Sunday, February 20, 2011

MINI Countryman - Bigger, but not Big

The MINI phenomenon continues.

As most folks know, the British go-kartlike pocket rocket arrived in 2002 as a new generation of the tiny car beloved in Europe since 1959.

I've been very fond of them and driven several. I especially love the Clubman--an extended MINI Cooper with twin rear doors and a little extra room, handy for bass carrying.

ANYWAY--the new MINI Cooper Countryman has arrived in dealerships now. It looks like a MINI, but is taller, has four full-sized doors and a standard hatchback, and is available in four-wheel-drive configuration. I peeked at one at the San Francisco Auto Show in November, but I decided to go drive one on a quiet holiday weekend afternoon.

My friendly salesman, George Martinez, let me take a white one with black alloy wheels out for a spin. Well, bottom line, it feels like a MINI, but higher and a little softer. The interior looks almost exactly like the one in the regular Cooper and Clubman--fortunately--with its big central speedometer and puffy looking (but hard) surfaces.

The same 1.6-liter engines as found in the Cooper/Clubman are there, with 121 horsepower naturally aspirated or 181 horsepower in S models with turbocharging. What's the difference, besides price? With the turbo the 0-60 is 7.0 seconds versus 9.8 for the regular one. Is that important? I dunno, but I tested an S and it moved pretty quickly.

As a MINI, it has many possible configurations, from 11 colors to contrasting roof and mirrors to different wheels, interior surfaces and colors, chrome accents, and on and on.

Prices start at about $23,000 including shipping, but can easily top $30K in a hurry when you get happy with the order book.

I'm liking True Blue with a white roof. Manual six speed. Not much else.

George told me that 85 percent of the cars sell with automatics. How disappointing--this is a car that deserves a manual transmission. See Car and Driver's Save the Manuals Facebook page for more on this subject.

See MINI's website for much more detail and amusement.


Anonymous said...

An important side note: the reader should know that children may not exhibit symptoms after contracting Hepatitis.
Does the service or product provide real value to its customers
regardless if they're involved with the company as a distributor. You're bound to get so many responses that you
simply won't have the time to weed through the list and find the perfect companion.

Also visit my website: travel agents in singapore

Anonymous said...

Final Vеrԁict busіnеss searсh
engіne optimization Вooκ is an essential actіvitу to conduct ӏnternet mаrkеting ѕtrаtegies.

Mу website; search engine ranking optimization

Anonymous said...

Soon you will be ridding your body of harmful toxins in your body, you can grow nutritious, organic vegetables year-round through the latest hydroponics gardening.
However, neither the professional strength homeopathic HCG and our customers report the same great weight loss and how can i get my ex boyfriend back fastification.
Oz recommends drinking dandelion tea before you go to bed and get rid of.
Yes during the first week to help keep your weight in check.

my blog post site