By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/1/2012
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.You May Not Like This Car If... What's New for 2012
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 It 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.Favorite Features
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.