2012-2014 MINI Countryman S Review t

this is the 2012 MINI Countryman Cooper S all4 or as I like to call it the mini maxi because this is the largest mini that Mini has ever built let’s take a look the reason for buying the countryman is of course back

here because not only do we get four doors but we also get optional

all-wheel-drive under the hood we have two engine choices we have a turbo and a non turbo engine of course our mini here is the turbo version because we have all-wheel drive that means we’re producing 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission you really do want the turbo engine because otherwise you end up with only 121 horsepower and

the turbo all for only go 0 to 60 in 7 seconds making it not terribly quick what’s interesting about many as a brand is it seems to focus mainly on style brand wise it slots somewhere between a mainstream brand and luxury brand

and that’s most obvious here in the interior we have this very stylized center console here which I think kind of reminds me of a Disney theme here with some Mouse ears you know we get our center console here with automatic

climate control which is an option our mini navigation system and radio interface here rows of interesting little stylized buttons we have our I Drive controls here in the center console and again this is a mini connected but it is actually just a version of I drive as you can see from these screens here on the radio this is very similar to BMWs previous generation iron drive interface

and that’s just the I Drive without the shortcut buttons on it here we have a very nice leather wrapped steering wheel with shifter paddles in the automatic transmission version and we get the mini classic center mounted tachometer which I find a little bit distracting actually because you really just want to pay attention to my speed rather than how fast the engines going especially when this is an automatic car we get a nice textured dash here it’s a nice soft touch – nice upholstery but we do get fairly low-rent headliners and fairly low-rent carpet because again the mini does slot somewhere between a mainstream grant and a luxury brand and the pricing on the countryman is Ahava hover somewhere

between twenty-seven thousand and 37,000 approximately for this 4-wheel Drive version let’s take a look at the mini connected system this is both a navigation and infotainment system that’s essentially just minis version of BMWs iDrive since of course minis owned by BMW that is sort of borrowed a version of I Drive it’s an interesting combination of the latest version of I Drive with a smaller screen and a functionality set that’s somewhere between an older version and the absolute current version of I Drive we have our mini connected app here

on my iPhone 4s and just like our drive you need this if you want to use mini apps like Twitter Facebook the Google send a car as well as some of these more interesting mini specific things like Mission Control dynamic music and driving excitement which we’ll take a look at so this is the homescreen on the mini connected system I’m going to go ahead and plug my iPhone in so that way it’ll be ready when we look at those features we have our stereo typical CD Multimedia Interface here this is just like I drive we have USB access to our iPhone or iPod this is allows you to search through playlists genres etc you can browse your playlists as well this is probably the faster way of interacting

with your iPhone to be honest much like BMWs iDrive there’s also a quote-unquote plug-in interface that goes in the center console and that charges your phone docks it and gives it the ability to use your dock bone in there as well as another USB device that’s how you can use two devices in the system down here on radio we have our typical radio and satellite radio a very typical

Bluetooth phone interface we were a little bit concerned about the audio quality on the system it’s not as high as some systems we have BMWs usual navigation system and while this does give you the ability to do 3d view as well as traffic it doesn’t actually have the 3d perspective view with topographic information like some of the modern BMW products have essentially voice controls

for entering addresses etc is exactly the same as I Drive fairly easy to use fairly intuitive the office application just really allows you to see your contacts in your phone not really quite clear why that’s separate if we scoot back up here too many connected this is where the interesting things really start happening with Minnie and with I Drive so right here

we have driving excitement and if you click on that you get standard driving excitement we get our horsepower and torque gauge as well as an engine temperature gauge it’s actually kind of interesting rather than being integrated into the software on iDrive this is actually running off of my iPhone and so there is a decent amount of lag between throttle application and

these gauges actually doing something because the car has to communicate that data to my iPhone my phone has to generate the data and then send it back to the head unit we go back to Mission Control this is a very odd thing for many actually what this does and while it sounds more interesting than it might actually be for you what what it does is it makes the car talk to you in cute little British voices apparently this is how Americans and Germans see the British people and so if you floor the car it will have a little

British guy come on and say full throttle in a quasi quasi British accent it sounds a little forced to me it will also occasionally spout out random mini facts talk about the weather etc there are multiple different language packs that you can use there and you can download them from the mini connected app on your phone dynamic music is kind of interesting this basically plays a digitized tune don’t know if you can hear it here please plays digitized music from the iPhone through the center screen however there’s a twist it actually

has dynamic beat capability so the faster you go the faster the beat gets and it adds extra instruments if you do things like turn on your turn signals and and things like that more of a whiz-bang feature I think that an actual useful feature to be perfectly honest vehicle infos where you get your trip computer as well as your vehicle stats with four doors we get logically enough

five seats in the rear these seats are fairly flat there definitely a bench style seat so there’s very little bolstering in the rear seats we get this interesting 40/20/40 folding rear seats this is the 20 section of the rear seat there no cupholders back here which is a little bit of a bummer we get a little indentation in this 20 section we get some interesting little door pockets which you can Jam sodas in if you were had kids in the car for instance but really what’s going on back here is seating for four and some sort of cargo

pass through here so if you wanted to take your skis with you to Tahoe you can actually do that in the countryman because of this 2040 folding rear seat design here and if I get out and fold this other seat section here you can see that the seats fold fairly flat to the ground which actually makes cargo low loading fairly easy and one nice feature is these seats do recline so you actually can adjust

the recline on the rear seat making the rear seats more or less comfortable depending on your taste you’d also buy the countryman for a cargo room because as you can see here in the cargo area we get a significantly larger cargo area than any other mini this is the largest roller bag you can carry on a domestic flight and you can see you can actually carry them sort of long ways in the trunk which makes the cargo area far more convenient than the other minis if we pull out this bag we can find out exactly how a journalist fits in the cargo area overall I give this cargo area a four out of ten the carpet is fairly nice and there is some optional storage available under this hatch we get a little cargo area cover here which is kind of nice that automatically lifts out

of the way with the rear on the road the MINI Countryman rides drives and handles pretty much exactly like a regular mini that’s slightly taller slightly overweight has two extra doors and all of the drive because that’s exactly what the MINI Countryman is all kidding aside it actually handles fairly well all the steering is a little bit number than I would like the handling is fairly admirable for a fairly tall mini that’s because the poked and prodded it in pretty much every direction it’s also wider than a regular mini although it is down on power and I really wish this did have the John Cooper Works 208 horsepower engine under the hood 181 horsepower is perfectly acceptable taking us from zero to 60 in just under 7 seconds in our testing the only problem that I see with the MINI Countryman actually is the competition and that’s not competition from another

manufacturer it’s actually competition from BMW itself because of course BMW makes minis the problem is that the BMW x1 exists and for basically the same price as our fully loaded MINI Countryman here you could get an all-wheel-drive BMW x1 with the 2-liter 240 horsepower 4-cylinder engine in it and that car is really quite compelling because not only is it more attractive you know to me personally I should say on the outside it also has a higher quality interior it has more power is faster 0 to 60 and although the EPA numbers haven’t been released yet based on the numbers from the new 328i I really wouldn’t expect the BMW x1 to be that much lower even than this many I would expect it to slog around right to right around what this mini is actually delivering which is a 23 city 30 highway I would not be surprised if the x1 delivered that so if you’re out shopping for essentially a mini SUV I would definitely put the MINI Countryman on your list but I would also take a really good look at that brand new BMW x1

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