Help Choose MotoringFile’s Countryman (Part 2)


In part two of series we’re getting into the details. Now that we have your initial feedback on our Countryman order we’re ready to choose a spec. With your help we’ve created four Countryman(s?) for MF readers to vote on. The one with the highest votes will help us make our final specification – it’s that simple.

To give a little background for those who may have missed it, what we’re doing here is choosing the model and specification on our long-term test car. We’ll be getting the car later this spring and will be testing it in every kind of environment and situation we can think of. In short you won’t find a better long term test of MINI’s new four door family car anywhere else.

Now some background on our choices. We tried to take the input we gathered from our previous post and create four cars that reflected those ideas. We threw in a Cooper and even an automatic Cooper S All4. Three of four on the pricey side due to the fact that we want to test living with as many options as possible. There is joy in not having them but in this case we’d rather have the experience so we can pass that along to you the reader. Colors? Sure we went a little classic and/or conservative but then again if there’s one thing MINI fans can’t agree on, it’s colors.

So with that said, let’s get started…

Option 1: Countryman Cooper S All4 (Light White & loaded) (PDF) $37,400

Option 2: Countryman Cooper S (Surf Blue & loaded) (PDF) $35,450

Option 3: Countryman Cooper (Pure Red & lightly optioned) (PDF) $28,600

Option 4: Countryman Cooper S All4 Auto (Royal Grey) (PDF) $38,750

For the entire list of price and options click on the ‘PDF’ link on each above.

A couple of notes. Yes there is navigation and MINI connected on all four. With MINI Connected being such an important new option we felt it a necessity for any Countryman test car. You can also clearly see we like stripes. While I’ve never personally owned a MINI with stripes (Todd is cringing somewhere), what can we say, we love the look of the Countryman with the new design.

Finally there are no accessories installed on any of these. For starters doesn’t show accessories yet on the confirgurator. Secondly we want to take our time in deciding what to add once we’ve chosen a basic factory specification.

Now that that is out of the way, it’s time to vote…

[poll id=”24″]
  • Se7en_speed

    wow you put an auto as an option?

    Brave, very brave, if we were spiteful we could stick you with that for a year

  • Jack Grouell

    My voter is for Option 1. All4 is the heartbeat of the Countryman – and you will find that the automatic is very compatible with the around town runabout and long distance touring capabilities of the Countryman – and a lot of fun on the twisty bits.

  • Aurel

    I voted for #2. That color combo interior/exterior looks ace and unique.

    3 is a Cooper and I am pretty sure you are not getting that 😉

    4 looks way too depressing for a MINI (color wise) and I also doubt you will get an Auto.

  • Gabe

    wow you put an auto as an option?

    Believe me it’s not what I would choose. But we’re trying to be as democratic as possible. In fact two favorites up there and one I’d love to test over the others.

  • Jack Grouell

    Sorry – my vote went for option 4

  • Steve
    While I’ve never personally owned a MINI with stripes (Todd is cringing somewhere), what can we say, we love the look of the Countryman with the new design.

    I think you should drop the factory stripes and have Todd do you up a special WRR graphic package. It would look great on the white one 😉

  • BOB

    Not a single one with 5-star spoke in anthracite?

  • Kevin

    I vote to let Gabe pick your favorite. You’ll be living with it for a year. I’ve liked your past minis. Any All4 manual option would by my pick.

  • that.guy

    The prices of the All4 cars just astound me. You can buy a new 328ix wagon for $38k. And an A4 Avant Quattro for less. I’m sure this is a fun little car but, seriously now…

    And of course I must mention… Golf R. Arriving before the end of 2011. AWD. 0-60 in 5.5secs. 27mpg. Flat handling. Posh interior. And I am guessing well south of $35k loaded.

  • that.guy

    Oh, and what about the X1? That is slated to arrive later this year right in the same range, topping out at $40k fully loaded. Not sure what BMW’s strategy is across these two cars but at these prices they must be counting on a significant segment of “compact crossover” putting a huge premium on the Countryman’s smallness and cuteness over… pretty much every other dimension on which a rational consumer would value a vehicle.

  • Jason

    Im glad mine made it. :) I totally want to see what the interior looks like in person and maybe you guys can help me narrow down which options are worth it and which are not to keep those crazy prices down!

  • SFRedMCc

    Option 3 has the best color, wheels & interior combo; but I can’t imagine getting a Countryman without All4.

    Don’t like Option 4’s color combo, etc. at all, but if I was going to get a Countryman it would be an All4-Auto.

  • Eelke Blok

    Has anyone seen the Pure Red in person? I have, and I do not like it. It is much more “orange” than Chili Red. It probably has something to do with the different dimensions of the Countryman, so lighter colors look better or something, but it is definitely not my favourite.

  • Jack

    Where is British Racing Green ? White Roof and Black Rims, thats what i would vote for

  • Gabe

    Not a single one with 5-star spoke in anthracite?

    Option 1.

    Has anyone seen the Pure Red in person?

    Of course. Love it!

    Oh, and what about the X1?

    The natural question and one that I hope to speak to early next year when it hits US shores.

  • Brandon Kelly

    My vote’s for option 1—same exterior I have, and it’s absolutely stunning!

    While I realize colors are subjective, I strongly recommend you at least see the red interior in person, in the sunlight, before ordering. That was my original interior choice until I saw it in person.

  • Gabe

    It’s funny – I would have never considered it until I saw it in person.

  • Amber

    Huge Surf Blue fan here, so that’s what I pick! Plus, has anyone reviewed one without All4 yet?

  • Gabe

    Huge Surf Blue fan here, so that’s what I pick! Plus, has anyone reviewed one without All4 yet?

    Yes we reviewed every model last year culminating in a Countryman comparison. On that short test the fwd MCS came out on top. Look at our list of reviews on the right side of the page.

  • Steve

    Sad I have had 2 Mini Coopers and waited for the All wheel Countryman and have been priced out 37,000 just too much for me I left Mini for Nissan is great but has Mini made an error pricing people like me away from our favorite brand?

  • Jarl Ivar

    I have just received my R60 Cooper S All4 in pure red with white roof and the package – and I have to say it is a gem!!!! A real head turner here in Norway – and can definitely be recommended to all considering that color scheme!! Of other options I can recommend is the anthracite inner roof ceiling, ditto 18 inch rims and the sports seats in carbon leather trim. The piano lack dashboard option is pretty cool too. The probably coolest option is the navigator and the Mini Connect option. The way you can seamlessly connect to different sources is first rate!


  • DrDiff

    Well I think that it should be “Justa” Cooper with automatic…. But since that is not an option …

    3 Gabe’s last MINI was heavily optioned It is time to go the opposite end of the spectrum.

  • Evan

    I have to say number 1 since we need a manual and we have to answer the All4 question. Also glad to see the sport suspension on there. Need to know if it brings enough MINI back to the taller vehicle. I think the FWD Cooper S is also an interesting proposition. I don’t think you need the All4, I’d probably skip it if my wife didn’t insist on AWD with our next car.

    And excellent point on the 328xi. If the 3 person rear seat isn’t out this summer (July production), I may just go and get a manual 328xi Touring lightly optioned before it leaves our shores.

  • Les

    I test drove a R60 Cooper S Auto yesterday and I must say that its not bad. My vote is for Option 3, b/c I want to know if its enough power to move around safely. Plus, I think the Cooper Countryman has cleaner lines on it.

  • Gabe

    3 Gabe’s last MINI was heavily optioned It is time to go the opposite end of the spectrum.

    My last one was but my first two were sort of middle of the road and didn’t have things like Nav or leather.

    But the real reason or having so many options is that our goal is to get to know as many as possible then rate and assess them.

  • Nick Dawson

    I have opted for 1: even though I own a Countryman Cooper Auto in Light White without the black roof and with standard 16″ wheels and tyres (not run flats). The auto box is a big improvement on my previous Clubman auto, and the ride is more supple even though the Clubman was on standard 15″ wheels and tyres.

    I suspect that you have already made up your mind to order the ‘S’ ALL4, and from the point of view of a long term test a fully loaded top the range version is the obvious choice. You will, however, have to put up with a harsh ride with 18″ wheels on run flats, which is made even harsher with sport suspension. Good luck!

  • JB

    Be different, go cheap, the best value is the base model, Option 3. I hate the way BMW and Mini nickel and dime you on their way overpriced options.

  • otter

    Oops, I didn’t notice that option 4 is an automatic(that kills the deal for me). So, that leaves option 1 as I can’t understand the point of a 2WD CUV. It looks like the speedo bezel on option 3 is darker which I think is worlds better; however, I don’t see where the darker bezel is an option on the confugurator.

  • alpinamike

    Most will go with the most options, ALL4 a must.

    It seems that’s what will happen, even if its an auto, or maybe they just want MF to own an auto?

  • MikeJCW

    Love Option #1, but add Adaptive Light Control for $100!

  • Rocketboy

    I’d rather see an All4 S with few options (unless they were specific new options), but besides that, my vote goes for #1.

  • jon

    I don’t see the fixation with a fully topped out Countryman. Insideline and Autoblog are already doing it. So your insight will probably add nothing overall.

  • Gabe

    I don’t see the fixation with a fully topped out Countryman. Insideline and Autoblog are already doing it. So your insight will probably add nothing overall.

    so by that rationale we should shut down the site.

  • jon

    @Gabe- The vast majority of the options you are selecting on the S are already available on previous models and years. So thats nothing new. The only car that looks intersting to me is the Cooper. That to me is the biggest unknown of the bunch. Step out and live a bit; you’re not buying the car. The S is the expected play. And in your attempt to get back at me you misspelled rationale. Sorry you got your butt hurt….

  • Gabe

    The only car that looks intersting to me is the Cooper.

    Sure but it sounds like you’re in the minority based on the data here and that I’ve seen from MINIUSA. We’re trying to find a spec that will interest the majority.

    That to me is the biggest unknown of the bunch.

    We reviewed it twice last year.

    Step out and live a bit; you’re not buying the car.

    I have and almost died trying to merge on the highway.

  • jon

    We reviewed it twice last year.

    I only see the Cooper once and twice for the S. Dis I miss something?

    And in the article MF written about the Cooper you said it would be the bread and butter model. Looks like your data may be screwed the wrong way.

    I’m not here to stir sh*t up. I said my opinion and regrety you were so offended. However, I still disagree with you and I’m gonna leave it at that. Enjoy whatever you decide on.

  • Gabe

    You’re missing the comparison we did of our three models.

  • Aurel

    Yeah, I love my Cooper Clubman but with a semi full load it can be a pain. With just me at the wheel it’s pretty tossable.

    That being said I would never consider a Cooper Countryman. I don’t even know why they are even making it when the Clubman already is i think at the limit of fun you can squeeze out of that engine.

  • Dude

    Gak white, Gak Surf Blue…. I picked 4, though not a fan of that biege stuff on the door panels, as I think it would be good to see how the auto holds up and since there’s been so much hatred of the auto and since you basically will use it in Chicago, I presume, it would be interesting to hear your experiences with it in a city environ.

    Personally have owned a auto since 1968 and may never again.

  • Hoover

    I opted for 1, as that would be pretty close to my ideal set up. While Nathaniel did an outstanding job of putting the All4 to the test in the slushy stuff, I’m curious to learn how it feels over the year, and to see if any mechanical issues develop. As far as color choices go, I’ve heard that this Light White is close (if not identical) to Alpine White, which I really love. If this car goes in for service, they will probably give you an auto as a loaner, so there will be yet another opportunity to contrast the experience with the auto. Loaded with options makes the most sense. Again, it would be nice to see what happens over the course of the year. I’m guessing that MINI Connected might introduce new content or functions over the year.

  • Don Hopings

    The important things to evaluate on this long term test are:

    1. The Countryman itself
    2. MINI Connected
    3. The All4 System

    Everything else about these cars is pretty much out of the Corporate MINI Parts Bin…

    I would have chosen a brighter bolder color, but I guess that’s just me. I saw my first Countryman in the sheet metal a couple of days ago. It was here in Taiwan as I left the US before the official introduction. I was fairly impressed and very curious, but I don’t think I’m be lining up to trade in my JCW Clubman.

    Also, the Hood Stripes bother me. I like them visually, but I wonder about the durability with the leading edge being essentially horizontal.

  • JB

    Gabe, why did you even put the base countryman as an option if you’re already disking on it?

    Would be funny if everybody voted for it and it won!

  • Rixter

    Be sure to order that hitch-bike-rack with your fully loaded. I would like to get one eventually and its very unlikely I can try a $600 rack ahead of time. At the same time can’t walk into your typical rack shop to take a look. Gabe it’d be great if you could kick the tires on the rear hitch rack.

  • Alpinamike

    Horse # 1 is now in the lead. I think it’s funny the stats are changing.

  • Jack Grouell

    Save some weight and opt out of the sunroof – You can order all the stuff from the premium package and not get the sunroof.

  • SFRedMCc

    I completely agree with your choice of the anthracite headliner on all the models. I have it on my Clubman and it definitely gives the interior a more “premium” look. The light gray looks cheap and I don’t know why it’s even offered. Plus why does black plastic cost $250 more than gray anyway?

  • Rimtnbiker

    I agree with Rixter, add on the rear bumper bike rack. I would like to read a review about it’s use!

  • MikeJCW

    Another vote for the rear bike rack here PLEASE.

  • IowaM1N1

    I’ve seen color combination #4 in the wild and I was mesmerized. It does not have the brown tint that the configurator shows — it is more gray/black, dark and intimidating. Very cool.

    Now the choice of an automatic? Unacceptable.

    Make #4 a manual and you have my vote. Until then, I remain uncommitted.

  • Paul

    The White/black combination is too common – it seems like every second Countryman is that style.

  • jon

    @JB- I have to agree with you. It seems like it was never in the running even before the poll was posted. Seems pointless to me.

  • R.O.

    Voted for Option 3 even though I don’t like red and I wouldn’t get the GPS or Performance package. Since I don’t live in cold weather I wouldn’t get the cold weather package either but since Gabe does, it would be important. My color choice would be Option 1 with an Automatic.

  • Zach

    Go with Option 1. I’ve got a Countryman Cooper S All4 manual in metallic silver with all the options on order. Pick it up next week and can’t wait!

  • Rixter

    Gabe, if you need a bike to test the bike rack with, I’ll send you one from my local bike swap! 😉