PDA

View Full Version : MINI Countryman - First Drive Impressions



Sideways
05-21-2010, 03:49 PM
So, for those of you who have not been keeping up to date with Motoringfile.com, Gabe (lead guy over there) had the chance to go over to Austria and drive the new wee beastie.

His impressions can be found over at Motoringfile
http://www.motoringfile.com/2010/05/20/motoringfile-1st-drive-mini-countryman-cooper-s/

There is also an article on INSIDE LINE:
http://www.insideline.com/mini/countryman/2011/2011-mini-cooper-s-countryman-all4-first-drive.html

One comment really stood out to me on that site, so I post it here for those who dont want to read the full article...but I do encourage you to do so on both sites...

I feel this poster hit the nail right on the head with their comment:
I just want to take the time and point out Mini\'s product portfolio. Many will say that a Mini SUV is oxymoronic but it\'s important to point out that a mini (less the capital M) SUV can stay true to the merits of the brand. I believed a long time ago that long term success for the Mini brand hinged upon appropriate product line expansion. That means that Mini can\'t take the Small/Midsize/Full sedan approach and just keep making bigger cars with the traditional styling.

For that matter, the size bloating that we see in all brands is practically forbidden by the very nature of their name. They have successfully identified their niche as the entry Bimmer at an entry Bimmer price (of course entry-level price from BMW\'s standpoint is not quite synonymous with the rest of the industry) and they know the market. BMW has fallen victim to the size bloating issue as the 3 has grown enough to warrant a 1 and the industry has deemed this as acceptable practice since everyone wants to \'boast best-in-class whatever\' with each new iteration, but Mini doesn\'t get that luxury.

So here comes the problem: Mini has to remain just that... mini. The cars don\'t have to shrink each generation, but they certainly can\'t grow as if they too are addicted to McDonalds. Instead, they have to be true to their tea-drinking (read \'German-speaking\') selves. People don\'t buy Minis because they\'re terribly practical or because they are high MPG econoboxes. If that\'s what people are looking for, they\'re not shelling out that kind of money for a Mini that we all know is too much but are probably all willing to pay because we lack the self control to say \'no\' (back to that McDonalds obesity issue). People buy Minis for the same reason they buy BMWs. Because they like the way they feel when they drive them. It\'s the \'Goldilocks Effect\' where everything feels \"Just Right.\"

It turns out, the Countryman is like an adopted child. At first you can tell that it doesn\'t quite belong with the same surname as the rest of the family, but in due time it picks up the same quirks, mannerisms, and inside jokes and the Minis officially become a family of four.

So what\'s the moral of this unnecessarily long commentary on Mini and America\'s fast food addiction? That a Mini doesn\'t need to be mini, it needs to emanate Mini. People buy the brand and the driving experience, not the size. So long as an SUV feels like it\'s part of the Mini heritage then it\'s just like any other Mini to me.

I am eagerly awaiting this MINI...

minimich
05-23-2010, 10:30 AM
here\'s another article from Friday\'s Post. According to this article, the Countryman is \"ALL MINI\"!!

http://www.nationalpost.com/todays-paper/story.html?id=3054483

Sideways
05-23-2010, 03:57 PM
good article by Mr Fletcher!

kania
05-24-2010, 08:50 PM
i think i like this one better then the clubman.... and the fact that is 4 wheel drive hummmmm makes it that much more better..... if u ask me they should start makeing minis with 300hp with all wheel drive... that would be something to talk about

BANZAI
05-25-2010, 03:49 PM
I\'ll believe that it\'s all that it\'s hyped up to be when Mini enters it into the WRC. Until then ..... it\'s all hyp.

I\'m not convinced that Mini has done the R&D to make this any more than a X4 wannabe ..... sorry, but that\'s my .02c and I hope I eat my words one day.

Tominizer
05-25-2010, 10:11 PM
Mini HAS fallen into the FAT-boy syndrome. This ain\'t no Mini............. it\'s a Maxi !!

Sideways
05-25-2010, 10:37 PM
Tominizer wrote:

Mini HAS fallen into the FAT-boy syndrome. This ain\'t no Mini............. it\'s a Maxi !!

Yawn...

GR8MINI
05-26-2010, 12:59 AM
I tend to agree being from the \"old\" school I think a Mini should only have 2 doors, I think with four doors makes it look common.
It\'s not a Mini to me. I will not be buying one.
Sorry just my 2cents worth.
\"old\"Mike

hobchub
05-26-2010, 01:09 AM
GR8MINI wrote:

I tend to agree being from the \"old\" school I think a Mini should only have 2 doors, I think with four doors makes it look common.
It\'s not a Mini to me. I will not be buying one.
Sorry just my 2cents worth.
\"old\"Mike

Didnít you say the same thing about the new mini when it came out. :huh:

minimich
05-26-2010, 01:14 AM
Tominizer wrote:

Mini HAS fallen into the FAT-boy syndrome. This ain\'t no Mini............. it\'s a Maxi !!

According to the article I read, the Countryman is about the size of VW Golf. I\'d say this is still pretty small... Still a MINI to me. I will decide whether I like it or not after I test drive one when it comes out in Canada. I guess it comes down to personal taste and preference. Also, there are people out there who don\'t want to give up MINI\'s in their lives but driving a 2-door car becomes less functional with life changes.

GR8MINI
05-26-2010, 03:04 AM
Hi Ron
Your right, however it grew on me unlike a 4 door Mini will. - sorry.
Maybe my next car will be a 2 DOOR Fiesta??? OOps
Mike

BANZAI
05-26-2010, 10:56 AM
minimich wrote:

Tominizer wrote:

Mini HAS fallen into the FAT-boy syndrome. This ain\'t no Mini............. it\'s a Maxi !!

Also, there are people out there who don\'t want to give up MINI\'s in their lives but driving a 2-door car becomes less functional with life changes.

What has functional got to do with Mini ownership?:ohmy:
I didn\'t want to give up being breast fed ... but hey, Sh*^ happens

Sideways
05-26-2010, 12:55 PM
So I guess this means that anyone who is thinking of getting a countryman better not show up to any club events as they will not be welcome in our club...

Is that what I am hearing?

BANZAI
05-26-2010, 05:09 PM
Sideways wrote:

So I guess this means that anyone who is thinking of getting a countryman better not show up to any club events as they will not be welcome in our club...

Is that what I am hearing?

Not from me:dry: .... just an opinion about a 4WD, 4 door car .... I\'ve ALWAYS welcomed everyone to the club.

I think your perception is a bit off Adam ..... less coffee:blink: .

Sideways
05-26-2010, 06:19 PM
BANZAI wrote:

I didn\'t want to give up being breast fed ... but hey, Sh*^ happens

:huh:

minimich
05-27-2010, 12:19 AM
What has functional got to do with Mini ownership?:ohmy:

Let\'s see.. does your Mini have a function? Does your Mini let you go from point A to point B? Does it make you feel good while you\'re doing that? Then bonus! Can you adjust your seats as you need to, navigate through audio system, temperature, etc. easily? What about parking? If you lived in downtown Toronto, owing a Mini would be a functional thing in terms of parking for sure, no? I guess if finding street parking isn\'t even an issue then you wouldn\'t view your Mini as a functional thing in this way. However, I\'m sure there are many things you find functional about your Mini. What is functional to one person is inevitably different from someone else\'s.. but there is functionality to everything we own, enjoy, like and invest in. If something becomes not so useful or functional, we naturally look for something that works better. Sometimes, people hold onto things that are not so functional for memories sake or for emotional attachment.


I didn\'t want to give up being breast fed ... but hey, Sh*^ happens

Awww.. really? I\'m not sure how I should interpret this statement. A Freudian slip, maybe?

BANZAI
06-30-2010, 01:10 PM
Marie\'s solution to the 4WD dilemma.

http://www.somc.on.ca/images/comprofiler/plug_profilegallery/1324/tnpg_119135996.jpg

And it\'s a two door

BANZAI
06-30-2010, 01:14 PM
minimich wrote:


What has functional got to do with Mini ownership?:ohmy:



I didn\'t want to give up being breast fed ... but hey, Sh*^ happens

Awww.. really? I\'m not sure how I should interpret this statement. A Freudian slip, maybe?

Just stating that we all have to move on as our lives change .... some of these changes we would prefer not to happen :)

MadDog927ca
06-30-2010, 02:05 PM
I saw a TV segment some years ago (2007 or 2008) about Getrag testing an AWD transmission in an MCS in Sweden. The hill-climbing and control on ice and rain was amazing. The improvement on track times this car had over a standard MCS impressed me so that I went and visited my local Mini dealership for the first time.
Click to view the video (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1459309701279751306), then fast-forward to about the 31-minute mark.

I waited a couple of years before buying a Mini because I was so sure that the AWD was coming. My Honda was on its last legs in the Fall of 2009, so I got tired of waiting and bought my Clubman S. I think that the Countryman is Mini\'s first attempt at marketing an AWD vehicle, and some marketing BMW doofenshmirtz (just made that up) decided this should be done on a bigger vehicle. Why? Because had they done it on a JCW Cooper or Clubman, the pricier BMW\'s sales would have plummetted by comparison.

Like the Countryman or don\'t, but respect the technology and innovation the Countryman brings to the Mini brand. Once the technology been around awhile and the kinks have been worked out, then maybe AWD becomes an option for the rest of the Mini lineup.

Sideways
06-30-2010, 03:16 PM
I have always liked what JEEP represents...if I could get that from the company I love and will always stand behind...beachcomber...then that is a really exciting prospect!
Call it the MOKE...call it the Countryman-on-high! This is good for MINI whether enthusiasts like it or not...:)

BANZAI
07-01-2010, 06:12 PM
It\'s the technology that is great when it is working right, but so wrong when it\'s not. I love being able to work on my own vehicle and too many cars/vans/trucks are going way of the microprocessor. So much so that Zero might be up for sale soon to be replaced with a pre 80\'s, non computer runaround.

Yep, I\'m disolusioned with Mini at present.

hobchub
07-02-2010, 11:44 AM
BANZAI wrote:

It\'s the technology that is great when it is working right, but so wrong when it\'s not. I love being able to work on my own vehicle and too many cars/vans/trucks are going way of the microprocessor. So much so that Zero might be up for sale soon to be replaced with a pre 80\'s, non computer runaround.

Yep, I\'m disolusioned with Mini at present.


Ruh-roh...

Sideways
07-02-2010, 12:41 PM
ALL vehicles are now rolling computers...even the ultra cheap Tata Nano...
Sorry to hear that Zero is still feeling ill...he needs a sticker reading \"I was Driven by Xiek and will never be the same\" :P :silly:

Saffar
07-03-2010, 05:13 PM
Sideways wrote:

\"I was Driven by Xiek and will never be the same\" :P :silly:

HAHAHAHA that was great...

TheItalianJob
07-04-2010, 06:09 PM
Tominizer wrote:

Mini HAS fallen into the FAT-boy syndrome. This ain\'t no Mini............. it\'s a Maxi !!

yes! They are just trying to sell more cars and are deviating from what MINI represents. The Clubman and now a 4X4... The cars are getting bigger and heavier. Not what the car enthusiast is looking for but what the masses are after according to BMW.

I will never buy one.

Tata Steva
07-04-2010, 09:19 PM
TheItalianJob wrote:

Tominizer wrote:

Mini HAS fallen into the FAT-boy syndrome. This ain\'t no Mini............. it\'s a Maxi !!

The Clubman and now a 4X4...




\"Station wagon\" Mini was always there... So, Clubman is old thing \"reworked\"... But, 4x4 is just chasing \"soccer mums\" mentality and their pockets... I agree. It\'s not Mini any more...

I will stick with current MINIs (including current Clubman, not the rumored 4 door version!!!)...

BANZAI
07-04-2010, 09:53 PM
TheItalianJob wrote:

Tominizer wrote:

Mini HAS fallen into the FAT-boy syndrome. This ain\'t no Mini............. it\'s a Maxi !!

yes! They are just trying to sell more cars and are deviating from what MINI represents. The Clubman and now a 4X4... The cars are getting bigger and heavier. Not what the car enthusiast is looking for but what the masses are after according to BMW.

I will never buy one.

+1