2011 MINI Countryman

The 2011 MINI Countryman is what Mini Coopers want to be when they grow up. It is bigger, more spacious, and more spirited to drive compared to its smaller siblings. But whether this increase in size is enough to charm people who are looking for a practical people and cargo hauler remains to be seen.

What is certain though is that people who have followed the Mini over the years will appreciate that it now has a bigger brother, on steroid or not, that offers all they love about the Mini at a bigger package.

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: Compact Wagon Base Price: $22,350.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 12.4 gallons (47 liters) MPG: 28 city / 35 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 161.7 in. (410 cm) Width: 70.4 in. (178 cm)
Height: 61.5 in. (156 cm) Wheel Base: 102.2 in. (259.5 cm)
Curb Weight: 2954 lbs (1339 kg) Ground Clearance: NA
Luggage Capacity: 16.5 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Performance
Engine: 1.6L 16-valve DOHC inline-4 Displacement: 1598 cc
Horsepower: 121 HP Max RPM: 6000 RPM
Torque: 114 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
0-60 mph: 9.8 seconds Maximum Speed: 116 mph (186 km/h)
Available Trims & Engine
Option:Cooper S Countryman MSRP: $25,950; MPG: 26 city / 32 hwy
Option:Cooper S Countryman ALL4 MSRP: $27,650; MPG: 25 city / 31 hwy

Mini Coopers aren’t the roomiest cars around. They are ideal for yuppies and urbanites that would normally just use them to drive to work or for some quick errands around the city, probably with a few bags of groceries stowed in the trunk.

Mini introduced the Clubman to broaden its market by catering to those who require more space for their cars. However, sub-compact SUVs like RAV 4 and even bigger hatchbacks like the Mazda 3 gave the Clubman a hard time in capturing that segment of the market.

All that should change with the entry of the MINI Countryman, or so at least Mini hopes.
Yes the Countryman is the biggest of all Minis but will it really appeal to the market Mini is trying to target? Or will it fizzle and worse alienate loyal followers who have come to love the Mini’s distinct diminutive size over the years?

Performance

As with other Minis, the Countryman has an inline-4 1.6L engine that outputs 121hp and 118 lb-ft of torque. Only available on front-wheel drive, the Countryman offers six-speed manual transmission as standard and six-speed automatic transmission as an option.

Performance-wise, the base Countryman accelerates form 0-60 mph in 9.8 seconds, 10.9 seconds for manual and automatic models respectively. Fuel economy is pegged at 28 mpg city/35 mpg highway for the manual, and 25/30 for the automatic.

A Countryman S is also available. It features a turbocharged variant of the same engine that outputs 181hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices are the same for the S variant as the base model.

Additionally a Countryman S All4 edition is available. Basically, it is the same as the S, except that it is an all-wheel drive rather than front-wheel drive. The All4 manual accelerates from 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds, while the front-wheel is a little quicker. Fuel economy is estimated at 26/32/28 for front-wheel drive and 23/30/26 for the All4 drive.

Interior & Exterior

The Countryman is a compact SUV with four seats. It has two trim models: Countryman and Countryman S. The Countryman S may be fitted with an AWD system, or as Mini likes to call it ALL4.

A set of 17-inch alloy wheels, adjustable steering and throttle settings, height-adjustable driver seat, vinyl upholstery, roof rails, cruise control, air conditioning, trip computer, six-speaker sound system with CD player, satellite and HD radio with auxiliary input jack, and a tilt-and-telescoping leather-clad steering wheel are all standard amenities for the base Countryman.

A turbocharged engine, fog lamps, traction control, a different exterior trim, and sport seats are standard to the Countryman S.

A huge catalogue that lists customization options for the Countryman is available. Buyers may choose to add body graphics, 18-inch wheels, and a 10-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, among other things.

Safety

The 2011 Countryman features standard safety amenities such as ABS, stability control, front-seat side airbags, and side curtain air bags. Traction control which is standard on the S model is an option on the base model.

Reliability & Warranty

Standard warranty coverage for the Countryman is four years or 50,000 miles whichever comes first. Additionally, a 12-year unlimited mileage warranty is given against rust perforation.

Competition

The 2011 MINI Countryman is a little tricky to classify as a vehicle. While it is being marketed as a compact SUV, it is significantly smaller and less family-oriented than established crossover vehicles such as the Honda CR-V (MSRP $21,895; 21 city / 28 hwy) and Toyota RAV 4 (MSRP $22,475; 22 city / 28 hwy).

So if it is really a compact SUV you are looking for, then those two brands mentioned earlier may demand your attention. Both offer roomy and competent alternative to the busy parent who may need to haul kids to school or something.

But be warned that they will not reach the level of performance being given by the Countryman.
If performance matters much to you, then you may consider the Volkswagen Tiguan (MSRP $23,720; 18 city / 26 hwy).

Having said that, if what you are just looking for in a car is a spacious vehicle that seats five, has lots of storage options, a generous cargo area, good fuel consumption, then what you might be looking for is nothing more than the Honda Fit (MSRP $15,175; 27 city / 33 hwy), or even a Mazda 3 (MSRP $20,045; 20 city / 28 hwy).

Pros

  • A Countryman still looks like a Mini and it drives like a Mini. Whether this is a con as well is debatable.
  • The adjustable backseat makes the Countryman more spacious.
  • Its engine is fuel efficient and the S model gives a terrific performance.
  • Customization options is a plus for people who want to make their car distinctly their own.

Cons

  • As with other Minis, the ride can be a little stiff for comfort.
  • It also tends to be noisy on the highway.
  • A compact SUV that only seats four is a definite turn-off.
  • Same can be said about the car’s lesser cargo capacity.
  • Price may be too prohibitive for some people.

Overall Rating
77 out of 100

What others say:

“MINI legitimizes the crossover movement with the vibrant, all-the-right-moves Countryman.”Car Connection

“Mini's strong suit. All Countryman variants have crisp steering; athletic handling; and strong, smooth brakes with a compliant pedal feel.”Consumer Guide

“It might be big for a Mini, but it's still mini for an SUV. The 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman maintains the look and driving feel of the regular Cooper hatchback, but provides a usable (and accessible) backseat.”Edmunds