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First drive video: Mini Cooper Countryman S

Consumer Reports News: March 25, 2011 10:38 AM

A bigger Mini might seem something of an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp. But with modern Mini Coopers being on sale here for nearly a decade, certainly some Mini owners had to move into something bigger as time went on and their lifestyle changed. Not to mention those who wanted to buy a Mini but just couldn't make the car fit their family needs. Enter the Countryman.

With four real doors (unlike the stretched Clubman) and back seats that actually fit people with some comfort, this bigger Mini expands the brand's appeal. It also offers all-wheel-drive--all the better to compete with the popularity of small SUVs. While Minis are always popular here at the Consumer Reports test track, this more practical Mini has been racking up break-in miles at an even quicker pace.

The Countryman obviously carries over Mini's iconic styling and whimsical detailing. But does the Countryman also adhere to core Mini strengths like handling agility and impressive fuel economy? Our first drive video shares our initial impressions.

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