Mini Countryman Cooper D All4 (2011) long-term test review | Road Testing Reviews | Car Magazine Online

14 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Mini Countryman Cooper D All4 (2011) long-term test review | Road Testing Reviews | Car Magazine Online
Mini Countryman

Cooper D (2011) long-term test

By the CAR road test team

Term Tests

15 December 11:05

Goodbye – 15 2011

The Countryman is gone but not and, whilst I’m not left for the little rhino, I may have something of a softspot for it.

I’m left mainly memories of the positive of this strange mutant The interior was always a delight, the cream leather and headlining the space feel instantly and roomy. Despite the percieved of the pale leather, it survived after nine months use, with just a of blue denim fatigue on the seat.

The car was undeniably well heated screen and seats and the lights made the Winter bearable whilst Sat Nav, DAB and phone connection made journeys more fun.

The took their toll on the purchase price of £26,430, but to Parkers the car still would £21,660 on a Mini dealer which is an impressive retained

The germanity of the car shone through with everything feeling engineered. I would not expect any car to be apart after a year and miles, but there was not a problem, or rattle to be found anywhere. The fault with the car was a flat after running a power from the cigarette lighter all day the engine off.

I would put one down to driver error.

The got me down a little, but maybe I needed/wanted a big car and not a medium sized Once behind the wheel I forgot about boot and enjoyed the drive. It never quick, but was always a pleasure on the thanks to a good ride and handling. The four wheel system obviously got me out of any bother the snow, but for the rest of the year it adds weight and cost to an heavy and expensive car.

with this engine you feel no benefit unless on the white stuff.

The car has a lot going for it, and to this there is the attraction of the brand and image. I applaud for making cars that out from the herd and, with a low powered diesel, are fun to drive, but this was just quite my cup of tea.

By Mark

Is the Mini Countryman roomy – 14 November 2011

I in the best of moods to begin Crawling through late-afternoon traffic in the Mini Countryman a 5am start and a photoshoot fraught upsets. The climate control was set to a 17 degrees and I was fruitlessly searching the DAB station list for some to match my mood when I it.

Across the street stood a 50ft wide: a new advert for the The car was shown floating in space, a spaceman similarly suspended in gravity next to the car. It was a view, with the boot and a view in to the cavernous galaxy-like that is the boot of the Countryman. I remember the tagline.

I think I was too I would guess it was something about the word space.

I can the meetings. ‘So,’ says the ad polo neck, ‘tell me the USP of your new Mini model.’

says Mini marketing ‘The Countryman is larger the other Minis, with room inside.’

So the advert make perfect sense in a universe in which Minis the only car brand in existence. It is a Mini, granted. In the same way a 1982 Trabant could been factory fitted a sports exhaust and badged as the Super Sport F1.

Fortunately we do not inhabit that dimension, nor communist East 30 years ago. We have a choice of medium sized to buy.

Many of these more ‘space’ than the

By Mark Fagelson

What a Mini obsessive make of our – 1 November 2011

on photoshoots an extra pair of is required and I employ the services of an One such assistant is Simon. In respects Simon is a normal, kind of young chap.

He is helpful, keen and eager to the ways of automotive photography. He is an obsessive car lover, but his love of extends only so far as the products of MG

Simon’s daily driver is a Racing Green Rover a 17th birthday gift has since covered 180,000 It’s getting a little and ripe for replacement now, but the of selling fills him with anguish that he is considering a burning outside the gates of

In fact the only reason is ditching the Rover is that his dream sports car is now within an MG TF. Tucked away in Simon’s are a 1984 Mini and his beloved 1960 Mini. His final photographic degree project documented this car along the people and places that 50 years ago were involved in testing and building it.

Now Simon is not a big fan of BMW He thinks the Countryman looks that it is mainly bought by conscious’ women in their 30s as a downsized Chelsea tractor and Sir Alex Issigonis would be in his grave. It was, then, some degree of trepidation I handed him the key to the Countryman at a wet and windy race track for a recent CAR shoot.

His instructions from me clear- to drive around the at a steady pace whilst I, securely into the open shot the two sports cars behind. Nevertheless, as we set off my mind was with vivid images of driven over the clifftop the angry Irish Sea in a fit of anti-Germanic

Later in the day he got a chance to drive of the best roads North had to offer, and he was slowly warming to my conceding that it handled and had a nice interior, though that Mini shouldn’t bothered building it, and that it was kinds of wrong’. Two weeks Simon drove a new Mini JC Works on an epic three-day for me.

And guess what? Simon it, raving about the engine, the the looks. He later recalled the he got back into his Rover the shoot to drive home. felt a bit rubbish,’ he said.

By Fagelson

Points of contact in our Countryman – 16 September 2011

As a cyclist, when I’m not CAR Magazine I will often be lusting after a new ride in the of a bike magazine. The received on buying a new bike is to spend money on the contact points. The being that the bits you touch the bike (seat, pedals) make a big difference to the comfort and control.

It got me thinking the same aspects of our Mini. The contact points in the Mini are quality items. The seats as good as they look, all tan and sports shaping.

The steering wheel is chunky a bumper car, and the leather is but firm.

The steering wheel I’m less keen on. are quite unlike any other buttons I’ve come The four-way swiches are very and sit flush to the rest of the surface, so to them you have to prod hard from an angle takes your hand the wheel.

Ladies report if you are well endowed with you can jab at them firmly. Perhaps I grow my scratchers.

I’ve now up using the steering wheel to control volume or change station – it’s to reach down to the stereo

I love some of the touch mind. The door handles are big and and made of metal. To open the to get out there is a big half moon of the stuff that pulls a solid action. The exterior handle, too, is oversize and to touch and pull on.

You feel you’re in a premium car every time you step in and out.

These places you grip and several times a day really and Mini has spent its budget Back inside the cabin the have always bothered me. The size and rubber covers are all and good, but the action is overly

I can see the logic: Minis are drivers’ and a real driver wants feel and progression in their action. I’ve got no problem this, except when it to the clutch pedal – I really do without it.

Maybe just become used to but the heaviness and springiness of the Countryman me cursing it on those long M25 jam crawls that are an inevitable of my working life as a photographer events the length and breadth of (and Europe). Perhaps could devleop a clever clutch on the steering wheel for souls like me?

By Mark

A mini crash – 9 August

‘That your car, the asked the woman at the next in McDonald’s. I was eating a quick before a photoshoot at nearby and flattered by the unexpected attention the was garnering. Yet there was something of a of panic on the lady’s face unsettled me. ‘Yes, why?’ I ‘Er, I think someone’s crashed into it.’

I up and ran outside to find copious of blue paint down the side door of my car, and the driving out of the car park in a blue I gave chase on foot, to get my phone out of my jeans and into mode – maybe I could the licence number at least.

By the I got to the roundabout I was sweating and breathing but spied my quarry at the head of the waiting to pull out. I knew it I was with the Mazda and got a shot of the number plate. The hour traffic was heavy and were going nowhere, so I knew it I was at the driver’s window, my fist and contemplating throwing on the bonnet to prevent any further

The driver, a woman in her 30s, the window down. I was charged up and for a row, full of adrenaline the chase, and filled with and anger at the damage to my precious rhino. ‘Excuse me’ I ‘I think you may have in to my car.’

‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I’ll drive over and give you my details.’

At like this I’m to be British. The lady duly to the car park, admitted liability for the apologised profusely and offered her and company insurance details.

The damage to the Mini looked initially, but back home the day I carefully polished the damage to leave a slight crease in the panel and some light – barely noticeable from a The Countryman is a tough little indeed.

By Mark Fagelson

to spend your money on a – 18 July 2011

The cars loaned by manufacturers are inevitably to the gills with optional And that does mean our long-term test car does cost a chunky sum more the OTR price. But if you are laying down own money then options a luxury rather than a

I’ve written here about the £6500 of extras to my £20,000 car, and after with it for six months I feel qualified to give my opinion on the and worst of the Mini’s options.

1. tlc Service Pack

A no brainer. Too to be true: £200 gets you years of free servicing at local Mini dealer. an … would pass one up.

2. Chili Pack

If you are keeping the down on your new Mini by all means ignore the Chili and just pick the bits you need. And after you have this, you may come to the realisation £2490 won’t actually very far, and go for this of desirable bits and pieces, a leather steering wheel multifunction swiches, an upgrade to leather seats, automatic fog lights and better alloys.

3. Navigation System

Ye,s you can buy a Tom Tom for £130, but £995 buys one of the systems around. Many charge far more for far less. Did I just recommend this?

waste your money on.

1. control (£250.00)

Once the of speaking to your car and getting a response has worn off, you are wondering what the point is. If you passengers in the car you will feel using it. If you are driving alone you feel sad and lonely.

Good old buttons perform the functions efficiently and without leaving you that your car is up to something your back.

2. White Lenses (£70.00)

White lenses, as owners of late Porsche 911s will be look better than indicator lenses. That the case, Mini should fit them as standard rather charging you seventy quid.

3. compartment separating net (£145.00)

On the day of Mini ownership you will the contents of the bag, fit it to the car interior and to yourself ‘What a great Next time I need to some furniture I will fit my compartment separating net and I will be from that furniture forwards in the event of sudden

The following day you will put the net in the shed it was rattling around in the boot, up precious space. You will see the luggage compartment separating net

By Mark Fagelson

Mini build quality ahoy! – 16 2011

Build quality is a beloved of automotive journalists. The is it’s a broad term, applied to everything from the of a German door shutting to the of a French front wing. you go – I’ve gone and it again.

Fallen into the stereotyping of nationalities’ automotive

Which brings me to my Mini which, despite the Mini love of Union Jacks, is in Austria. The German BMW genes through strongly in the car, feels decidedly German, or at the least bordering on it.

For a car that starts at £16,000 the is a strikingly well designed and together product. If you start around the cabin you will weaker, cheaper bits and there, but the overall impression and is high grade. The seats look out of place in a £50k

Everything works, nothing nothing rattles and nothing you cause to doubt that’s the way it remain. Outside it’s the same story. The slabs of plastics beloved of Mini are always a weak point.

My wheelarch has already popped out of place and after a few years material fades, needing applications of Back-to-black to retard the process.

I know this I’ve already owned my own Cooper S for a few years. More on our Countryman are the larger panel around the bonnet and headlights, but seem to be a necessity of the ambitious rather than any build

Going back to my initial I have to admit to being impressed with the interior and finish on similarly sized and Renaults recently. But oh those plastic front wings! The could still learn a or two from the Germans, it seems.

By Fagelson

Mini Countryman

Sat-nav success – 16 May

Anyone who drives a lot inevitably has a relationship with sat-navs. vary wildly in their and usability; if you spend your day jumping from car to car then it can be to keep your TomTom at hand rather than try and get to with yet another unfamiliar

The Mini’s system is among the on offer. The screen sits the large central speedo and has something of a Bond gadget to it, perhaps because the tech is at odds with the retro and dials. Inputting your is achieved using the tiny down behind the gearstick.

BMW’s iDrive condensed the lid of a biro. It functions fine and looks after the stereo and car

It says something about the clarity and usability that I never felt the need to for my old friend TomTom even venturing to the centre of Paris on a shoot. The display is big enough to use as a screen, it reroutes quickly if you wrong turn or choose to a direction and it accepts postcodes fuss.

I have no idea why brands seem to struggle satellite navigation, but Mini has got it on and for the time being the TomTom is dust.

Downsides? It’s

By Mark Fagelson

Nice on the – 27 April 2011

The ‘on the road’ for a Mini Cooper D ALL4 such as my long-term test car is But I’m sure nobody ever a Mini without adding and ours has £6555 of extra most of it lavished on the insides.

is far and away my favourite part of the Here I warm my cheeks on seats (£250), defog my windscreen (£345), call up the (£995) by using the trick control system (£250) and my little world of cream (£675 to complete the part-leather comes with the £2490 pack), tasteful trimmings of (£90) and piano black trims (a no cost option, one).

As for that Chili beyond the half-leather there’s a of goodies including automatic air a better stereo system, bigger alloys (now sports front seats and wheel controls. It also in some basics you might be to get as standard such as front floormats, a trip computer and seat height adjustment.

The overall result of our options bounty is a unique cabin packed to the rafters with refinement and gadgets. The boxes on the inside more than for an exterior lacking in that brand of style and individuality.

By Fagelson

An unexciting exterior – 13 2011

Has a Mini ever the factory with no options or Parked down my street is a example of a bog standard Mini solid red paint with plastic wing mirrors and wheels. The owner is a wise man – he got a car for £12k – but it goes against the brand ethos.

Picking bells and whistles is a part of the experience.

Alas I missed out on part of the process: a bod at BMW head specified my Countryman’s options so the car ASAP. Low key, if not inexpensive, to be the order of the day when it comes to the You can have a 2wd Countryman, but ours the ALL4 intelligent four-wheel system.

This ups the cost by a over £1000 and downs the mpg figure by a little over

Our car, with its 110hp engine, sits in the middle of the oil Countryman range, with an 89bhp base model it, and the hot new 141bhp Cooper SD topping the while still returning the economy figures as the slower

As for the rest, I generally slip by in this curious looking due to the Royal Grey metallic (£385 – and not the most exciting on offer) and the matching roof or white are no-cost options our car have). Ditto for the wheels – we boggo silver. We do have indicator lenses for £70, but you noticed them?

Other options fitted such as headlights (£590) and folding, wing mirrors (£215) add if not flair. It’s all just a bit too up for a Mini. Is it possible to retro fit a Jack roof and wing big black wheels and some stripes?

Next, the leather-lavished

By Mark Fagelson

Breaking the duck – 21 March 2011

driven the Countryman before, so a swap with keeper Fagelson. It’s a curious all standing on tiptoes, familiar motifs stretched into shapes, not all of them pleasant. I to cast aside much of the campaign, I really did.

But it was difficult to approach the Countryman total neutrality.

Part of the lies in the curious package on This car is 4097mm long – on a par your typical supermini – so its is just 350 litres. Which life difficult for photographer with his myriad boxes, bags and lengths of scaffolding.

call it the first four-seater and they’re right: space is in the back seats, but the flipside is the boot is slightly pathetic. you just buy a Golf estate or 4×4, depending on your of passengering and mud-slinging?

CAR’s test Mini Countryman is an equipped diesel Cooper and over-specced with 4wd. The FWD Mini hatches only for traction in JCW form, so why should chunky derv model all-corner drive? Marketing I suspect (unless you live in climes, accepted).

Still, you level much of the above at the 4×4’s competitors. I drove Skoda Yeti more most and came to love it. How so? The boot felt more despite the figures and the Skoda’s was more premium too – I’m finding the Countryman’s cockpit cool over can-do.

It’s an ergonomic mess: you look at the massive central whose ‘epicyclic’ needle obscures your speed and buttons are scattered everywhere.

The not a complete disaster zone. you set off, you quickly realise kept the Mini zest The steering is pointy and keen, the Countryman an athletic partner, and the ride is fidgety on urban it settles down nicely at speeds when you’ve that trad Mini up to sixth.

I suspect in petrol or wanton Cooper S spec, the would drive phenomenally, the diesel feels sporty but quite delivers the thrills by the chassis.

It’s a curious our Countryman. Wannabe hot hatch, yet a 1.6 diesel that struggles to pacey with all that heft. The more practical whose boot will to match the load capacity of small estates. And a poser’s where the mask is just to slip.

I love most of the new generation. but reckon the Countryman not have quite hit the spot.

By Tim

Hello to our new Mini Countryman – 9 2011

hen my new long-term test car up on the Fagelson household’s doorstep I had yet to see a Countryman at close quarters. I’d viewed the early press with curiosity, and even caught sight of one on the road, but I didn’t know what to In photographs it’s difficult to the scale of the thing: would it be big and like a Freelander, or small and like a Panda 4×4?

The was somewhere in between. Certainly it is car-like than I had imagined, but it next to a regular Mini and it far more brutish and pumped-up its sibling. The styling is odd, so many design cues the Mk2 hatch that it’s to judge the design on its own terms. I it may always just look a bigger, uglier Mini, but we all thought the same of BMW’s Mk2

To make way for the Countryman we’ve our much-loved Golf GTI. The is much the same size as the departed VW, and the Countryman range is similarly to the Golf’s too. price tags will new to current Mini owners, but is the first grown-up Mini, a rival for people in need of doors and a boot.

With the of Golf practicality, BMW build Mini coolness, what’s not to

I’ll be putting all of that to the Besides the GTI, in the past also owned a BMW Mini in Mk1 S guise, so know all about the and chic that the brand can And beyond that, with a and my life as a photographer, the Countryman’s ability will be tested

I don’t want to judge it too but one thing’s for sure: it’s a beast, neither butch SUV nor MPV but undeniably different and unique. The qualities of style and character are and correct, but will the substance of the leave me wanting my Golf

We’ll find out over the six months or so, and in the next report be digesting the spec of my Countryman. the plunge and already bought Click ‘Add your below and let me know what colour and options you’ve for.

By Mark Fagelson

Mini Countryman
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