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The Truth About Cars Review: 2012 MINI Cooper S Countryman All4

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The Truth About Cars Review: 2012 MINI Cooper S Countryman All4

  #1  
Old 08-12-2012, 09:32 AM
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The Truth About Cars Review: 2012 MINI Cooper S Countryman All4



MINI is the most unlikely successful new brand in America. Why? Because the brand’s “tiny transportation” ethos is at odds with America’s “bigger is better” mantra. Of course, these contradictory philosophies explain why the modern MINI is nowhere near as mini as Minis used to be. Still with me? Hang on to your hats because the German owners of the iconic British brand have decided American domination hinges on making the biggest MINI yet. Enter the MINI Countryman. Or as I like to call it, the MINI Maxi.

Far from the expected TTAC skewering I expected, it's a mix of digs and praises with an overall positive impression...
 
  #2  
Old 08-12-2012, 09:56 AM
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The review claims ALL4 is a Haldex system; not correct.
 
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Old 08-12-2012, 12:34 PM
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These writers have an uncanny knack for grasping the obvious and then believing they've made a discovery.
Smaller is better for some. For many, even. But not everyone all the time. Eureka.
Besides, isn't the Countryman the smallest crossover out there?
 
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Old 08-12-2012, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by razz View Post
These writers have an uncanny knack for grasping the obvious and then believing they've made a discovery.
Smaller is better for some. For many, even. But not everyone all the time. Eureka.
Besides, isn't the Countryman the smallest crossover out there?
Couldn't agree more!

Additionally, I can't believe that they finish with yet another comparison to the BMW X1. I've read several articles and forum comments that can be summarized as "for that money you might as well buy an X1" using the flawed logic that a decently optioned CM ends at about $30K and the X1 starts at $31.5K. A car salesman would be proud of this logic. If you similarly equip an X1 as a $30K CM it will run at least $40K.

Yes, you get a more powerful engine and a bit more room, which I completely expect for another $10K.
 
  #5  
Old 08-13-2012, 06:00 AM
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the X1 , same factory... different principal. Different car. er... Crossover
 
  #6  
Old 08-13-2012, 07:41 AM
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Thought you might be interested in my post in response to the review:

We’ve owned an All4 for about 2 ½ months. It’s my GF’s daily driver, and after driving a Cooper S hardtop for 9 nine years/150k miles, there was not much out there that interested her other than the Countryman.

She loves small cars, but she needed something a bit larger that could occasionally carry 3 or 4 people without having to apologize to the ones having to sit in the rear seat. The AWD availability was a big plus for the frequent ski trips we take to northern New England. And she also has a very strong preference for a manual transmission, so that in itself made for a very short list of alternatives.

She wanted something that came as close as possible to the nimble go kart handling of her old car. Like the enthusiast publications have said, there’s just no other CUV out there that comes this close to driving like a sports car. Other than the new X1, we’ve driven them all. To be fair, both of us place a higher priority on handling than most. We own a Porsche Carrera, and are former Lotus Elise owners.

One other point that I don’t think anyone mentioned…if you don’t need all wheel drive, The Cooper S Countryman offers even better handling, will save you $1700, and gets slightly better mileage and is a bit quicker due to being 150 lbs. lighter.

Yep, there’s no question that people don’t buy Minis because you get a big bang for your buck. The option list can put the price of the Countryman (and any other Mini/BMW product, for that matter) into the stratosphere. The MSRP on ours was $34,850.

Other than the front seats and steering wheel, the ergonomics are not good. Thankfully there’s now a digital speed read out in the tachometer pod. And the comments above regarding the lack of a power seat and decent Navi system (we have it) are spot on. The clutch and shifter are no where as sporty as our old Cooper S. Finally, like most European nameplates, Mini has never been known as a trouble free car.

Like someone above, I thought the Countryman would appeal primarily to prior Mini owners. But we spoke to 5 dealers when we were shopping for our car, and they all said the majority of buyers are NOT former Mini owners…they are buyers that were long interested in Minis, but the prior offerings were too small for their needs…interesting. An unscientific poll of about two dozen other Countryman owners we have met bears this out, although there were plenty of prior Mini owners like ourselves.

Look at BMW’s sales figures for the Countryman, and especially the % of total unit sales in the U.S. that are Countryman versus the entire brand. Quite remarkable for a vehicle that appears to not make sense for the masses and is selling at a premium price point.

But we didn’t buy the Countryman because it made sense. We bought it because it was what my GF liked and wanted, and she absolutely loves it. Candidly, the sensible choice for us would have been a Subaru Forester. But if you are a driver who appreciates a nimble handling car, the Countryman will put a smile on your face.
 
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:50 AM
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I find it interesting that many reviewers who choose to compare the Countryman to the X1 find the Countryman to be ugly, and prefer the more Teutonic (more like Chinese, IMO) shape of the X1.

To each his own, I guess. But personally, I find the styling of the X1 (and its larger sibling the X3) an embarrassment to the BMW marque. They look as if they were trying to compete with Volvo in designing the busiest and most unattractive 5-doors ever to come out of Europe.
 
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:08 PM
Royson G
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The review might be more credible if the author could figure out whether he was reviewing the Countryman or the Clubman. The truth about cars is generally a bunch of no-talent trolls, this review doesn't change things much.
 
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:32 PM
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I came out of an '07 GTI back in '09 and thought there was nothing out there like it. The GTI was really one of my favorite cars ever. I got into a Clubman after the GTI. It took me a little while to really get to like the Clubman for what it was, and with time the love was there, and remained to the end. I wasn't so fond of the LOOK of the Countryman. I liked the Clubman mostly because of it's agility and fun to drive factor. A bigger/taller Mini wasn't exactly the recipe for keeping the same love I had for the Clubman. I was THIIIIIS close to pulling the trigger on a loaded '12 BMW 328i Sportline. I saw a Countryman on the road one day and immediately called up my MA to look for a Countryman. I did end up settling and taking what I could get, which meant spending about $5,000 in extra options. Oh well, you live once, right? I am paying about $30 less per month for the loaded Countryman I took over the loaded BMW I could have had. I also chose it over a '12 VW Golf R with an APR tune that a buddy of mine offered me for less. Why? Because it's a Mini. I like to be different, and I like the quirkiness. Sure the car isn't perfect, sure I get annoyed when my iced coffee doesn't fit in the cup holder, and it blocks the window switch. I'm not looking for perfection, and these things might have been overlooked by the R&D Department at Mini. Other than that, if I had any complaint at all, it's that the car should have more power. Adding weight but not power is a recipe for disaster. That's why I was forced to go to the aftermarket for this, but that's what makes the car more "Me", right? I'm almost where I want to be with the mods done so far, and the icing will be the tune I plan on getting soon. That will give me the Mini that I truly yearned for.

Bottom line is, this car (or any other Mini for the matter) isn't for everyone. Just like loyal Subaru, Saab and VW owners that have a passion for the brand, A Mini enthusiast is the person that's going to appreciate the Mini for what it is the most.
 
  #10  
Old 08-13-2012, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Shoof View Post
I came out of an '07 GTI back in '09 and thought there was nothing out there like it. The GTI was really one of my favorite cars ever. I got into a Clubman after the GTI. It took me a little while to really get to like the Clubman for what it was, and with time the love was there, and remained to the end. I wasn't so fond of the LOOK of the Countryman. I liked the Clubman mostly because of it's agility and fun to drive factor. A bigger/taller Mini wasn't exactly the recipe for keeping the same love I had for the Clubman. I was THIIIIIS close to pulling the trigger on a loaded '12 BMW 328i Sportline. I saw a Countryman on the road one day and immediately called up my MA to look for a Countryman. I did end up settling and taking what I could get, which meant spending about $5,000 in extra options. Oh well, you live once, right? I am paying about $30 less per month for the loaded Countryman I took over the loaded BMW I could have had. I also chose it over a '12 VW Golf R with an APR tune that a buddy of mine offered me for less. Why? Because it's a Mini. I like to be different, and I like the quirkiness. Sure the car isn't perfect, sure I get annoyed when my iced coffee doesn't fit in the cup holder, and it blocks the window switch. I'm not looking for perfection, and these things might have been overlooked by the R&D Department at Mini. Other than that, if I had any complaint at all, it's that the car should have more power. Adding weight but not power is a recipe for disaster. That's why I was forced to go to the aftermarket for this, but that's what makes the car more "Me", right? I'm almost where I want to be with the mods done so far, and the icing will be the tune I plan on getting soon. That will give me the Mini that I truly yearned for.

Bottom line is, this car (or any other Mini for the matter) isn't for everyone. Just like loyal Subaru, Saab and VW owners that have a passion for the brand, A Mini enthusiast is the person that's going to appreciate the Mini for what it is the most.


well said
i also got a 08 GTI .... if my GTI wasnt hited when it parked i would just keep the GTI and get a CM ... but since it got hit like 7 times in 2 months i just say fxxk it.. just trade it in and have 1 car only...
loving 2 car at the same time is like cheating lol
 

Last edited by PooLeArMor; 08-13-2012 at 07:21 PM.
  #11  
Old 08-13-2012, 07:56 PM
tybeegirl
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Originally Posted by Royson G View Post
The review might be more credible if the author could figure out whether he was reviewing the Countryman or the Clubman. The truth about cars is generally a bunch of no-talent trolls, this review doesn't change things much.
I found it fascinating that the last part of the video was filmed as he drove with the "package shelf" stuck up and blocking the rear window, and the middle seat folded forward at a 45 degree angle. My other issue (this is subjective) but the center dash is NOT Mickey Mouse, it is a monkey. Also, perhaps I missed it, but he never mentioned the sunroof during his "dis'" of the headliner, he never noticed the easily accessed child-seat anchors, OR the disco-lights.
 
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:34 PM
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^^I know it's such a cheap thrill - but I really do love my disco lights!
 
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Old 08-14-2012, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by beauxgoris View Post
^^I know it's such a cheap thrill - but I really do love my disco lights!
Me too! I was rocking the disco mode last night on my way home from a friend's place!!
 
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:11 PM
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Ok, I am doing something wrong. How do you get the disco mode to stay on while you drive? Mine seems to turn off.
 
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