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Livermore to Castle Air Museum - Sun., February 25, 2024

Our February run will take us over backroads through the hills and valleys of the East Bay and out to the Central Valley and Castle Air Muse...

The Auto Channel Drives And Reviews The MINI Countryman

Henny Hemmes for The Auto Channel takes a first drive in, and reviews, the MINI Countryman prototype on a track in Austria. MINI's chief designer Gert Hildebrand tells Hemmes the Countryman is " . . . a mini car with a maxi interior. That is what it is about: its big space." Hildebrand also defends the lavish use of chrome on the MINI. "Chrome belongs to a MINI” said Hildebrand. “It is so British. We tried a MINI without any chrome and it did not look right."

During the test drive Hemmes found,
Gone is the kart like feel of the Mini One. The Countryman has a more grown up character. Steering is sensitive, but not as sensitive as of other models. Handling is agile, but friendly and leaves a safe impression on the soaked track. Body roll is minimal, an achievement of the development team, with a car that is over 6 inches higher.
Hemmes liked the car but pronounced the following verdict - "The extreme fun factor of the original new Mini is gone, but you get more practicality in return."