By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
The 2012 Mini Countryman is the "Jumbo Shrimp" of automotive world. With an elevated seating position and ample cargo space, the Countryman's dimensions strike the balance between the Mini Clubman and conventional small SUVs. Competing against segment powerhouses like the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, it may appear as if Mini brought a knife to a gunfight. However, the Countryman is prepared to confront its seasoned challengers with enticing features such as all-wheel drive (AWD), a snappy turbocharged engine and dynamic handling unmatched by traditional compact SUVs.
If you have always wanted a Mini but your daily driving responsibilities require a more practical vehicle, the 2012 Countryman's four doors, rear liftgate and 41.3 cubic feet of cargo space might be the answer you were looking for.
The Mini Countryman receives minor equipment updates for 2012 including a no-cost optional rear bench seat, which increases the Countryman's seating capacity to five. A 2-tone steering wheel and new wheel options are also added to the Countryman's expansive menu of available features.
Driving Impressions The Mini Cooper's driving dynamics have long been compared to that of a go kart, and while we can technically say the same for the Countryman, we'd compare it more...to a go-kart hauling 100-pounds of cargo. Actually, the Countryman weighs about 400 pounds more than the standard-issue Mini Hardtop, so in a related sense it has the same sporty driving dynamics of its siblings – including the razor-sharp steering and crisp handling - but not the same overall agility. The ride quality is a little firm, but we found it comfortable enough for a long road trip. On the inside, the seats could be softer, but they are adequately contoured and bolstered for the everyday drive and outward visibility is good from all angles. One note: We found the side mirrors to be placed too low, making them hard to see for shorter drivers.
Mini Connected Infotainment System
Mini's newest infotainment option, Mini Connected, offers drivers a variety of multimedia and entertainment functionalities. Utilizing Bluetooth wireless technology, the system leverages your smartphone's data plan for a range of connected services through Mini's free mobile app. Features such as social-media timelines, a customizable news feed, Pandora Internet radio and Google Local Search are clearly displayed on a brilliant 6.5-inch screen.
ALL4 All-Wheel Drive
The Cooper S Countryman ALL4 trim is the only vehicle in Mini's lineup that delivers the sure-footed traction of full-time all-wheel drive. Suitable for various on- and off-road driving conditions, the system seamlessly distributes power between the front and rear axles depending on the Countryman's speed, steering angle and acceleration rate.
The Mini Countryman's cabin is just as distinctively charismatic as its exterior. Like all Mini interiors, the center stack is home to a massive, platter-sized speedometer with an integrated audio system display. The climate control interface takes some getting used to and the assortment of chrome flip switches, while attractive, are difficult to distinguish. A unique (though fragile) 2-piece Center Rail system positioned between the outboard seats runs the length of the cabin offer an array of customizable configurations for armrests, cup holders or storage bins. At their most rearward setting, the rear seats offer generous legroom and an uncharacteristic- for a Mini - amount of headroom.Exterior
Despite its broader dimensions, the 2012 Countryman's design is undoubtedly Mini. The Countryman embodies the versatility of conventional SUVs with its rear liftgate, elevated ride height and four doors. A low load-in height combined with a wide opening liftgate at the rear makes stowing cargo a cinch. A key selling point with any Mini vehicle is aesthetic customization, and the Countryman is no exception. A myriad of colors, paint schemes, accessories and wheel options present an unparalleled level of factory-offered personalization.
While the 2012 Mini Countryman carries a higher entry price than many of its competitors, the decision to purchase a Countryman can be reinforced by a long list of standard equipment. On the outside, 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails are standard. Inside, you'll find 6-way manually adjustable seats, a 3-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leatherette seating surfaces, an engine start/stop button and a 6-speaker audio system with HD Radio. Safety features include seven airbags and Mini's crash sensing system that automatically triggers the hazard lights, unlocks the doors and deactivates the fuel pump during certain types of collisions.
As with the other vehicles in Mini's stable, the Countryman can be configured in over 10 million different ways. While we don't have the space to list them all, we can say that many of the standalone options are grouped together in packages. The Technology Package includes a harman/kardon sound system, rear sonar proximity parking sensors for difficult parking situations, a center armrest and the "Mini Connected" in-car entertainment system (with optional navigation). The Premium Package contains automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and the comfort access system, which locks/unlocks the doors via a button on the outside handles without ever removing the key fob from your pocket or bag. In addition to these packages, a multitude of wheels, interior/exterior color combinations and graphics are available to build a custom Countryman to the owner's content.
The 2012 Mini Countryman is powered by the same engines of its smaller siblings. Both engine choices displace 1.6 liters, with the Cooper trim receiving a fuel-efficient naturally-aspirated version, while Cooper S models add a twin-scroll turbocharger for a 33-percent boost in horsepower. Both versions are available with either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. While the standard Countryman is no slouch in Cooper trim, the additional thrust of Cooper S models shaves nearly two seconds off the base model's 0-60 time.
121 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
114 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/35 mpg (manual), 25/30 mpg (automatic)
1.6-liter turbocharged inline-4
181 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 - 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/32 mpg (manual), 25/32 mpg (automatic), 25/31 mpg (manual, AWD), 23/30 mpg (automatic, AWD)
By Pablo on Thursday, December 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun To Drive"
Cons: "Missing Some Basic Design Features That You Expect"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"I purchased the Countryman S after driving a pickup truck for 10 years fully expecting to be blown away. I wasn't. It is a very high performance car, but it lacks some really basic features that I would expect a $30K car to have. For example, the center console is a joke (and is not standard you have to buy it extra). Not enough room to store much of anything. Also, there is not an overhead storage area for glasses and sunglasses. There is a small inconvenient storage location in the center console strip to store 1 pair of glasses. Since I have 3 pairs I am out of luck. The base radio is very poor quality. If you are considering purchasing one of these cars, spend the $$ for the better stereo. The hands-free phone feature does not include texting, only phone calls. My pickup truck had a true hands-free system which was nice and I miss it. Also, the side mirrors sit low and are partially covered by the door. When you are sitting in the driver's seat, you can't see the entire passenger side mirror which causes a blind spot. Lastly, the MPG is at least 20% less than sticker. I get 28-29 HWY MPG and 26-27 Combined MPG. The sticker said 28 Combined and 34 HWY. Overall I am disappointed. I would not buy another until they improve these basic design flaws."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By baprice on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty, fun, reliable"
Cons: "small, limited storage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This car has been a joy to drive. The four door countryman is still sporty and the manual transmission brought back many great memories of younger days. The small size is inconvenient and requires a family with multiple vehicles for any activities that require storage."
15 people out of 26 found this review helpful
By MontanaMike on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Driving dynamics, look..."
Cons: "Gas mileage, sunroof shade"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I've had my Mini Countryman for 1 year and thought it time for a review. What do I like. The looks, driving dynamic, brakes, fun factor, quality build, transmission, engine get up and go, I can fit 4 people and easy access to back seat, added space for carrying stuff in boot and fact that it's a unique car that not a lot of people in my area own. What I don't like. Mediocre gas mileage for a car this small, uses premium gas, mesh sun shade on sunroofs which lets in way too much heat and light, run flat tires, limited interior storage and badly placed, and too small, cup holders. Overall this has been a great car. I'm leasing and will I keep in when lease ends -- still undecided on that issue."
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By Gilligan on Wednesday, July 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,100overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "looks good"
Cons: "bad interior, terrible transmission in base model"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I wish I had bought the "S" model, because the automatic transmission in the 2012 Countryman is far below expectations in terms of getting off the line. "Sport Mode" helps to improve the transmission performance, but it must be enabled every time you start the car (and there are some drawbacks to the use of "sport mode"). The 2012 Countryman has a bunch of BAD (which we considered "quirky" when we bought it) design features. Nearly ALL of these bad choices have been fixed in the next year's models. (for instance, window controls moved to from console to door, back seats converted to bench without the separating rail, standard center arm rest) I have had buyer's remorse with this car since month one. It is essentially a highly styled, expensive "Toyota Matrix" but without the zip. I was shocked to drive my mother-in-laws 5+ year old Matrix only to find out that it was a much better drive than my Countryman. Disappointed!"
6 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Nina on Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Unique, thrilling, comfortable, fun tech, eco"
Cons: "Pricey, not meant to be automatic"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I don't know many cars that can haul down the highway, fit four-five passengers comfortably, offer decent gas mileage, take on the snow/rain/dirt like champ, and all at a reasonable price. Having BMW build this car puts me a little more at ease with the bumper-to-bumper warranty and the excellent safety ratings. This is my second MINI and by far my favorite. It's different--not your day-to-day sedans everyone and their mother owns. Trendy but efficient. MINI offers thousands of customizable options to create your unique car. No car is perfect and I'm not looking forward to the expenses after the warranty runs out, but that's a problem most cars and their owners run into. I've always owned GM cars, but wanted something out of the ordinary. MINI certainly delivers. I get compliments everywhere I go and have had people roll down their windows mid-highway to ask me how I like the car. I'm a little bias, but I feel cars like MINI's are meant to be manual. All turbo, small-liter cars should be manual; and the manual doesn't disappoint. Smooth shifting, light clutch, and so much fun to drive."
15 people out of 21 found this review helpful
By Josh G on Friday, April 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, space, functionality, sunroof"
Cons: "Pickup, MPG, cost of repairs"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"If I were to do it again, I'd pony up the extra cash for the 'S' model. I had a Clubman S, and downgrading to the base is very noticeable. The pickup on my car is terrible and the gas mileage isn't so great either. I hope with the redesign in 2016-2017 we see these 2 items addressed! Otherwise, I am a die-hard Mini fan - love everything else about my Countryman."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful