For 2011 MINI USA has introduced a handful of options for the MINI Countryman. While most readers attention has been focused on the rear bench seating (a no cost option that deletes the rear rail) we’re much more excited about a couple other additions.

For 2010 MINI introduced a long awaited black headlight option for the Hatch, Convertible, Clubman and Coupe. Yet the Countryman was left with the standard chrome trim. However MINI applied the black magic to the R60 and we now have optional black headlight housing for the Countryman for only $100. Likely one of the best $100 you’ll spend on the options sheet in our opinion.

Another nice addition is the rear armrest available on the standard seat configuration. Having done a number of long trips with four people in the Countryman, I can tell you it will be appreciated by back seat passengers.

Also now standard on the Countryman is the rear bike rack prep meant (as you may have guessed) for the MINI Bike rack.

Back to the bench. Would we have opted for it over the two seats/rail combo? While it gives you more utility I’d have to say no. The two rear seats plus the full rail is such a unique set-up that it just begs to be tested and lived with. And in that regard so far we love it.