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2012 MINI Cooper Countryman Styling

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Styling
The farthest departure from classic--or even modern--MINI styling yet, the Cooper Countryman is bigger, bolder, and burlier than its siblings. But it still shares the family genes.

The proportions, profile, and many of the details are like those of the more road-oriented MINIs, but up-sized. In fact, the Countryman's design was the inspiration, or at least the predecessor, of the redesigns the rest of the lineup have seen recently.

It's not so much what makes the Countryman like its cohorts that's interesting, however--it's what makes it different. The large, flared fenders, tall ride height, plastic-clad bits, and four-door layout make it clear that this MINI is meant for suburban utility as much as urban mobility.

Even BMW underpinnings, all-wheel drive, and a full four-seat, four-door layout can't take the MINI out of the 2012 Countryman.

Inside, the Countryman shares more in common with its Cooper counterparts in design terms, with familiar, quirky MINI sensibilities: large, round gauges, including the center-mounted speedo; ovoid pedals; a levers-and-knobs center stack; and ample MINI-wing badges. If anything, it's somewhat less busy and complicated than the average MINI--perhaps because the details are spread out over a slightly larger area.

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