2011 MINI Cooper Countryman Long Term Road Test - New Updates

2011 MINI Cooper Countryman Long Term Road Test

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2011 Mini Countryman: An Angry Letter to BMW

December 21, 2011

Angry Letter to BMW.jpg

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2011 Mini Cooper Countryman All4: Rubber Shifter

November 18, 2011

Mini Cooper Countryman shifter.jpg

"Nice car!" That's what my young, bright classmate yelled to me as I waved and called out to her the other night. Yes, our long-term 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman All4 is a nice car. And like Anna, I too love the styling.

But the shifter isn't great. After driving it again for a few days to the LA Auto show I can confirm that it's very rubbery, and also hesistant to engage each slot. Additionally, I don't find the clutch engagement to be smooth, especially when starting from stopped.

These three things combine to make our Countryman difficult to drive smoothly.

Too bad. Otherwise, it's a nice car.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 16,500 miles

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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 Cooper Countryman All4: 16.5 Cubic Feet

November 21, 2011

GroceryGetter-1600.jpg This weekend included, as usual, a trip to the grocery store. I've not been entirely convinced of the Countryman's utility in the past, but with 16.5 cubic-feet of grocery-bag space (instead of the standard Mini Cooper's 5.7 cu-ft) it really does haul the groceries. With the exception of the rear bucket seats, I'm starting to come around on this one.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 16,665 miles

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2011 Mini Cooper Countryman All4: Refueling

November 21, 2011

Fueldoor-1600.jpg I refueled the Mini Cooper Countryman All4 and found one thing I liked and one thing I didn't. Liked: Fuel door with a handy place to insert the tethered cap (remember when we used to leave caps on top of the gas pump?). Didn't like: the fuel log crammed into the also-mini glove box. The thing is, the map pocket is absolutely ginormous and easily accommodates the steno-pad fuel log, so I'm not entirely clear why it needed to be mangled.

MiniGlovebox-1600.jpg MapPocket-1600.jpg

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 16,755 miles

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2011 Mini Cooper Countryman All4: Rubber Shifter

November 18, 2011

Mini Cooper Countryman shifter.jpg

"Nice car!" That's what my young, bright classmate yelled to me as I waved and called out to her the other night. Yes, our long-term 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman All4 is a nice car. And like Anna, I too love the styling.

But the shifter isn't great. After driving it again for a few days to the LA Auto show I can confirm that it's very rubbery, and also hesistant to engage each slot. Additionally, I don't find the clutch engagement to be smooth, especially when starting from stopped.

These three things combine to make our Countryman difficult to drive smoothly.

Too bad. Otherwise, it's a nice car.

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ 16,500 miles

See full article and comment.


2011 Mini Cooper Countryman: What Part of "Stop" Don't You Get?

November 15, 2011

MiniStopButton.jpg

I hate when people blare their music out their cars. I hate it even more when they park their car in my peaceful neighborhood and play some vile J-Lo top 40 song that sounds like a car alarm. Why would you do this? Also, get off my lawn!

But the Countryman turns me into "that guy."

You see, when I park and hit the start/stop button, the stereo stays on. That bugs me. In other cars, once you pull on the door handle the music stops. Okay, that's not so bad. But in our Countryman, it keeps playing until you lock it. Arrrrgh!

When I hit the stop button, I think everything should shut down. Thankfully, if you hit the button one more time with your foot off the clutch, it will shut off. But I saw no mention of this in the manual, nor is there a menu to change this setting to your preference. Sure, it's a small inconvenience, but if you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a grumpy old man today.

What do you think? Would this bug you, or should I just get back on my meds?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive 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 Cooper Countryman: Reliably Rolling Along

October 21, 2011

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While I was running some errands, the Mini's odo rolled by 15,000 miles. I was on the freeway at the time hence the slight overage. Thus far, the Countryman has been dead reliable and low maintenance, requiring nothing more than a single routine oil change. Yes, we replaced two tires, but that was not the car's fault -- both had developed a mysterious sidewall bulge without any evidence of tire/wheel trauma having occurred.

At 25 MPG, our maximum Mini's average fuel economy is the same as the EPA's city estimate. The EPA estimates the average at 28 MPG. But considering our lead-footed, Sport-mode-only staff and L.A.'s horrendous stop-and-go commuter traffic, that's not bad at all.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 15,008 miles

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2011 Mini Countryman: Another Turbo to the Rescue

October 07, 2011

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It was just yesterday that I was blabbering on about the new turbocharged four-cylinder in our new Ford Explorer. In that case, the extra juice gives the 2.0-liter engine just enough kick to make it feel perfectly adequate in the big crossover.

Last night, it was a different story, sort of. The tiny 1.6-liter engine in our Countryman S also benefits from a turbocharger, but it has far less mass to move around.

The result? It gives the Countryman S strength beyond its size. I'm not talking about a little spurt that makes it feel zippy, but a wave of torque that allows you to slice through traffic in fifth gear without even thinking. I checked several times too. Third gear? Nope, fifth. Now that's some nice power. Makes the "S" version seem worth it in my book.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Edmunds.com

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2011 Mini Countryman: Manual Transmission Infographic

September 27, 2011

Mini stick shift chart.jpg

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?

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