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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...

Scott Burgess Reviews The Countryman For Detroit News

Scott Burgess writes this review in the Detroit News about the Countryman. He concludes:
And like all Minis, there is some quirkiness that some people learn to live with but I find annoying.

This bigger Countryman cabin produces even bigger noises. Road noise, engine noise, wind noise — this car is loud. I was forever adjusting the stereo to find the right volume to drown everything out. And the sport suspension, which helps provide it with a go-kart-like feel, adds to the noise.
It's still fun to drive. On the highway, my Countryman All4 felt solid and cruised along nicely. The Countryman is the first Mini to come with all-wheel drive, a feature many drivers will appreciate if they live where snow is a way of life.

Powered by a turbocharged 1.6-liter DOHC I-4 engine, the Countryman All4 packs plenty of power — 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. I did not get to test the base model Countryman and wonder if its naturally aspirated 121-horsepower engine provides enough power to make this 3,000-pound Mini still feel fun.

Even with the six-speed automatic transmission, the Countryman felt quick and zippy. It weaves through traffic well, and the steering feels taut on every turn.

It also returns good gas mileage, up to 28 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

There are few cars like a Mini, and that has always been its selling point. People love them. There are often waiting lists, and Mini buyers rarely get a deal at the dealership — Mini is always one of the vehicles sold with the least incentives (the big Countryman has a starting price of $22,350). For good reason — they're fun, affordable and just look cool.

But I wonder if Countryman owners will be as happy as their regular Cooper counterparts. Towing three more people along for the ride may sap some of that energy out of Countryman owners.
Maybe the car wasn't what gave Mini owners such verve. Some of the happiest drives are solitary. This Mini takes that away.