Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Automobile Prefers An Automatic For The Countryman

Automobile writer Joe Lorio recaps the magazine's experience with a long term 2011 MINI Cooper S Countryman tester and provides Automobile's consensus recommendations and preferences, such as in this introduction:
"Give this car a nice automatic or a DSG," suggested senior online editor Phil Floraday at the start of our Mini's penultimate month in our hands, "and it might be enough to get me to look past the car's styling and its weird interior." Your wish, Mr. Floraday, is granted -- at least in the sense that an automatic-equipped Mini Countryman arrived in the office just days later. Is the automatic the solution to the problem of the undersized clutch and the 1.6-liter's turbo lag, which combine to make driving around town "a real pain in the a**," to quote Phil once again?

The answer, at least in part, seems to be yes. "The Countryman is much easier to live with when there's an automatic transmission backing up the 1.6-liter engine," he says. However, he also posits another suggestion: Mini should borrow BMW's excellent 2.0-liter turbocharged four, provided it could be shoehorned under the hood. That engine is so fuel-efficient in the 3-series that it probably wouldn't drink any more fuel than the smaller 1.6.

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