New York Times gets behind the wheel of the 2011 MINI Countryman and shares their thoughts on MINI’s first crossover vehicle. Here is an excerpt from their review:
“Unlike, say, the old Saab 9-7 (a k a, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer), the Mini Countryman is a logical extension of its brand. There are surely would-be Mini owners who wish for more room, or more traction, than you get in the Mini hardtop or Mini Clubman. Unto that breach rolls the chunky, blunt-prowed Countryman, looking like the old Audi Allroad’s punk nephew.
In this car, as with other Minis, you’re paying for design. The Countryman interior, in particular, looks like something that other companies may cook up for a concept car but then abandon on the way to the showroom.
In cars with a navigation system, the screen resides in the middle of the gigantic round speedometer centered in the dashboard. The parking brake handle resembles an aircraft throttle, and a center rail that bisects the interior allows for clip-in attachments like cup holders, armrests and a litter bag.
If the Countryman had 250 horsepower under the hood, I’d say it needed all-wheel drive to help deploy the power. As it is, the Countryman All4 uses the same 181-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine as the other Cooper S models. Meanwhile, it gains some 600 pounds over a two-door Cooper S.
To put that in perspective, adding 600 pounds to a Mini Cooper S is akin to a 150-pound person ballooning up to 180 — you’re going to notice a change like that.
The Countryman All4 isn’t exactly lethargic, but the extra weight noticeably dulls the playful exuberance of its lighter brethren. In testing by Edmunds Inside Line, the Countryman S All4’s quarter-mile time was exactly the same as that of the Toyota Sienna SE minivan: 15.7 seconds. I don’t expect a Mini to excel at drag racing, but it would be nice if it could outrun a Cheerios-encrusted day care on wheels.”