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2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 (photos)

The idea of an SUV by Mini may seem strange, but the Cooper S Countryman isn't exactly large. Puffed up just a little more than the standard Mini Cooper, it offers four-door convenience and a decent-size cargo area.

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Wayne Cunningham
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The Countryman is Mini's second major model variation, after the Clubman. It is designed as a compact SUV, a new segment that is expected to grow.

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The Countryman looks much like a standard Mini Cooper, with similar headlight, grille, and roofline styling. Mini also offers the same kinds of graphics packages for the Countryman as it does on its other cars.

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The engine choices are the same for the Countryman as for other Minis. This Cooper S Countryman model is fitted with a direct-injection turbocharged 1.6-liter, producing a respectable 181 horsepower.

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One big advantage of the Countryman over the standard Mini Cooper is the fact that it has four doors, making access to the rear seats easy.

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The Countryman can be had in front-wheel drive or with Mini's new All4 all-wheel-drive system. This system splits torque 50/50, but can put it 100 percent to the front or rear, as needed.

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The cargo area is very spacious in the Countryman, another big advantage over the standard Mini Cooper.

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Mini hides extra cargo space under the load floor.

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A dual-panel sunroof is a nice touch in the Countryman.

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This rail system through the center of the car is convenient for cup and sunglass holders, but it ultimately proves a hindrance, separating the rear seats so that only four passengers can fit in the car.

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Mini uses its standard retro layout in the Countryman, with the big speedometer in the center. For cars equipped with navigation, an LCD is set into the center of the speedometer.

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The car can be had with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

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Mini uses an electric-power-steering unit, which helps save gas. This one also changes character based on the car's sport setting.

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Buttons on the steering-wheel spoke access the voice command system and other infotainment functions.

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Mini includes a full-featured Bluetooth phone system in the car, complete with contact list download.

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Audio sources are limited in the Countryman. Bluetooth audio streaming would be a nice addition.

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With a connected iPod, Mini made reasonable use of the two-line radio display, showing list items two at a time.

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Mini also uses the radio display for the trip computer.

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The optional Harman/Kardon audio system fits the Countryman with 10 speakers and a powerful amp.

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