While Mother Nature seems to be taking a vacation from winter this year in much of the country, the popularity of MINI’s all-conditions-capable Countryman continued to rise last month. Featuring available all-wheel drive and a surprising amount of cargo space, the MINI Countryman saw a 46-percent sales increase in February compared to the same month last year, the largest increase of any MINI.
The MINI Countryman moved 1,294 units last month, second only to the MINI Cooper Hardtop, which sold 2,427 units at MINI dealers. Those strong sales helped MINI post its best February in the United States ever, selling 4,980 total units for a 42.2-percent increase over February 2011.
“The Countryman is enjoying a lot of success because it offers the performance-focused driving experience of other MINIs, but with more utility for weekend warriors that have to travel through adverse conditions,” said Tim Parker, general manager of New Country MINI, a Hartford, Connecticut MINI dealer. “Buyers who might have gone for a typical wagon or crossover in the past to get through New England weather are now gravitating to the Countryman’s added style and drivability.”
With up to 41.3 cubic-feet of cargo space and seating for up to five, the 2012 MINI Countryman offers a smaller yet still family-friendly alternative to other SUVs and crossovers. A fuel-efficiency rating of 35 mpg on the highway for the base model makes the Countryman a viable daily driver for commuters, and the standard MacPherson strut front suspension, ultra-rigid body and six-speed manual gearbox ensure that the commute is engaging and enjoyable.
A new Countryman is on the horizon for those who desire even more performance. Debuting at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show this week, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will be the first of MINI’s John Cooper Works performance models to offer a six-speed automatic option. The move is expected to help the John Cooper Works Countryman appeal to a broader range of American drivers, a goal that MINI has had in mind for the Countryman from its inception.
When it goes on sale globally this fall, the MINI John Cooper Works Countryman will also be the first John Cooper Works model to showcase a standard ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, a big plus for Connecticut drivers trying to tackle slippery roads. The performance-enhanced Countryman will be powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 211 horsepower and up to 221 pound-feet of torque with an overboost function. That kind of power allows the Countryman to go from 0 – 62 mph in 7.1 seconds.
“John Cooper Works MINIs are designed to push the limits of their individual models and introduce a higher level of performance to drivers,” added Parker. “The John Cooper Works Countryman will bring a lot of firsts to the brand, and we’re excited to see that all come together in Geneva.”