2012 Mini Countryman
Might not be a hard-core off-roader, but it sure looks like fun
By Allyson Harwood
Fresh off its world debut at the 2010 Geneva motor show, the 2012 Mini Countryman will make its first North American appearance at the 2010 New York Auto Show.
With all of the hints and rumors surrounding the Countryman over the
past couple of years (!!!), it was almost a relief to finally see the
production version of the crossover. Mini's press conferences are fun
and energetic, and in New York, served as a great pick-me-up on the
second day. Great music (says this biased early U2 fan), entertaining
shots on the video screen, including people stacking pineapples in the
cargo area of a Countryman, an older couple dancing, and a closeup on a
cow's mouth as it was chewing. It all made sense at the time, as all of
the shots were chosen to convey a sense of excitement, fun, humor, and
adventure, and interspersed with these images were slow-motion action
shots of the Countryman in the dirt.
The Countryman is going on sale in the USA in February 2011, and
provides seating for four or five. One of the really cool features in
the cabin is the center rail, which has mood lighting, plus provides
places to charge an iPod or other mobile devices, and uses the new Mini
Connected system to integrate smartphone functions into the vehicle.
Countryman buyers can choose from the standard 1.6-liter, 120-horsepower
four or can opt for the Countryman S, with a twin-scroll turbocharger
that brings power up to 180. Either way, this is Mini's interpretation
of the crossover, so it should be a lot of fun to drive. As a crossover,
it is probably the most functional Mini in the lineup. It offers cargo
volume-41 cubic feet with the rear seats down-and all-wheel drive. Mini
ALL4 uses an electrohydraulic differential to distribute power front to
rear, with up to 50 percent of power going to the rear wheels. Mini also
says that 100 percent of the power can be shifted to any wheel under
severe conditions. No EPA numbers were available today, but Mini
anticipates that when they're complete, the Countryman will be the most
fuel-efficient crossover in the U.S. Even if you have never seen a photo
of the Countryman, if you imagine what a Mini crossover would be, you'd
be pretty close. This model seems to stay true to the Mini brand.
First Look: 2012 Mini Countryman
Going Big: Mini's Four-Door, All-Wheel-Drive Cooper
2012 Mini Countryman Photo Gallery
Click here to see photos for the 2012 Mini Countryman Crossover.