2011 MINI Cooper Countryman Photo
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Reviewed by Marty Padgett
Editorial Director, The Car Connection
Quick Take
MINI legitimizes the crossover movement with the vibrant, all-the-right-moves Countryman. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web

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.

Autoblog »

If Mini's first crossover -- the Countryman -- succeeds, it will be due more to its style and versatility than for the driving experience

Los Angeles Times »

Is it a bit ugly? From some angles it seems odd, and its unprecedented size and ride height play havoc with your Mini preconceptions.

Top Gear »

The retro-looking dashboard, with its large central speedometer and toggle switches, will be familiar to anyone who has spent time in more recent Mini models.

Inside Line »

Like its predecessors, the Countryman is a two-box design with a happy face consisting of through-the-hood headlamp eyes and upper and lower grilles.

Automobile »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$21,650 $26,950
FWD 4-Door
Gas Mileage 27 mpg City/35 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas 4-Cyl, 1.6L
EPA Class Compact
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 4
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style 4dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
8.0 out of 10
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The Basics:

When MINI set out on the road to building a bigger, taller crossover, the car world's ears perked up--and if they could have, they'd have formed question marks.

A big MINI? Isn't that like jumbo shrimp?

The oxymoron from Oxford's ready now for all critics, and after our road test of the 2011 MINI Cooper Countryman, we can tell you that the alarm bells should be silenced. Turn off the emergency-alert system. Put the red phone down. The Countryman's still a MINI in feel and fettle, even though there's barely anything related to the current MINI Cooper other than the name badges.

The Countryman, you see, is spun off the same platform that BMW calls the X1. There's real all-wheel drive baked in, and a BMW-ute-ish ride height and stance to give away those light German roots. The Countryman's assembled in Graz, Austria, where its real countrymen have included other contract-manufactured cars screwed together by Magna Steyr including the Chrysler minivans, Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and formerly, the BMW X3. Not an Oxford spat in sight.

It's almost undetectable, the way the Countryman feels more international and global and less distinctly MINI. It's so faint a sensation anyway, it hardly matters--whether you're driving the normally aspirated Cooper Countryman I strapped into, or the heavier, more powerful Cooper S Countryman and its Cooper S Countryman ALL4 kin.

The Countryman looks like a MINI, if a distant relative--and it feels like one too, in the same frame. MINI crows that it's the best crossover for gas mileage, too. Given all that, isn't it about time the meaning of the MINI name grew up and out, just a little bit?


  • Faithful MINI cues
  • Richer, tighter interior quality
  • Unexpected back-seat room
  • The usual MINI options smorgasboard


  • Some like the steering--and some don't
  • Rear-end styling almost misses the MINI dinghy
  • No paddles for the automatic shifter, yet
  • Controls and switches are still a little futzy
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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