- Competes with: VW Tiguan, Honda CR-V, Land Rover LR2
- Looks like: A Mini SUV, which it is
- Drivetrain: 120-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder or 184-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder; front- or all-wheel drive
- Hits dealerships: Early 2011
In 2008 Mini introduced its Clubman, a slightly elongated version of its popular Cooper hatchback. That “wagon,” however, wasn’t enough for buyers looking for a larger vehicle or the option of all-wheel drive. Those prayers have been answered with the all-new Mini Cooper Countryman, an actual crossover with Mini’s quirky British style. However, fans will have to wait at least a year before they can buy one.
The fact that the Countryman has optional all-wheel drive and four traditional doors should be enough to please the masses, but there is a lot more to like. Mini is adding variable valve timing to the Cooper S model’s turbo engine for better fuel economy. It also packs 12 more horsepower than the Cooper S hatchback or Clubman. The base engine gets a minor bump in power, too, from 118 to 120. No mileage estimates were given, but expect them to be similar to the current 28/37 mpg city/highway for the base model and 26/34 mpg for the Cooper S version. Seventeen-inch wheels come standard on the Cooper, and 18-inch wheels are standard on the Cooper S. A John Cooper Works edition will come to market sometime in 2011.
What about the cargo area? Is it big? Not really.