welcome addition for car collectors the world over. Maybe it’s the iconic design or its unique size that harken nostalgia and demonstrate innovation at the same time. “It is always about ideas, innovation, passion, and how Mini’s always ahead of its time,” says Peter Medalla, head of Mini Asia.
And its road to progress has led to the latest model of its breakout vehicle. The Countryman is the brand’s answer to the ever popular SUV. It’s the biggest car Mini has done, with the latest version being 20 centimeters longer than its previous model and boasting more space for passengers—and it even has a Mini Picnic Bench. Overall, the Countryman combines the look and form of what makes Mini so popular with the growing necessities of today. “That’s what we are aiming for,” says Medalla, “to provide our Mini models more space, more flexibility, and at the same time, all the technology behind it.” And that is perhaps no truer than in Manila, where the Countryman’s potential is most promising.
But while sort of functioning as an SUV, the Countryman is far from typical. The biggest thing that separates it from the pack is the very decision to get one. “This is still your compact premium SUV but at the same time, it still embraces all the driving dynamics that Mini’s known for.” Getting a Mini is a very specific kind of discernment and unapologetically so, as Medalla says Mini’s market is not the average customer. “The guy’s an adventurer. He’s a guy who doesn’t want a vehicle who just brings him from Point A to B. And the whole point here is that it’s a car that, as soon as you ride, it’ll bring a smile to your face whether you’re just using a car to and from the office or preparing your out of town trip. That’s what the Countryman is all about.”
The initial attraction to a Mini might come off as an appreciation for the classics and nostalgia, but with this latest Countryman, Mini promises to provide the best of both worlds and to bring it beyond today. It’s proof that the brand is continuing the distinct appeal that its legacy provides as well as building a modern-day and forward-thinking vehicle. And who knows, maybe decades from now this latest Countryman will be seen with that glimmer of nostalgia too.