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Mini Cooper Countryman (photos)

Mini showed various concepts for a small crossover at recent car shows, and now has announced the real deal. The Countryman takes the retro Mini design and adds inches both in size and in clearance.

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Wayne Cunningham

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Mini added size and ground clearance to its basic design, coming out with the Countryman. The power train options follow that of the Mini Cooper, with the U.S. getting a 1.6-liter four cylinder and a turbocharged version of that engine for the Mini Cooper S Countryman.
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The Countryman is, surprisingly, the first four-door Mini since BMW took over the brand. The standard Mini Cooper only has two doors, and the Clubman has three doors, all not counting the rear hatch. Mini seems to be working its way up in door count.
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Optionally, the Countryman can be had with Mini's new All4 all-wheel-drive system. The platform is built for front-wheel drive, but with All4 present, up to 100 percent of torque can transfer to the rear wheels.
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Unlike the Clubman, with its ambulance doors, the Countryman uses a conventional hatchback. Rear seats fold down to allow ample cargo space.
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Interior appointments are similar to that found in existing Mini models. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, but a six-speed automatic can be optioned.
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Mini builds a center rail into the car, running from front to back. Accessories, such as cup holders and sunglass cases, easily snap onto the rail. In standard configuration, the Countryman has two rear seats, but those can be swapped for a rear bench.

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