The 2012 Mini Cooper S Countryman with ALL4 Drive Road Test and Review
Why is it that when anywhere from 60%-83% of new car buying decisions are made by women (depending on which of the myriad studies on the subject you choose to believe), so many of the reviews are at best condescending in tone to females and at worst sometimes actually call certain models “chick cars?” One unnamed piece even went so far as to say one vehicle was loved only by “yummy mummies.” Really guys, would you talk to your own mother, wife or sister that way?
First off, just as many women as men are passionate about the automobile in general with driving enjoyment and performance ranking high on their “want” list when buying a new car. They can also drive just as hard and fast as a male driver with this fact slowly starting to get noticed thanks to NASCAR superstar Danica Patrick’s racing achievements. Danica is NASCAR’s first female superstar racer and to put that in perspective, women were not allowed to race in Marathons until 1973 when trailblazer Kathrine Switzer was finally “officially” allowed to enter the Boston Marathon.
Also, women want all of the latest in-car technologies and have pushed automaker’s manufacturing abilities with their demands for ever expanding choices in regard to how their new car looks, is optioned out and how it performs. And no car brand has managed to balance appealing to both male and female drivers better than Mini which, let’s be honest, is an automaker all about style, driving fun and expressing yourself through your choice in personal transportation. And no matter if you are a boy or a girl that is something that can help you enjoy life more and feel better about yourself as a result.
The beauty of the entire Mini lineup is that they can be driven by men or women with very little “gender stigma” attached to any models in the brand. In equal measure both sexes lust after the original Cooper hardtop, the convertible, Clubman, Coupe, Roadster and super-fast John Cooper Works Editions. Now Mini has introduced its most practical model ever in the form of the four-door “Mini-SUV” known as the Countryman. Now that’s a lineup that’s yummy to everybody.
But the question is, does the Countryman give away any of that essential quick reacting, semi-hyperactive “Mini-ness” that has made all of its other models so popular with driving enthusiasts? The Countryman is the only model that is available with an all-wheel drive (our tester was so equipped) and the only one with four full size doors but do these attributes make it viable for a small family who might consider some other compact SUV alternative like an Audi Q5 2.0T or Acura RDX?
Well, ladies and gentleman, the Countryman may be a bit smaller than those two SUVs but what it may lose in overall size it makes for in rip-snorting eagerness that will turn give even the biggest grouch an uncontrollable, “Joker” style grin the whole way to the grocery store. As for the rest of our impressions of the 2012 MINI Cooper S Countryman All4, read on for our play by play of impressions.