2016 Mini Countryman Walk Around

Countryman stands apart from the other MINI Coopers because it’s clearly a wagon.

The short hood and nose, with its wide grille with horizontal slats and big round headlamps, is fairly aggressive for a car so puny, and the flared fenders and 17-inch wheels give it a pugnacious but fun stance. It stands upright, and the flat roof seems to float above it. The taillamps at the corner of the liftgate are consistent with the boxy attitude, big rectangles rounded at the edges.

Interior

Like the other MINIs, the cabin is quirky, dominated by big round gauges with a lot of little levers and switches, and oval shapes scattered around the dash and doors. Too much glossy piano black and too many shiny things for us, with information displays that are captive to the statement which seems to be that chaos is fun.

What makes the Countryman way more functional than other MINIs, and puts the utility in crossover utility vehicle, is its 42 cubic feet of cargo space, with the split rear seats folded. Up front the seats are comfortable and in the rear headroom is ample, although knee room is not so ample, which makes it perfect for kids or other people with big heads and little knees. Technically it seats five, but that’s six real small knees.

That 2015 freshening added the available MINI Connected infotainment system that speaks to smartphones and brings internet functions, using apps that run on the display screen and are controlled by a joystick on the center console.

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