Autocar UK reviews the 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman, the top model of the new crossover family. Here is an excerpt from their review:
What’s it like?
An odd’un. First off, it feels noticeably bigger than a regular Mini, and the square corners can make it strangely hard to place during tight manoeuvres. You do feel like you’re sitting in a higher position than in even a regular hatch like a Focus or a Golf.
It sits on slightly taller tyres than a Mini Cooper S, so the ride is a little more compliant (and yes, we did find some urban potholes to see if the Countryman allow as many crashing intrusions as its siblings). And the engine is a willing companion – although the extra bulk of a four-wheel-drive Countryman is enough to make the 181bhp unit feel more like a smooth, healthy powerplant instead of the ultra-torquey role it plays in the regular car.
It seems more grown-up, in fact. And that, you may well argue, is no bad thing.
Yet in some areas – notably the steering – Mini’s engineers have tried to dial in some of the characteristics of the regular car. So around the straightahead the Countryman is pointy – nervous, even. And when you get further round the rack it becomes apparent that this trait has been programmed in; it’s as if the Mini brand book demanded it, so the Countryman got it.
And the conclusion….
Should I buy one?
More of you will probably be thinking that of this Mini than any other, because while the styling has split opinion, there’s no denying that this car does answer questions that the Clubman totally ignored.
It’s not a perfect family car, by any means. And in dimensions at least, it’s not a Mini. But we can see why the Countryman will have appeal.