December 31, 2016

2012 Mini Cooper S Countryman Passes Test

That title may not draw a many regular readers but it's purpose is actually for those in the future that will find my review at the bottom of this blog due to Google spiders indexing it.

There might be someone like me that will be looking for some owner experience in the Mini Cooper Countryman and would like to know what it does in general terms.

So for those that have arrived, maybe curious ... we are starting with the normal hound's morning walk photos. Just as many as usual with only one picture of the Cooper Countryman at the bottom of this post to show the results of my test for it today.

It was very nice to feel the temps in the 40's as we stepped outside this morning. The skies look like rain maybe but by that time I'll be sunk into my couch watching an Indiana basketball game at 12:30am, where I do not expect them to win. That will lead me to the game I really want to watch today around 3pm ... the Washington vs Alabama football game.

Once again the team that I will be cheering for probably will not win ... The Dawgs of Washington. They could but probably won't. Then we will finish the evening with the Clemson vs Ohio State game, one that I don't care who wins nor do I care about either team. Yet, they are part of the 4 team playoff for college football.

I let the hounds roam at their own pace while I walked mine this morning. I was actually more interested in the 'sky show' I was seeing with different cloud formations ever direction you turned.

The normal storm systems will travel north of me and south of me ... it seems. That does not matter if it is winter snow storms or spring tornadoes. For years I have watched them split at the Indiana/Illinois state line and then follow I-70 to the north and the Ohio River to the south. We will still get some severe storms here in 'the tropics' but not nearly as much as those 70 miles north of us.

Stella was in the mood to keep up with Sadie today. I'm not sure what her thought process was but she was interested in following Sadie.

All the pictures look the same to me, at times bore me but then after downloading them and looking at them closer I can usually see something slightly different that my eyesight did not.

One thing I did notice this morning though were both hounds moving deeper into the wooded area, the tall dormant grass and even into the top part of the gully.

They were both thrilled to be back at their 'happy hunting grounds'. I could tell from the start that neither of them were going to leave too soon and most likely I would be on my final approach to home, after making the final turn.

It wasn't so much the tower nor the turkey farms that caught my attention in this picture ... it was the sky.

In these next 7-8 pictures you can see the difference between Sadie and Stella. Notice that Sadie is looking at me and probably cannot see me clearly but they sure do look like they are looking right at you even from a far away distance.

Sadie will ALWAYS come toward me after looking at me if she knows I am pretty far away. Okay, there are those few times where she doesn't but I would say that happens less than 1% of the time.

She will run in my direction without being called.

Whereas Stella may look right at me but that does not mean she is going to come running towards me. She is just the opposite of Sadie where if she does come my direction, it is less than 1% of the time time.

She will always stare at you, then turn the opposite direction and go back to what she was doing and doesn't have a care in the world what is going on around her. I wonder at times when she does this, if she will ever come home if I were to ignore her and keep walking.

Still has no intentions of heading Sadie and my direction.

Then with an abrupt left turn she will start her gallop usually right into my leg where she can nudge me with her nose to let me know she is back or she is there.

You might think snow is on the way but it's to be in the 50's for the next few days before going back to the daytime highs in the 20's.

While Stella, Sadie and I were finishing our morning walk ... I decided I was going to take the Mini Cooper Countryman out a different road but it would be a 'true test' for what this car could do. The Edmund's review says it can do everything the FJ can do EXCEPT climb large rocks and rutted roads where you have less than 4" of ground clearance. It also has 20 cubic inches less in the cargo area. All things I knew before making the trade.

I decided to head out to my friends house, the same road the hounds and I took in the summer, out through the cornfields, gravel and hard packed dirt roads. We blogged and took pictures of that local trip.

I wanted to try out his driveway. It starts with a 60° or steeper incline with sharp left and right curves. He says if you don't have 4x4 you will not make it ... I noticed the other day his wife was driving a Toyota Rav4 so I was pretty sure 'The Countryman' could do it.

It climbed without any problem. Having the manual transmission was a plus I think in all of this testing today, especially the driveway. The first half of the road test was mostly gravel, semi loose gravel since they had just laid a single lane of new gravel in preparation for winter snow and rain. At times this same road will washout due to the small creek that runs the full border of the road.

I came to a T in the road where I decided to take a left instead of the normal right. I had a vague idea where it would end up but I had no idea what the road was like getting there. The road went up and down, sharp curves, maybe 1-1/2 lane but a lot of time just 1 lane ... all on hard packed gravel and dirt with occasional mud. It had blind corners on top or just past a steep hill, not knowing if traffic was coming from the opposite direction.

The All4 drive performed just as described, whether it was on loose gravel, hard packed dirt or spots of mud. Sometimes the lanes were worn down enough I wondered if 4" clearance was going to be enough ... but each time it was. Those gravel/dirt roads later turned into some new pavement with the same type of up and down hills, sharp curves and narrow roads.

The Countryman naturally went into it's sports car mode and handled just as good as my BMW Z4, although the Z is a smoother ride, has more power but at no time did I feel a lack of response from the Mini Cooper S 181hp engine.

Once again I feel good about the transaction and am finding out there is not much I am missing with the Toyota FJ. I definitely like the 34mpg gas mileage I am getting in all types of driving.

Well the hounds need a quick 'pre-game' break outside to dump their tanks and then I'll be on my football game marathon for the rest of the day.

I am still deciding on which direction to take on buying new tires. I have barely enough tread left on these Pirelli Run Flat tires that came with the car.

Happy New Year from 'the tropics' of southern Indiana.

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