Our cars: Mini Countryman - June
Week ending June 22
Driven this week: 200 miles
Mini Countryman review
Remote central locking is easily taken for granted: point the key, press a button, and a flash of the indicators confirms your car and belongings are safe.
However, our Countryman hasn’t been delivering this comforting flash recently.
Further investigation revealed an option in the car’s ‘settings’ and ‘door locks’ menu, which lists an option to change the ‘visual signal lock/unlock’. I’m not entirely sure why anybody would need to de-activate the flashing indicators, but it’s good that the Mini has so many different options.
After my little bit of detective work, I can now report that the Mini’s lights and automatic headlamps spring into life at the push of a button.
Mini Countryman 1.6T Cooper S ALL4
Week ending June 15
Driven this week: 250 miles
Mini Countryman review
The Mini helped me achieve a personal best this week. Well, it helped me get to St Albans at least, where I was taking part in the annual half marathon.
Unlike some people I’ve spoken to, I can see the point of the Countryman. The Mini brand is extremely desirable and the cars are solidly built, so it makes business sense to add some room inside and watch the badge sell the product. The seats are comfy, the boot space is decent and it is practical, thanks to its sliding rear seats.
What doesn’t make sense, though, is the Cooper S model. The larger car feels a lot slower than the hatchback, and with a turbocharger and all-wheel-drive added to the mix, our Countryman’s fuel consumption is scary.
This isn’t a car you buy for its dynamism in corners, so a diesel Countryman would be at the top of my list.
Week ending June 8
Driven this week 250 miles
I struggle to understand what possesses any manufacturer to take a one-size-fits-all approach to chassis tuning.
One of the worst culprits is Mini. For some reason it has mistakenly assumed that the same suspension characteristics that make its hot-hatch models so much fun will work just as well in its heavier, larger Countryman; a car that is effectively a Volkswagen Golf rival.
That philosophy is all well and good if you want the steering wheel to dance around in your hands over every expansion joint, and if you're sadistic enough to subject your kids to a right good pummelling.
Personally speaking, I'd gladly swap a big dose of the Countryman's alleged sporty flavour in exchange for some additional comfort.
If the shortage of subtly in the springs isn't bad enough, then the amount of vibration and the noise that emanates from the rear axle will make you think you're hauling around an empty trailer on every journey.