2012 MINI Cooper Countryman S
(1.6L 4-cyl. Turbo 6-speed Manual)
What our ratings include
Date Driven: 1/19/2011 (2011 S AWD)
The 1.6L Turbo has plenty of power (181 hp @ 5,500 rpm) for the largest Mini. A 6-sp manual AWD tester ran to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, but it's the torque (177 lb-ft @ 1,600) that you will appreciate. The Countryman S never feels sluggish.
Our test car rocked the optional Sport package, so handling is outstanding. Steering is less nervous than other Minis but just as precise and responsive. Non-defeat stability program marginally limits fun.
Despite Sport package and optional low-profile run-flat tires, this wagon transmits road grain through the pedals/steering wheel only on the coarsest surfaces. Suspension softness is also within tolerable limits -- even with the Sport package.
As with the ride comfort rating above, only the worst roads will produce road noise. There's very little engine noise, but top-gear ratios produces a high-revving engine at a 70-mph cruise.
We understand there's a certain aesthetic design Mini is following, and there have been improvements applied to the Countryman's audio system controls, but there are still numerous sacrifices made in the name of being different.
Essentially the same sight lines as a wagon or small crossover which means a little better than a hatchback or SUV, but not as good as a sedan. Optional back-up sensors.
Seat Access & Space
The largest Mini still only seats 4, but now with 4 full-size doors and 4 bucket seats. Optional proximity keyless entry.
Cargo & Storage
Despite folding rear seatbacks and a rear hatch, the max cargo capacity is only 41.3 cu-ft -- partly because those rear bucket seats don't fold flat; partly because it's just not very large. Luggage space behind rear seats is 16.5 cu-ft.
Same reassuring door-close thud as previous Minis; same quality paint and interior finishes; same excellent, overall build qualities. It's still a Mini, just bigger.
Even if it rides an inch higher off the ground and is equipped with all-wheel drive, the Countryman S All4 is just an all-weather soft-road wagon, not an off-road SUV.