The Mini Cooper Countryman could hardly be described as mini, seating four people with ease and possessing a decent amount of cargo space. And yet it adheres to Mini's philosophy of providing a premium, sporting vehicle at an affordable price. It also looks and drives like a Mini, with the hatchback's quintessential bulldog stance and driving characteristics. It may not handle as crisply as its smaller siblings, but it surpasses most of its crossover competition when it comes to dynamics and the fun-to-drive factor. The Countryman's extra eighteen inches in length, six inches in height, and four inches in width allow for a more family-friendly interior space with a relatively commodious back seat. (The second row is comprised of two buckets straddling a central rail that runs from the center stack to the front of the rear cargo area.) Both the instrument panel and the powertrain options mirror those of other Minis. There is an oversize, center-mounted speedometer--it also houses the screen for the optional navigation system--and numerous toggle and rocker switches for the climate and accessory controls. Both available transmissions have six speeds, and the optional automatic has the ability to shift gears manually using either the lever or steering-wheel-mounted paddles. Engine options are identical to other Minis', with a 121-hp normally aspirated four-cylinder in the base Cooper Countryman and a turbocharged version of the 1.6-liter four producing 181 hp in the Cooper S Countryman. The All4 four-wheel-drive system is unique to the Countryman.
Drive: Front-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: Countryman, S Countryman,
S Countryman All4
Body Style: SUV/crossover, 4-passenger
Engines: 1.6L I-4, 121 hp, 114 lb-ft
1.6L turbo I-4, 181 hp, 192 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 103.0 cu ft
Capacities: Towing 2000 lb (est.); cargo (rear seats up/down) 12.4/41.3 cu ft
The Countryman was all-new for 2011, so there are few changes. Cosmopolitan-style floor mats are now standard, and a rearview mirror with a digital compass is optional. The only other addition for 2012 is the new Mini Yours customization program, which allows buyers to select exterior and interior colors and materials from an exclusive palette.
ABS; corner brake control; electronic brake-force distribution; tire-pressure monitoring; traction and stability control; and dual-stage front, side, side curtain, and passenger's knee air bags are standard. Adaptive xenon headlights, daytime running lights, and park distance control are optional.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 23-27 mpg city/30-35 mpg highway
- Mini styling
- Maxi package
- Drives like a smaller Mini
You Won't Like
- Stiff suspension tuning
- Counterintuitive ergonomics
A Mini with the versatility of a crossover.
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