The Good Despite its size, the 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman maintains nimble handling, partly due to the All4 all-wheel-drive system. The efficient and powerful engine uses direct injection and a turbo. The Mini Connected option integrates smartphone apps with the car.
The Bad The cabin suffers from some very poor ergonomic design, and a supposedly innovative center rail limits it to four passengers. The Countryman lacks Bluetooth audio streaming.
The Bottom Line The 2012 Mini Cooper S Countryman maintains the fun character established by Mini's other models, and all-wheel drive will give confidence on slippery roads. Cabin tech, however, is middling, with app integration limited to the iPhone.
2011 Mini Cooper Countryman S
Apparently, when a Mini resides in the country, it gets fat. The new 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman looks positively portly, a puffed-up version of the little car that so many people know and love. But in its Countryman guise, the Mini Cooper S gains all-wheel drive, a higher seating position for the driver, and a little extra ground clearance.
Although larger and weighing approximately 500 pounds more than the standard Cooper S, the Countryman uses the same engine as its smaller sibling, leading to a reduction in performance. Similarly, its fuel economy is not quite as good. And in a major design flaw, what is intended to be an innovative rail system down the center of the cabin, convenient for attaching cup holders and other accessories, divides the rear seats, making the car strictly a four-seater.