Autoblog gives us one of the first reviews of the new 2011 MINI Countryman. According to MINI, the Countryman is “a new dimension” and “genuine crossover that bridges the gap between the classic concept of the MINI and a modern Sports Activity Vehicle”, and the folks at Autoblog tend to agree with the automaker.
This is the first MINI with four doors and a large tailgate as well as a variable interior offering space for up to four occupants. The market launch of the new MINI Countryman will be 18 September 2010.
In the mean time, let’s have a look at their review:
“In an effort to show Mini owners and enthusiasts that the Countryman is indeed worthy of a Cooper badge, the automaker brought a few of the new crossovers out on its 2010 Mini Takes The States cross-country road rally. Mini is wholly confident that people will be impressed with what the Countryman has to offer, not only with functionality, but with driving dynamics, as well. We saddled up to find out for ourselves.
As far as design goes, you’d better get used to what you see on the Countryman, since the revised styling is likely to trickle down to the rest of the Mini range in the next few years. The front fascia ditches the cutesy appeal of the current Cooper in favor of a more aggressive, bulgy stance. Yes, it’s snarling at you. Base Countryman models use a chrome-striped grille that’s substantially less angry, and we think the majority of buyers will prefer this treatment. Not us, though, we grew to rather like the growling “don’t call me fat” face of our Countryman S All4 tester, and if you want turbocharged power or all-wheel drive, you’d better grow to like it, too.
We’re glad that Mini opted to use a standard liftgate on the Countryman as opposed to the dual barn doors on the Clubman. It’s better for loading and visibility, not to mention design cleanliness. We’re told that the Countryman will be available in countless configurations, much like the rest of the model range, but we’re particularly fond of our tester’s all-black setup with the sharp black alloy wheels. Still, contrasting roof colors, a variety of wheels and other goodies will all be on hand, and we can’t wait to see what eccentric Countrymen (Countrymans?) look like out on the road.
When we first hopped into the Countryman with Mini’s McDowell riding shotgun, he told us that the most important part of the development process was making sure that the driving dynamics stay true to what people have come to expect from the brand. After all, our biggest fear with the Countryman was that it might not be fitting of the Mini badge, and not just in terms of size. Mini has created some of the best-handling cars on the planet, and its latest crossover – amazingly – delivers.”