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2012 MINI Cooper Countryman Review

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The 2012 MINI Countryman brings the right mix of sport, utility, and comfort to the compact crossover game.

A bigger MINI might sound like a contradiction in terms, but even the biggest MINI--the Countryman--is compact compared to the competition. With its size, the Countryman adds a healthy dose of practicality, too, with better off-road capability, four doors and four usable seats.

The Countryman also marked the debut of a new styling direction for MINI, and the 2012 Countryman sticks to its guns. Taller, bigger, and with a more boldly-styled front end, the Countryman is instantly recognizable, both as a MINI and as something out of the ordinary. Inside, the Countryman is more similar to its smaller siblings, with all of the good (quirky design, surprising roominess) and bad (odd ergonomics) that brings.

The Countryman, however, is not very MINI under the skin; it's actually based off the platform under BMW's X1. That brings with it ALL4 all-wheel drive capability, a more refined ride, and somewhat more weight, but the difference from a typical MINI is measured in small degrees, not major paradigm shifts. Power is not quite abundant with the Countryman, even in Cooper S ALL4 trim, but it's a sporty ride for a crossover. All three Countryman trims (base, S, and S ALL4) are available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Base models use the same 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder found in other MINIs, while the Cooper S Countryman models (including the ALL4) use the 181-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder common to the Cooper S range. It's a bit of a shock how much MINI there is in the Countryman's handling, but no surprise that in the end, it's more sporty crossover than real sports vehicle.

Fuel economy is, accordingly, more or less in line with other MINIs despite the added bulk: the non-turbo base model rates 27/35 mpg with the manual transmission and 25/30 mpg with the automatic. The Cooper S Countryman does only slightly worse with the manual at 26/32 mpg, and actually a little better with the automatic at 25/32 mpg. Adding all-wheel drive to the Countryman S is only a 1-2 mpg penalty depending on the transmission chosen.

Also, like its MINI family, the Countryman is almost infinitely configurable, with many color-customizable paint elements, interior options, and equipment packages. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth or vinyl upholstery, ambient lighting, HD Radio, and power accessories. Available options include leather upholstery, MINI Connected with navigation, a Premium package with automatic climate control, keyless entry, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, a Cold Weather package, a pair of Sport packages, and a Technology package.

The NHTSA hasn't yet rated the 2012 MINI Cooper Countryman, but the IIHS gives the nearly identical 2011 model a rating of "good" and a Top Safety Pick. Standard stability and traction control, corner brake control, anti-lock brakes, seven airbags, and more are all baked right in, helping it earn its top marks.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015
2012 MINI Cooper Countryman FWD 4-Door S

Great but expensive car

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I loved this Mini Cooper sad countryman it had great style,ample power and the build quality was really good.the only problem was that it went through three sets of front tyres having only done 15,000 miles.i... + More »
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Tuesday, June 16, 2015
2012 MINI Cooper Countryman AWD 4-Door S ALL4

Its a MINI SUV and so its for the sports car driver to haul stuff faster

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My 2012 Countryman All4 is perfect for me as a larger man in my 60s. I have more leg room than a Taurus an the handling and safety of a Mercedes. It hauls 4 adults or a unch of yard good too. I love it.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2015
2012 MINI Cooper Countryman AWD 4-Door S ALL4

Finally found a car I want to keep!

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I had been jumping from car to car for at least the last 10 years. Always found some flaw or got bored with the cars I'd chosen and traded them in. But after 3 years of ownership, I still love my CountrymanS... + More »
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