The 2013 Mini Countryman -- biggest and most practical member of the ever-expanding family -- has been chosen as the poster child to showcase a number of detail updates that will be found in all 2013 Mini models when they begin arriving at dealers starting later this month. While the exterior styling of the Countryman isn't changing, its palette is being refreshed and gains two new metallic colors, Blazing Red and Brilliant Copper. Equipment packages also are being redone to make it easier for buyers to personalize their vehicles, be it the Countryman or any other of its Mini mates. However, the real news here is found inside the passenger compartment which has received a sorely needed revamp that helps improve comfort and ergonomics while adding a bit more character to the design mix.
Although new colors and materials plus Carbon Black surrounds for the center speedometer and air vents are matched with restyled door inserts, the main gain comes in the form of repositioned power window switches which have finally been moved from the center console area out to the redesigned armrests where they should have been since day one. In addition to being far easier to use than the toggles they replace, the transition also opens up more space in the main storage bin. Given our experiences with our long-term Mini Countryman ALL4, we suspect -- and certainly hope -- this is only the first of several cabin "rethinks" that lie ahead that will make the control layouts a lot more user-friendly. The other key revision to the 2013 Mini Countryman is found in the aft quarters, where a fold-down 3-across bench seat becomes standard equipment. It replaces the individual two-place perches that will still be offered as an option. Bluetooth also joins the Mini's standards roster, replacing Sirius Satellite Radio that becomes a $250 extra.
The 2013 Countryman model lineup carries over, starting with the 121-horsepower Mini Cooper Countryman. A 181-horse turbocharged Mini Cooper S Countryman and Cooper S Countryman ALL4 complete the basic set with the super-hot 208-horse John Cooper Works variant topping the range. Pricing opens at $22,700, $26,300, $28,000 and $35,500, respectively, for each.