Lodging Planner for Lake Tahoe Weekend Run - May 18 - 19, 2024

Saturday and Sunday overnight run to South Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the backroads, less traveled, and even more scenic than your usual run up the f...

autoblog's Long Term 2011 Countryman Nears 20K Miles

autoblog's long-term 2011 MINI Countryman is nearing the end of its year-long use as a tester. Its complaints:
The one constant complaint from literally every single person who drives the car is how harsh it rides on the road, Detroit's horrific street surfaces aside. It's not entirely the fault of our car's optional sport suspension, though – we think it all comes down to its awful run-flat summer tires. The whole car will jolt as you coast over even the most minute of pavement irregularities, and it gets to be very, very annoying. I truly miss the Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70 winter tires that were fitted to the car during the cold months. Yes, the 18-inch Pirelli Cinturato P7 run-flats offer better grip on dry roads, especially when driving the Countryman enthusiastically, but the rubber compound of those Blizzaks was so much more pleasant for everyday driving scenarios.

Brake dust also continues to be an issue, and it makes me wish we had opted for one of the darker alloy wheel choices when ordering our car. (I suppose I'm the one to blame, since you readers picked this Mini in our initial poll, and the car you see here is the one I had configured.) But still, even after just a week of driving, the front wheels become coated in black soot, and even a run through a car wash won't completely do the trick in removing the grossness.
Its conclusions:
Even so, these quibbles with our long-term tester won't steer me away from spending more time with the Mini before it leaves, and judging from all the requests from other staffers eager to get another stint behind the wheel, they haven't upset too many of my fellow editors, either.