2011 MINI Cooper Countryman Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality
The Countryman has two conflicting missions: one one hand, it has to be small enough to appeal to MINI devotees. On the other, it has to be large enough to fit real people and their very real baggage.

It's a success, as much in back as up front. Those fabulous front seats are adjustable in a couple of ways, and have the kind of perennially pleasing shapes that don't require 18-way power adjustment. The bottom cushion's long enough for almost anyone to get a firm grip, and the center console doesn't shear too much leg room.

The Countryman is the biggest MINI--jumbo shrimp, call on line one--but even knowing that, you'll find the back seat's a stunner. Six-footers will find a couple inches of headroom to spare, even with MINI's large sunroof installed. Knee room isn't quite as lavish, but the Countryman seems more spacious than the much bigger Acura ZDX. The seats also slide on rails for better legroom compromises from front to back, and the rear bucket seats tilt back slightly for a relaxed riding position.

Space is the 2011 MINI Countryman's ally--the back seat is adult-sized, and even the smallish cargo area can hold a few pieces of luggage.

The Countryman puts its squeeze on its cargo hold. The Countryman's 12.2 cubic feet of luggage space will barely swallow a couple of water bottles and a camera bag, once you've loaded in a couple of roll-aboards. MINI says there are 40 cubic feet of space when you fold the rear seats forward--which sounds fine, until you realize the new Jeep Grand Cherokee almost has that cargo volume all the time, behind its second-row bench.

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