I love Mini's. I have had 5, two currently. I traded a Clubman S to get this Countryman SALL4. I wanted a little more ground clearance for snow and taking kayaks to the rivers and lakes. I wanted to keep a low throw to the roof because I have to put one or two 45lb kayaks up there. The Countryman had virtually all the right characteristics with AWD, low roof, good clearance and four doors for guests. The car drives great and is very comfortable. I just got vinyl seats because of wet clothes from snow and kayaking. They are surprisingly comfortable and nearly perfect for me. Vision is great, driving is solid and sporty and close to regular Mini's. It has a bit more of a big-car feel at about 3300lb but that's not bad. Here is the significant negative. I just got it back from the shop this week with a new engine at 14200 miles. I have low mileage because I have three cars. one of which is a company-work car. I went in for an oil change and the rear main seal was leaking. They called it "crank lock" and I did not go over it in detail with the technician ,although I wanted to. I am fascinated by engineering. In any case the dealership was fantastic. They were courteous and kept me up to speed on the pace of the repairs. I asked if it was a common problem or manufacturer defect and they said it did not seem so. However, I see another review here by another guy who had an engine replaced at low mileage, too. I smell a recall in the future. So, here's the summary. Mini's are fun, sporty, urban-cool and urban-practical to the max. They drive well and do everything just as I would hope. However, they are hit or miss, with a lot of misses on reliability. Understand, I love Mini's. I am in a Mini Cooper club but I have to be straight on the reviews because I use these reviews extensively myself. Not one other thing has gone wrong but the engine is a big deal and I think they said they replaced the water pump at the same time. So, if you consider one of these my best advice is be sure they are under warranty when you buy.
Never slid in ice or snow, handles very good. It is a lot of fun to drive and I would probably have better fuel economy if it was not as much fun to drive. No issues getting up to speed, that's for sure! I had some issues with local dealer support and quality of technology craftsmanship. It took me 2 years to get an issue fixed that came from manufacturer it was a faulty AV jack that made it so you could not plug in an AV cable to listen to anything but the radio. The other 2 issues I had were an oil leak that was manufacturer defect and an AC power cable was freyed that both had to be fixed. Repair takes a while, the MINI service center didn't have anything on hand so each thing that had to be fixed or replaced had to be ordered. I drove this with baby seats in the back and strollers and diaper bags in the boot (trunk). Not a lot of storage space, but that was not something I was concerned about. I never had an issue fitting anything I needed to in the Countryman. My biggest annoyances are the windshield wiper settings and not being able to actually block the sun from the sunroofs more. Otherwise it's a fun car and handles really well in all weather.
I've owned 7 manual cars over my lifetime. My year old MC Countryman S 2013's clutch never felt quite right, especially on hills. I learned this past week how wrong it is --and that MC knows this and does not have a fix. I was stuck in a mile of stop and go traffic --ON A HILL. By 1/3 of the way up, the clutch was burning and smoking and I had tremendous difficulty getting to the top safely. Although the burn smell lingered for another week, the clutch performed fine after that --no smoking no slipping. I finally took it into the dealer to check it out. Bottom line: Countryman clutches smoke on hills; expect it to burn out; hopefully it'll do so within warranty period. YIKES.
Always been a huge fan of MINI but I've literally had so many problems with this car. Something went wrong when they designed it and even MINI mechanic told me that BMW parts aren't great. It's an awesome car but so not reliable. So far...the wheel bearings went, clutch, fly wheel, fuel pump and spark plugs. My car has 43k miles and none of this really should be happening. Did I get a lemon? Not sure...MINI seems to blame quality of parts. Some things were recalled...just been frustrating. When a MINI mechanic tells you this is typical...you know something is up. I wish they were reliable.
I was looking for a car that would be perfect for my family if 3 but still work if we decide to have another child. My husband and I were both astonished by the room in the backseat! He could sit back there no problem and he's 6'3. I knew I wanted a suv but I wanTed something not too bulky. This fit the bill and then some. The sound is good so I won need to replace anything and I love how the keyless entry is standard. It's a joy to drive and my husband and I fight over the drivers seat. Even my 7 year old thinks mommy has a cool car. We don't drive to work so I doubt we will have much engine problems and it's keeps the gas cheap. Wasn't a fan to find out it takes premium gas.