2012 Mini Countryman S Test Drive – Car Throttle

19 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2012 Mini Countryman S Test Drive – Car Throttle
Mini Countryman

2012 Mini Countryman S Drive

What do you call a big  A Maxi? It#8217;s really like a mediumini #8211; the Countryman is far and away the biggest car to wear a Mini badge, still not that big of a car.  In by American standards it#8217;s smaller than a lot of the stuff we buy in

 We consider a Ford Escape a SUV, but it still dwarfs the by a wide margin #8211; the Escape#8217;s wheelbase is only an inch longer, overall is about 11#8243; longer the Countryman, it#8217;s about an wider, and it#8217;s almost taller.

So if a Mini isn#8217;t what#8217;s the point?  Isn#8217;t their USP?  Isn#8217;t why they#8217;re Minis?

 I suppose one argue that point, but reality is a lot more convincing ideology.  Not all people want a Mini want to themselves down into a car, not all of them want to their rear passengers to hurdle over a folded some people get married and kids and need more life occurs.  Sure, the would be a better place if was issued a Cooper S Hardtop JCW and to make do, but that#8217;s not how it works.

when your only is long on fun but short on really else, people end up leaving brand for something awful they have kids. a Toyota Rav4.

Realizing keeping people in the Mini was important, the Countryman was born. quite a wagon, not quite an it#8217;s really just a big with some extra doors.  Brand continuity Mini#8217;s strong suit: the odd doors (that open in two down the middle) of the Clubman make an appearance here, a traditional open-from-the-top hatchback the Hardtop Cooper.

 The unique #8220;club door#8221; door on the passenger side) sticks to that model, as the has four totally conventional  Where#8217;s the weirdness to be found on the then?

Don#8217;t worry, it#8217;s there.  From the headlights stay with the chassis the hood lifts up around

To the four-bucket-seats interior layout, with a rail running the center of the interior, to which you can things like an integrated holder.  Or odd, pod-like cup  Why no center seat in the of the rear row?


There#8217;s a lot more cargo in the Countryman than in the Clubman or of course.  With the rear folded down, the Countryman a sizeable 41.3ft³ of cargo which is 8.5 more than a and 17.3 more than a  It#8217;s still 16 less the Honda Fit, but that car is an miracle of space utilization.

also 15.3 bigger a 5-door Fiesta hatch, and a 26.3 larger than a Golf hatchback.

Dimensions-wise, it dwarf a regular Mini.  A S Hardtop is 57.2#8243; wide; the sits right at 70.4#8243;. a Hardtop is 146.8#8243; long; the stretches to 161.8#8243;  Wheelbase is larger: 97.1#8243; for the Hardtop, for the Countryman.

 Height is the visible difference: 55.4#8243; for the Hardtop, for the Countryman.  Result: park it to a Cooper and it looks huge. it next to a compact SUV or even a sedan and it looks pretty

 Everthing#8217;s relative.

Anyone with modern Mini#8217;s feel right at home in the not a lot of adapting to do.  There#8217;s still the center-dash mounted Speedometer, and the tachometer stuck to the steering along with a row of tiny low down in the center stack to windows and locks, etc. build quality has always a Mini advantage, and it continues to be in the regardless of whether or not you like the styling.  I still find it and I#8217;m pretty used to by now, but it might not be your cup of tea (so to

The seats are cushy and comfortable, adequate lateral support the Countryman#8217;s primary intentions. handbrake (bottom left in the picture) is another oddity, but nice to see manufacturers getting with seemingly set-in-stone like that.  I#8217;m not in love with having to down and right to see my speed, but make the speedometer so gigantic it#8217;s pretty hard to

 Other Mini oddities: a key that you poke into a in the dash, and crank the engine with a start button next to it, or the turn signals don#8217;t actually ever in place when you move or the release for the hatchback hidden in the symbol.

The Countryman uses the engines and transmissions as the rest of the lineup, so nothing entirely  The base Countryman has a 1.6L I4, but the test car (A Countryman S uses the Cooper S#8217;s I4.

 It#8217;s still a fairly engine: all aluminum, twin camshafts, a single twin-scroll direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, etc a total of 181bhp @ 5,500 and an impressively flat torque 177lb-ft from 1,600rpm all the way to  Like other turbo the Countryman S also has #8220;overboost#8221; peak torque to 192lb-ft wide-open-throttle.

 Unlike the Hardtop, and Clubman, there isn#8217;t a JCW option to increase power to  Like the other Mini#8217;s, the is available with either a 6-speed manual transmission, or an 6-speed automatic transmission. economy isn#8217;t as good as Mini#8217;s, but I wouldn#8217;t complain the Countryman S#8217;s 26 city/ 32 rating #8211; that#8217;s great mileage for this power and space.

Driving the S yields more similarities to sized#8221; Mini#8217;s than but there are some notable  You sit higher up in a Countryman, not SVT Raptor high, but visibility is over the smaller models. can certainly feel the extra in the interior- those with elbows will appreciate not cramped.

 The 6-speed manual remains a joy to operate, with throws and very well-defined #8211; it#8217;s strange BMW can#8217;t get this kind of quality out of their manual where the lever sits above the transmission itself.

the extra poundage that S is carrying around, you do notice you wouldn#8217;t in a regular Cooper S: lag.  Considering the same in the Hardtop Cooper S is only around 2,668  lbs, to the Countryman S#8217;s curb of 2,954, a little bit of wait-and-go surprising.  It#8217;s just a pause before the tiny huffs magic horsepower the 1.6L engine, and you#8217;re off on way on a pretty impressive surge of

The other new thing the Countryman to the Mini table is all-wheel-drive, a brand first.  The is called All4, and it#8217;s an AWD system with a static torque split #8211; the way AWD should be.  My tester was a front-wheel-drive but I#8217;ve heard good about the All4 system plus, they#8217;re using it as the of their return to WRC Rallying, so it has to some redeeming attributes!

bad thing, which is common virtually every all-wheel-drive is the added weight.  All4 is available on the Countryman S; and considering the Countryman takes 9.8 seconds to hit and the system adds 254lbs to the I can sort of see why.  Among all the the FWD S 6-speed is the quickest, running in 7.0 flat and through the quarter in 15.5.

 An Automatic S FWD does the in 7.4 and 15.7, while a manual S takes 7.3 and 15.8, and the heaviest (Countryman S All4 Automatic) 7.7 and 15.9.  So one must balance need for speed with need for winter grip. of course, avoid the automatic it#8217;s still a Mini, not a you need a clutch pedal.

So it#8217;s certainly not underpowered (15 ago a 7.0 second 0-60 time out of with a 1.6L engine have been amazing, less a tall 5-door but the option of the JCW engine (with 208bhp and 192lb-ft before wouldn#8217;t go amiss.  There#8217;s the aftermarket for that.  What#8217;s impressive is how the Countryman rides.

of my primary complaints about the Mini#8217;s is that while do handle like gokarts, also ride like one you take them on the highway, and primarily due to the extremely short and firm spring and damper  I#8217;m young, so I prefer to Buick ride quality, but certainly a turn off for more buyers.  No such issues in the this thing rides a Cadillac.  (This analogy is out of date, what with the CTS-V, now.)  There#8217;s suspension travel (again, I like they designed car half for WRC use) but surprisingly body roll.

You#8217;re not as to … a back road it just punched your as you would in a Cooper S, but if you wanted to, you could.  I suppose all of England revolt if they sold a that handled poorly, and succeeded in making a vehicle handles the opposite of how it looks. quite impressed, especially this car was devoid of the optional package (which includes wheels with low-profile or the Sport Suspension (which has springs and dampers as well as anti-roll bars.)

So it#8217;s a car, and it#8217;s got more for real people and real but it still drives like a  What is the competition for this  I#8217;d say as far as mechanical and market go, it#8217;s probably the Nissan

 They#8217;re both oddly 5-door hatchbacks with here) seating for four both powered by 1.6L I4#8242;s with around 180 they#8217;re both relatively although they look in pictures, and they#8217;re both with a combination of front or drive, and manual or automatic in the Juke#8217;s case) transmissions. are some differences, mostly in while the Juke is willfully intentionally bizarre to the point of the Mini is just really a Mini.  Sure, the headlamps are an shape, and it#8217;s got a floating but otherwise it#8217;s really not all weird.

The Juke is also only with a turbo engine it#8217;s pretty awesome), but you can have a manual or all wheel #8211; not both.  Which is a because a 6-speed Juke the independent rear suspension, and AWD would be awesome.  The thing: the Juke is a lot cheaper.

non-turbo FWD Countryman starts at a Nissan Juke (base turbo, FWD, manual) at $19,570.  The Juke#8217;s has a noticeable amount of cheap to it #8211; but a Countryman S starts at

So, Mini has done something enviable here #8211; stretched their brand where most people think logic would and the product is still clearly a  It looks like a Mini, like a Mini, feels a Mini, but you can actually use it.  You fit cargo or real people in it (I fit in the back seat of the Countryman, and 6#8217;2#8243;.

 Can#8217;t say the same the Juke, which seems to run out of head room around  It#8217;s not as fun to drive as a regular S, but you wouldn#8217;t expect it to be considering the girth and mass.  Mini (are there such a might decry it as against values, but it#8217;s no Cayenne or  It#8217;s a little pricey, but it be just what you#8217;re for.

2011 Mini S Countryman

Base price:

Price as tested: $29,800

Cold Weather Package power mirrors, heated headlight washer jets, seats), Premium Package Dual Panoramic Sunroof, Climate Control, Harmon Sound System), Center ($250), Xenon Headlights  Bluetooth USB iPod Adapter White Turn-Signal Lights

Body: 5-door unit hatchback

Drivetrain: Front front wheel drive, Getrag Manual Gearbox

4 passengers

Engine : I4, Block Head


Aspiration: Single twin-scroll intercooled

Fuel delivery: fuel injection

Valvetrain: Overhead Cams (Chain 4v/cyl (16v Total), variable valve timing

ratio: 10.5:1


Mini Countryman

Suspension (F): MacPherson coil spring, anti-roll bar

(R): Multi-link independent, spring, gas-charged shocked aluminum trailing arm, bar

Steering: Rack Pinion, Power Assist, 14:1 ratio

Wheels/Tires: 17#215;7#8243; wheels, 205/55/R17 tires

(F/R): 12.1#8243; ventilated single piston calipers 11#8243; solid discs, piston calipers (R), EBD, CBC

Wheelbase: 102.2#8243;


Track (F/R):

Width: 70.4#8243; (w/o 78.6#8243; (w/mirrors)


Cargo Capacity: 41.3ft³ rear seats folded)

weight: 2,954lbs

Main Nissan Juke, Audi Q3, VW BMW X1, mainstream small SUV#8217;s Rav4, etc)

Pros: useful space in every to the Mini without losing the greatly improved ride conventional Mini#8217;s, available selection of powertrains wider the Juke, come on it#8217;s not big guys.

Cons: More turbo lag, pricey Country S with every can top $42,000 before you even get dealer add-ons), no JCW engine no AWD on base model, that#8217;s a big

Conclusion: Makes no sense on the makes plenty of sense you drive one.  Got and/or a lot of stuff but still a Cooper S?  Get one of these.

to Michael Robinson at FLOW of Raleigh for the test drive! a Mini?  you can reach him at

Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Tagged as:

Other articles of the category "Mini Countryman":

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts


Born in the USSR


About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.

Car Catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about cars