Our cars: Mini Countryman - February 2012

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  • Mini Countryman long-term test
  • Year-long review
  • Tested by Alex Newby
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman
Mini Countryman 1.6T Cooper S ALL4

Week ending February 24
Mileage 4000
Driven this week 90 miles


Mini Countryman review

A vital feature of a great family car is reliability, so I've been both impressed and relieved by the Countryman so far. In the seven months I've been running the car it hasn't missed a beat - neither the mechanics, the electronics nor the interior have suffered even a tiny fault.

This means my ownership experience has been pretty good, but most importantly it means I haven't had to spend any time in the garage, which is particularly important when you've got tiny children to transport.

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

Week ending February 17
Mileage 3911
Driven this week 68 miles

Mini Countryman review

I've got used to the quirks of the Countryman's sat nav controls - in particular, the rotary dial and alphabet - but I wish the view would zoom closer than 125 yards, which isn't really enough in busy London traffic.

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

Week ending February 10
mileage 3843
Driven this week: 444 miles


Last week's snow made driving along my London street a concern for some residents, because the council don't bother gritting boring old residential streets such as ours.

However, with both four-wheel drive and winter tyres on the Countryman, I didn't have to worry too much, especially because the main road just two streets away was completely free from snow and driving conditions were perfectly normal.

I don't think that will be the last of the snow, though, so having the Mini ready for it can only be a good thing.

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com
Mini Countryman review

Week ending February 3
mileage 3399
Driven this week: 69 miles


I like the fact that the Countryman seems to be aimed at two different types of buyer: one who needs the practicality of a five-door car and a half-decent boot, and one who wants a beefed-up Mini with a go-anywhere attitude.

Of course, there will be buyers who cross in the middle, but of the Countryman cars I’ve seen around West London, it strikes me that most fall into the latter camp as I rarely see kids in the back.

I wonder if that implies that people still end up buying the Mini for its image more than for anything else, and it just doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to the vital combination of practicality and affordability that most families want. What do other owners think?

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

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