2011 MINI Cooper Countryman Long Term Road Test

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2011 Mini Countryman: Jumping the Berm

December 01, 2011

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Early yesterday afternoon (yes, high noon pics are sooo crappy) I drove our Mini Countryman down to the beach to check out the berm that had recently been constructed. Every year the city of Seal Beach pushes up this 10-12-foot sand wall to protect its residents from finding the Pacific Ocean in their living rooms during the winter.

At first glance, I felt an overwhelming urge to storm the boardwalk and see if the Countryman could make it over the crest.

I fought off the urge. But since the berm is so close to my house, I probably shouldn't be allowed to drive the Countryman again until spring.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2011 Mini Countryman: Rally Improves Your Image

November 11, 2011

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Whenever I see photos or video of the Mini Countryman WRC car, I get more enthusiastic about driving our long-term 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman. Same thing happened yesterday when I came across this X-Raid Mini Countryman.

A German team, X-Raid will enter five Minis at 2012 Dakar.

And sure enough when the clipboard came around yesterday afternoon, I picked out our civilian-spec Countryman for the weekend. We'll see if it can live up to my imagination en route to Target today.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 16,156 miles

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2011 Mini Countryman: Manual Transmission Infographic

September 27, 2011

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Mini isn't letting up with this whole Manual Up thing, the earlier ads (Manual Up, Stick Happens, Get Your Shift Together, Buy Two Pedals, Get One Free) have now given way to a new Mini sponsored infographic posted on Hunch.

Would you guess that manual drivers are more likely to prefer grapes, raspberries and bananas while automatic drivers are prone to strawberry, cherry and pineapple? Or that manual drivers prefer Richard Pryor while automatic drivers like Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais? Or that manual drivers like the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Face the Nation and NBC Nightly News while automatic drivers like Anderson Cooper 360, Today and The Situation Room?

Or that automatic drivers are 25% more likely to play FarmVille, 38% more likely to not have had access to a car in high school and 12% more likely to be introverts?

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2011 Mini Countryman: Our Favorite Caption

July 22, 2011

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Thanks to stpawyfrmdonut for this week's favorite caption. Here are the others that made us laugh:

How The West Was Fun (ergsum)
High Plains Drifter (ergsum)
New Countryman for Old Men. (biggbrother)
No Countryman for Oldham (noburgers)
The Good, the Bad and the Pugly (ergsum)
Well, Pilgrim, you don't look like any country man I ever seen. (ed124c)
High Noon, starring Mini Cooper (kain77)
How the Apex Was Won (kain77)
Cooper Cogburn (kain77)
Little Big Man (stpawyfrmdonut)
Yeah, we lost All4 races. (eidolways)
It can make the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs! (gxp_mike)
Ask not what your Countryman can do for you... (noburgers)
But the road's not moving! (vt8919)
The Willow Springs Job (teampenske3)
Mini Weeps at Willow (teampenske3)

What was your favorite?

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2011 Mini Countryman: You Write the Caption

July 22, 2011

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Editor in Chief Scott Oldham send me this photo of our 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman showing off at Willow Springs Raceway.

What is your caption?

We'll post our favorite this afternoon.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2011 Mini Countryman: Seatbelt Chime Is All in the Family

June 07, 2011

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This borders on being a gimmick, but if you're geeked up on Minis (as I have been since, oh, about late 2001), the way Mini has done the seatbelt chimes for its model line also borders on being cool. See, they all play the same song, same number of beats -- da-duh, da-duh, or something like that.

But the regular-size Mini Cooper hatch and convertible have a tenor version of the chime to tell you to buckle up; the bigger Mini Clubman has a baritone version of the same song; and the biggest-of-all Mini Countryman has the deepest version of all. 'Round about now, I'm kicking myself for not making videos of the seatbelt warnings in the Cooper and Countryman because I couldn't find any samples on YouTube.

So you'll have to take my word for it if you haven't been in these cars (or maybe you'll have to make fun of me), and enjoy the following sample of our 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman's bassy seatbelt chime.

Why does my opinion of the seatbelt chime matter on the Long-Term Road Test blog? Because each time I hear it, it reminds me that some Mini product planner in Munich has a sense of humor -- and I feel a little bit happier to be in the Countryman and don't mind so much that it's bigger and less entertaining than the Cooper hatch.

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2011 Mini Countryman: Can I Get a Canadian Flag?

June 06, 2011

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I'm Canadian. I could see myself buying a Mini. Therefore, it seems only logical that I'd want a Canadian flag atop my Mini.

But, can I get a Canadian flag graphic on the Mini Countryman?

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2011 Mini Countryman: You're Only as Old as You Look

March 08, 2011

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This morning I was waiting at an intersection near the office when a 60-something-year-old man turned in front of me driving an orange Kia Soul.

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2011 Mini Countryman: You Think It's Expensive ...

March 04, 2011

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So the Mini Countryman is really quite expensive. Our long termer is $35,400, which seems pretty hefty given its lack of leather, power seats and navigation.

But then I got to thinking: Just as the Cooper S generally nets a premium over a similarly equipped GTI, how does the Tiguan compare to the Countryman? They're both small European SUVs with turbocharged engines -- seems like an apt comparison.

Well, a fully loaded Tiguan SEL with leather and navi hits the register at $37,390(!) A Countryman would be $36,400, albeit without power seats (why not Mini?). Interesting.

Now, for comparison, a loaded Kia Sportage Turbo goes for $31,990. Hmm, is that Mini character and superior handling worth an extra 5 grand? For further comparison, a comparably equipped Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4Matic would cost $46,370.

I'm not sure what conclusions I can draw from this. Perhaps just that SUVs are getting really freakin' expensive.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2011 MINI Cooper Countryman in VA is:

$127 per month*
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