Review: MINI Countryman | The Truth About Cars

7 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Review: MINI Countryman | The Truth About Cars
Mini Countryman

Review: MINI Countryman

(all caps required): the itself inherently limits the A large MINI would be It would not be seen as a MINI. But car buyers need something and more functional than the

  And, while MINI be less intent on world than VW, it would still to grow. What to do, what to do? word leaked that was working on a crossover, the brand’s feared for the worst.

Apparently fearful, MINI has moved cautiously. First it dipped a toe in the with the three-door half-measure as the Cooper Clubman. Essentially a with three inches to the wheelbase and five added to the overhang, the Clubman didn’t to undermine the authenticity of the brand. But it wasn’t much more than the regular Cooper.

with a couple more of legroom the rear seat only warranted a single rear-hinged door. Cargo expanded by about a third, but a more than very still isn’t much.

To expand its reach, MINI a vehicle in which four could travel comfortably. One four real doors. How could this vehicle be, and remain authentically a MINI?

The lifted straight from the of  Navin Johnson: don’t make it 16 inches longer a total of 161.7) and four wider (for a total of also make it a half-foot while keeping the styling as as possible to the original. This fools the eye by maintaining the Cooper’s proportions and enlarges the interior.

A 61.5-inch height puts the Cooper Countryman into territory, in which case you as well also offer All three dimensions are within an of the Nissan JUKE’s. So while the might be considerably larger a Cooper, and it might be a crossover, still dwarfed by even the “compact” ute.

A BMW X3, not exactly for its size, is 21 inches longer, inches wider, and four taller.

A digression on nameplates: time to drop the “Cooper” all models save the two-door. It was when Chrysler tagged a “LeBaron.” It was confusing when tagged everything a “Cutlass.” And confusing when MINI the same with “Cooper.” also confusing when the basic car is given many names, as VW is wont to do, but that’s for review.) The Clubman was little than an additional body so “Cooper Clubman” was okay, but the is an entirely different car.

are going to call it a “Countryman” so why not make it official? When I say in this review, I mean the

Back to the car. The Countryman some cuteness and gains ruggedness, but the differences are a matter of and the car won’t be mistaken for anything but a Same goes for the interior, strongly resembles that in the just larger.

In keeping with the brand, the console includes a speedometer so oversized that it can’t be at a glance (best rely on the speedometer tucked into the located tach) and a low-mounted row of switches that similarly form over function. the same prevalence of hard trim that looks a bit given the prices MINI Would premium materials be

The driving position is different. The being a crossover, you perch higher than in the other Though the windshield is, in the MINI distant and upright and the beltline is high, visibility is good in all The sport seats standard on the S are but comfortable. Their sizable aren’t just there to sporty; they fit snugly and give ground in turns.

no power seat adjustments and a single manual height the tilt of the cushion is not adjustable. A adjustment used to be standard in as lowly as the Hyundai Accent, but it be found in a crossover costing times as much today.

The back seat is split in two by a of rails, to which an optional can be affixed (and which serves no obvious purpose). means there’s no spot for a person, but the cabin is too narrow for across anyway. The specs that there’s hardly legroom than in a Clubman (up 1.5 in back, but down an inch in and so still 3-4 inches short of the compact crossover.

Subjectively, though, the rear in the Countryman is much more than that in the Clubman and than that in the JUKE. The seating position, which much better thigh helps a lot. Additional the Countryman’s second row slides and

Cargo volume behind the row, 12.2 cubic is more than double in the Cooper. Folding the second row the volume to 41.3 cubic vs. 24.0 in the Cooper and 32.8 in the

Though still well of the typical compact crossover 19.4, 56.5), the Countryman outdoes the JUKE (8.9, Runs to CostCo shouldn’t a problem unless one finally for that 65-inch LCD.

The is about 200 pounds heavier the Clubman and about 400 heavier the Cooper. In base form it under the 3,000 mark. Add a an automatic, and all-wheel-drive, as in the tested S Countryman ALL4, and curb increases to a not-so-MINI 3,252 200 more than the similarly JUKE. To motivate these pounds the Countryman employs…the same engines as the other

So the 121-horsepower naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter has its work cut out for it, especially if teamed the six-speed manually-shiftable automatic. The horsepower added by the S’s turbo are certainly welcome. Even them the Countryman isn’t a but acceleration is easily adequate. For results, get the manual transmission.

Turbo lag is minimal and, thanks to the all-wheel-drive, torque is absent.

Fuel economy, to the EPA: 23 city, 30 highway. not exactly stellar, the lighter does only a bit better and the slower Suzuki SX4 doesn’t do as well (23/29). If you want better numbers you’re to have to give up all-wheel-drive.

can deaden a car’s handling, but not time. Instead, the system one entertaining feature that’s new to the throttle-induced oversteer. Not much of it, but to have some fun, on slick surfaces, and it’s controllable.

The interior bits not all be the hardiest, but the body itself rock solid when the car through tight turns. with the standard suspension more body lean in the lower Cooper, but not too much, and no slop. The steering is quick (if far from go kart quick—banish analogy) and, if not chatty, more direct than the in the JUKE.

Hitting a “sport” bumps up the steering effort, but the feel is more artificial.

Mini Countryman

Put it all and this small crossover has the but lively character of a MINI, with a higher seating and a little less agility. The is one of those cars that can be positioned with a minimum of You point, it goes.

The brand’s character hasn’t sacrificed in pursuit of a livable seat.

Also surprisingly given the brand’s past: the ride quality (at least the standard suspension). The taller likely permits more travel. Though still no the Countryman generally opts to bumps rather than them (and you) submission.

So, what’s not to like? being a European car, it be the price. To its credit, MINI has the Countryman only $550 than the Clubman, all of which can be for in extra features such as rear windows and reclining seats. The starting price of seems reasonable, but the options are and quickly add up.

The tested vehicle in at $33,500 despite being optioned (heated leatherette panoramic sunroof, xenons, H/K Bluetooth). Checking all of the boxes add another $5,000, and you still have a power driver’s or an upscale interior. You can save by opting for a clutch, but there’s not a lot of fat in the tested vehicle’s $33,500

Check the same boxes on a JUKE, and the total comes to $25,300. And this number leather, nav, and keyless Add these features to the MINI, and the swells to $35,650.

In its defense, the does include many not even available on the Nissan, notably a two-panel panoramic Adjust for these using car price comparison tool. and the shrinks to a mere $7,700.

Compared to European alternatives, the price seems much reasonable. Similarly configure a but much less stylish Tiguan, then adjust for feature differences, and it can run up to a grand than the MINI. Any other ute costs far more.

Also possibly not to like: reliability, or a thereof. MINIs don’t a good reputation here…but might be getting better. on responses to TrueDelta’s  Car Survey.  the current is worse than average its first model year but not too far from the average with cars.

How will the Countryman, an model, fare? Time tell.

The Countryman is no MINI With it, the look and feel of a has been successfully transferred to a four-passenger, optionally all-wheel-drive If you want a MINI, but need to fit reasonably-sized adults and a couple of into it, this is your

Just be aware that it is a car, with a sticker to

Brad Paris of Motor MINI provided the car. He can be at 248-997-7700. TTAC HQ  declined the for a car wash.

Michael Karesh TrueDelta. an online source of reliability and pricing data.

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Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
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