Not Mini, Really? - 2011 Mini Countryman Long-Term Road Test

2011 MINI Cooper Countryman Long Term Road Test

2011 Mini Countryman: Not Mini, Really?

April 13, 2011


There's a lot of hate being fired at the Countryman. I heard one blow-hardy writer call it the stupidest car he's ever driven. Really? Folks apparently think that because Mini had the audacity to expand its product portfolio with a vehicle more people can use, they've somehow tarnished their brand. Hogwash, I say. The Countryman may be big for a Mini, but it's still properly mini amongst even compact SUVs.

Want proof? Check it out parked behind my wife's Mazda 3. That's a 15-inch difference in length right there. Now, the 3 is actually longer than quite a few compact SUVs -- the Outlander Sport (7 inches), Kia Sportage (2), VW Tiguan (2). Only the Nissan Juke comes close to the Mini with a difference of 14.4 inches, but the fact remains that amongst little crossovers, the Mini is still the miniest.

I'll buy criticisms that it's overpriced and less practical than those aformentioned SUVs (let alone Mazda 3s). But the exact same criticisms could be leveled at the regular Cooper relative compact hatches. I say Mini was quite true to its brand with the Countryman -- in look, in driving demeanor and relative size.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 5,730 miles

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