Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:26 AM
On the face of it, it is perhaps too easy to think that the new MINI Paceman is just the younger sister of the MINI Countryman. The two models were released two years apart, with the Paceman now starting to be seen on Britain's roads after coming out earlier in 2013.
However, during these two years much has changed, and there are a number of key differences between the Paceman and the Countryman (find out more here).
Style and dimensions
The obvious distinction to make between the two vehicles is that the Paceman has two doors and the Countryman has four. While this lends itself to picking a vehicle which matches your lifestyle or family circumstances – do you need to get the kids in the back easily? – there are a number of other differences between the looks of these MINIs.
As with most new vehicles, the Paceman just looks more aesthetically pleasing when it is placed next to the Countryman. The wheelbase is just one millimetre longer for in the Paceman's favour, while it is also very slightly thinner.
It is in the height where there is more of a difference, with the Paceman being almost two inches smaller. While this might not sound much it does help the new model carry off a sportier style, with the roof sloping downwards towards the rear and the rear windscreen at a less-harsh angle.
The lights at the rear of the car are also a little softer and more rounded on the Paceman because of the changes at the rear.
Inside the cabin
Given that the Paceman only has two doors it is more intimate in the cabin, bringing back that old MINI feeling. While the days of having your knees up around your shoulders while close up to the steering wheel are long gone, this cosiness is a welcome return.
This reduction in space also makes the car feel more sportier than the Countryman, which has a practical feel to it.
Now that the vehicles have been out for some time, plenty of reviews have been written. One constant theme is that they drive very much the same, with very similar performance levels.
Taking the Mini Cooper S All4 versions of both vehicles proves this point. From 0-62mph the Paceman is just one-tenth of a second faster than its older sister, while the 184hp output is exactly the same.
Top speeds differ by a couple of mph in the Paceman's favour, while fuel consumption is better by around three miles per gallon 2013's offering from MINI.
While many of the numbers are similar for the Paceman and Countryman, it is the boot space which might prove to be a decider. If you have kids or need your car for ferrying about boxes for work, or the golf clubs on a weekend, then the Countryman's extra 20 litres of space could come in handy.
At the end of the day much of the choice between these two cars will come down to looks. The Paceman appears to be the younger, trendier model when placed next to its older sister, while another deciding factor could be whether you need two or four doors.
With engines identical and the usual bells and whistles available from MINI inside the car, there is very little to choose between them.