The Mini Cooper brand has been a big hit with the American car consumer since it hit the market in 2002. I think we love the retro feel of this automobile. This year, they introduced an all-new model, the Countryman. It’s Mini Cooper’s SUV. I recently test-drove one and was surprised to find out that it handled well and could comfortably accommodate four adults.
The 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman comes in two trims. The Countryman and the Countryman S. However, the Countryman comes with an adequate number of options. The S comes with a sports package that includes a turbocharged engine, sport seats and traction control. I test drove the S version with a manual transmission.
For my readers and viewers that don’t understand the difference that a turbocharger makes, check this out. The Countryman comes with a 1.6L inline 4-cylinder engine. It produces 121 horsepower. The Countryman S comes with the same 1.6L inline 4-cylinder engine. However, it is turbocharged and produces 181 horsepower. You get 60 more horsepower just by adding a turbocharger to this engine.
The interior is totally retro, something like an Austin Power’s movie. The old school, clock-dial speedometer is prominently situated in the center of the dashboard. While the tachometer sets behind the steering wheel and gives you a real ’60s feel with the numeric font treatment. My interior was an upgrade from the standard upholstery. It was very masculine with the brushed aluminum and black leather combination. Even though this was my first time test-driving a Mini Cooper, I was impressed with the interior.
The exterior of the Countryman S is totally Mini. It looks like a European, off-road-racing vehicle. The color scheme of the Countryman S was true blue metallic with carbon black racing stripes. It had fog lights, which really lit up the street for night driving under rainy and foggy conditions. The Countryman S also came with 18” alloy wheels which further enhanced the overall drivability when coupled with the sports suspension and the AWD, or as Mini calls it, “ALL4.”
The Countryman has a base version that starts at $21,000, and the S version starts at $25,000. The S version with ALL4 starts at $27,000. Mini Cooper has an avid fan base. I noticed other mini drivers staring to find out what new model of Mini Cooper this was. See you next week.