Flash Drive — 2012 Mini Countryman a capable, fun ride

By Bruce Caldwell

Model Tested: 2012 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4
Engine:1-6-liter turbocharged dohc I-4, 181 hp, 177 lb/ft

Transmission:6-speed manual, all-wheel drive

EPA Ratings: 25-mpg city
31-mpg highway
Base Price: $27,050
As Tested: $35,500
A sports car that can go off-roading
Strong, responsive engine
Excellent 6-speed transmission, smooth clutch
Welcome hill hold clutch function
Stretch out front seat room
Extra thick, contoured steering wheel
Largest ever Mini Cooper rear seat
Decent highway ride
It’s the largest Mini ever, so it carries more than other Minis
Four doors and a hatch optimize accessibility
Folding rear seats and flat cargo floor
Wide hatch opening
Decent cargo capacity
WOW Factors:
High fun-to-drive factor
Uniqueness of a Mini Cooper S
Tons of high-tech features; it’s like an iPad on wheels
Very light interior thanks to panoramic sunroof
Gets lots of positive attention
Fun, fun, fun
Extensive option list can run up price
Oversize central speedo is more funky than functional
Too small interior storage bins
Electronic features not very intuitive
Small center armrest interferes with odd E-brake
Too small sun visors
Bottom Line:
The Mini Cooper S Countryman ALL4 is unique and quirky. Its many odd features can be annoying, but its incredible fun factor quickly overrides them. The Mini Countryman ALL4 functionality is fine, but having on and off road fun is the key reason to buy one.