The biggest Mini of them all makes room for just four passengers, but there’s plenty of elbowroom and gear space for everyone.
For now, the Countryman sticks with its 1.6-liter turbocharged and non-turbo powerplants with up to 207 horsepower, if the JCW edition is your choice.
The Countryman was the first four-door model in the Mini lineup and also the first to offer all-wheel-drive (called ALL4). The wagon is about six inches taller than its siblings (except the nearly identically-sized Paceman) and is also four inches wider for added shoulder and elbowroom. The generously proportioned rear doors provide easy access for two adults perched atop flat-folding bucket seats (a three-place rear bench is also offered). Opening the big rear hatch gains access to a decent-sized storage compartment. With the back seats folded, there’s about 25 percent more capacity than you’ll find inside a Mini Clubman. Each rear seat can be adjusted forward or aft up to five inches, depending on whether you need to max out passenger room or cargo space. The control panel continues Mini’s large circular-display-pod theme and contains the speedometer, fuel gauge, audio controls and the optional navigation system. The two available powerplants consist of a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder for the base model, and a 181-horsepower turbocharged 1.6 in the Countryman S. Stepping up to the JCW (John Cooper Works) gets you a 207-horsepower version of the turbo along with all-wheel-drive. Each and every engine is connected to a six-speed manual transmission (mandatory on the JCW), or an optional six-speed automatic. During normal conditions, the rear wheels are simply along for the ride, but under hard acceleration or when encountering slippery surfaces, up to 100 percent — as in all — of the engine’s torque can be diverted to the rear wheels. Every Countryman comes with standard Bluetooth wireless communications and audio/phone connectivity.
Base price (incl. destination): $23,000
Type: Four-door wagon
Base engine (hp): 1.6-liter DOHC I4 (121)
Optional engine (hp): 1.6-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (181/207)
Layout: Front-engine, front- /all-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Six-speed manual; six-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 27/35 (base 2WD)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 2,950