That funky-looking Countryman in the photos is hiding something underneath the stretched body panels: it’s the long-rumored Traveller multi-purpose vehicle, also referred to as the MiniVan or the Spacebox.
With the Clubman-based Clubvan going on sale late this year and the three-door Mini Countryman Coupe sure to follow, it’s about time for Mini to cook up another vehicle for its stable. It looks like the next car in the lineup will be a minivan of sorts.
Our spy shots show what we’ve been hearing for some time: the Traveller will sit atop a slightly wider, longer Mini platform (as evidenced by the flared wheel wells with the front wheels pushed forward). We also hear that the Traveller will have an uncharacteristically low roofline, designed to stand out against the crowd of other people movers. To keep costs down, however, the Traveller will get four front-hinged doors
The tester’s powertrain doesn’t appear to be different from the standard Countryman, but we do hear that the standard, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine currently under the Countryman’s hood could be replaced with a turbocharged three-cylinder powerplant in certain markets.
Expect to see more on Mini's minvan in the coming year: the car should be previewed by a concept called the Mini Spacebox in the run up to the production launch of the 2014 Mini Traveller.
What do you think -- is a Mini minivan a step too far for the itty-bitty brand, or is it full speed ahead for cute, innovative cars? Let us know.