• MINI finds another niche.
  • The model is part Countryman, part coupe.
  • It is heading to the United States next year.

It was a concept, but now the 2013 MINI Paceman is a production reality and making its first appearance at the 2012 Paris Auto Show.

The Paceman is derived from the Countryman, a compact crossover based on the regular MINI Cooper. The Cooper is a regular presence on those best residual values lists. It's certainly been a good investment for MINI, because the Paceman is the seventh separate model from the same platform.

Like the Countryman, the Paceman enjoys an elevated ride height and the option of all-wheel drive. But unlike that model, it has two fewer doors and rocks a lower roofline. Think of it as a Countryman Coupe or a not-so-rich-man's Range Rover Evoque.

MINI describes the Paceman's cabin design as "a new rendering of the familiar MINI interior." It's a 4-seater with standard sport seats up front. Around the back is a tailgate that provides access to 38 cu-ft of total luggage space.

When the Paceman comes to the United States in early 2013, it will be available in a basic model and a Cooper S version. The former should have 121 horsepower to play with, while the latter sports 181 hp. Not big power, but any MINI chassis is a hoot and a half. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard; a 6-speed automatic is optional.

Pricing is still up in the air, but MINI will definitely offer an exterior paint color, Starlight Blue, that is specific to this model.

No doubt, the usual dizzying array of personalization options will also be offered, including MINI Connected. This feature uses the owner's iPhone as the brain to supply Internet radio, Facebook, Twitter and many other apps.

What it means to you: If the MINI Cooper is too small and the Countryman too big, the 2013 MINI Paceman should be the Goldilocks car--just right.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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