After BMW managed to revive the Mini Cooper lineup and bring it moderate success, it was time to start expanding the lineup. One of these expansions, the introduction of the MINI Countryman, occurred in the 2011 model year. The Countryman does an excellent job of combining the Cooper's strange look and sportiness into a compact wagon-SUV crossover.
For the 2013 model year, the Mini Countryman carries over from the previous model year and only comes in one trim level: Base. Under its hood lays a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that develops 121 horsepower and 114 foot-pounds of torque. As standard, it comes with a six-speed manual transmission, but you can opt for a six-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode.
Though the Mini Countryman comes in only a single trim level, there are plenty of optional packages to add to it. First on the package list is the Premium 1 package, which adds in extra luxury, like: alarm system, heater power mirrors and washer jets, chrome interior accents, auto-dimming mirrors, park-distance control, automatic A/C. rain sensing wipers, and automatic headlights.
The Premium 2 package adds in some of the more popular Premium 1 package features, like auto A/C, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, but also tosses in a dual-pane panoramic sunroof. The sport package adds a little more style to the Countryman with the addition of a rear spoiler, 18-inch Turbo Fan Wheels, sport seats, fog lights and black or white stripes.
To help its performance, the Sport package adds in dynamic traction control with an electronically locking differential. For those living in cold area, Mini offers a Cold Weather package that includes heated seats, heated washer jets and heated mirrors. The last package is the Technology package, which features a Harman/Kardon stereo with Mini Connected, a 6.5-inch display, Bluetooth pairing, iPod adapter, USB port, smartphone integration and SiriusXM, and Comfort Access keyless entry.
Being a petite crossover, the competition is spread a little thin for the MINI Countryman, but there is still enough to give you some options. First up on the list is the 2013 Kia Soul, which comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that nets it 138 horsepower and 123 foot-pounds of torque, 30 mpg highway and 25 mpg city, and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM radio. Next up is the 2013 Nissan Juke, which comes standard with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with 188 horsepower and 177 foot-pounds of torque, 27 mpg city and 32 mpg highway ratings, and a six-speaker, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with iPod integration. The final competitor is the 2013 Honda CR-V, which comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower and 163 foot-pounds of torque, 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway ratings, and a four-speaker stereo with CD player, Pandora radio, USB port and iPod interface.