I do have to comment about the firm suspension. Endowed with performance run-flat tires on 18-inch rims, the ride is firm and not very forgiving. Hit a pothole and the whole car will bounce and resonate.
As with all MINIs, the center stack is dominated by a dinner-plate sized speedometer with a small LED display for radio and car settings. I could do without the large speedo (as the current speed can be displayed under the tachometer) and substitute larger, more legible buttons/switches and LED display. It’s definitely hard to reach down to make any adjustment without looking.
On the way back down from the mountains, we stopped at a feed store to pick up chicken feed and pine shavings. With a 50-pound bag of feed in the rear and two large blocks of pine shavings on the lowered rear seats, there wasn’t much space left to house anything else. Although MINI bills the Countryman as a crossover, there are quite a few hatchbacks with as much or more cargo capacity.
Running longitudinally down the center of the car is an aluminum channel to which cup holders, eyeglass and cell phone holders attach. Cool idea, but as executed it eliminates space in the rear and the cell phone holder in front is under the center console, making it difficult to easily access. One blatant omission is Bluetooth as a standard feature, which is especially glaring now that cars at half this price have Bluetooth. Shame on MINI!
Like other MINIs, the Countryman brings on the fun without burning a lot of gas. During the weekend, I drove just over 350 miles and averaged 27 mpg, which is excellent for a 4WD vehicle. Overall, the Countryman is fun to drive and I would consider buying one, if it weren’t for the high price and limited storage.
|The official MINI of North America website – www.miniusa.com|
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