2nd Gen R60 Countryman WSJ: Dan Neil Takes MINI to Task

Discussion in '2nd Generation: 2007+ R55 through R61' started by Nathan, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Short North
    +10,049 / 0 / -0
    On the heels of the NY Times review of the Countryman we find one in Wall Street Journal by Dan Neil. Mr Neil is nowhere as forgiving of MINI's brand scope creep.

    Source - Wall Street Journal
  2. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Winston-Salem, NC
    +1,300 / 0 / -0
    #2 minimark, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011
    He just doesn't get it.... It is a MINI (and small) SUV and should not be compared to it's siblings straight up...

    The only thing I might agree with is the possible need for a 2.0 motor and the additional torque it would bring, not only for a bit quicker acceleration but to give it a reasonable, albiet small towing capacity. One that could tote a small trailer down to home depot for some pine needles or pick up that new sofa with. Of course it begs for a tear drop or pop up!:)
  3. BThayer23

    BThayer23 Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    Civil Engineer
    Durham, NC
    +155 / 0 / -0
  4. Octaneguy

    Octaneguy New Member

    Apr 24, 2009
    Dream job
    Anaheim, CA
    +30 / 0 / -0
    I just got my hands on an Absolute Black Countryman S at my shop, and I just wasn't all that impressed. They changed the interior surfaces to a cheaper more plasticky feel vs my R55. The whole dash feels more upright and crowded. The eBrake is kinda cool, like the controls off a 747, though I initially thought it was something to engage AWD instead of just an eBrake.


    The doors felt really light too, something that reminded me of an old Nissan Sentra from the 80's, not that solid heavy feel that I feel with the R53/R55's.

    I'm just really glad I didn't wait for the Countryman and instead got my 2010 Clubbie. :Thumbsup::Thumbsup::Thumbsup:

    The interior cargo space wasn't as much as I would have thought either. While sitting as a passenger felt comfortable, the space behind them, wasn't like a Nissan Murano which is a great SUV that costs less, drives great, and has many more times the cargo space.
  5. rkw

    rkw Well-Known Member

    May 7, 2009
    San Francisco
    +449 / 0 / -0
    He's one of my favorite automotive journalists. Funny how how the Wikipedia article dwells on that incident and barely mentions his work that led to his Pulitzer prize.
  6. lotsie

    lotsie Club Coordinator

    May 5, 2009
    stagehand/part time detailer
    Right here
    +400 / 0 / -0
    Perfect for pulling the back end around for drifting in the snow or dirt:Thumbsup:

  7. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    Overland Park, Ks
    +3,295 / 1 / -0
    There are only two points to the Countryman IMHO, 4 drs and 4 wheel drive - two things you cannot get in any other MINI. If you want the back doors, you gotta get the Countryman, period.

    Does that mean it's the best at what's it's for? Nope....

    Does that mean it's a MINI in the classic sense? Nope....

    But it's a MINI that people can easily get into the back seat on, and one they can take skiing, or to the country or any nuumber of things that are difficult if not impossible to do in a MINI of the classic sense.

    Works for me, except I can't get past how ugly it is........

    Still, I think those who bought them are very happy with them, because they do what their other MINI doesn't......

    My buddy bought one for his wife to replace her Saab, she loves it, and so does he. And he owns an '06 JCW and Classic, so it's not like he doesn't know how it's different from his other cars.
  8. ScottinBend

    ScottinBend Space Cowboy
    Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    Bend, OR USA
    +2,560 / 0 / -0
    :Thumbsup: to Dan Neil

    Clubbie is barely tolerable and the Countryman is a joke.

    Can you tell I don't like the direction MINI has taken.....:lol:

    CHKMINI Club Coordinator
    Lifetime Supporter

    Sep 1, 2009
    +3,845 / 0 / -1
    The Countryman fits the niche I've been looking for for my wife. She has been driving Suburbans, Cherokees, and mini vans for the past 27years. No matter what I drove, mainly BMW'S until I bought my first MCS in '04, she couldn't understand why I was so attached to them. We just took delivery of her Countryman S and now she admits that she understands my love affair with my '09 JCW.

    Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk
  10. rigidjunkie

    rigidjunkie New Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Membership Manager
    Columbus, Ohio
    +136 / 0 / -0
    I agree it opens a new set of customers and is a Mini in that it is smaller than its competitors. It is also a Mini in that the people buying them are trading some money for style. Sure there are larger cars for the price, but Mini today is smaller and upscale.

    I also agree that the interior materials feel like they are getting less expensive with every generation. But that is BMW taking advantage of the market they created.

    What kept me away from a new Mini was the price. My 2005 MC was $17,000 with a sportlink and bike rack included. The same car today would be $21,000!
  11. BlimeyCabrio

    BlimeyCabrio Oscar Goldman of MINIs
    Lifetime Supporter

    May 4, 2009
    Professional Facilitator and Alignment Consultant
    Holly Springs, NC
    +2,896 / 0 / -0
    I thought I wanted a Countryman. Until I actually looked at one up close.

  12. fuelcar58

    fuelcar58 New Member

    Dec 17, 2012
    weird left coast
    +3 / 0 / -0
    variety the spice of life.........to each his/her own. motoring would be boring if we only had one choice.
    i say by what you can afford and enjoy what you buy.
    .jm2c , ben
  13. ljmattox

    ljmattox Active Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    IT consultant
    St Louis metro USA
    +123 / 0 / -0
    Well articulated, and well written.

    But I don't share his viewpoint.

    Most brands start with some core definition, and produce a vehicle that represents that.

    Dan would have this never change.

    So: no Lotus beyond the Seven, perhaps?

    No Jeep that isn't...well, a Jeep?

    No Porsche beyond the 911? Or maybe it's the 911 that's the travesty...they lost it when they abandoned the 356 platform, went to 6 cyls, etc.

    No BMW beyond the 2002?

    Or is his thinking only to apply to the MINI brand? Anyone else can try to extend their appeal (and sales) to a larger audience? If so, why? There *are* people who would buy a MINI if it had four doors, they just need the room/convenience. Why not make a vehicle that tries to retain MINI-ness, but would address this desire? So, they did. It's not for everyone, perhaps. It is for some.

    (And leaving alone the whole Mini to MINI evolution...how does Dan see that one? By his reasoning...maybe it was illegitimate as well? :) )
  14. Minidave

    Minidave Well-Known Member
    Lifetime Supporter

    Dec 22, 2009
    Overland Park, Ks
    +3,295 / 1 / -0
    I used to enjoy Dan's writing, but when he went on the TV show and I got to hear him talk off the cuff, I lost a lot of that lovin feelin.....I found him to be snarky, elitist and at times just downright nasty.

    So, I now take most of what he writes with a different attitude based on what I saw and heard coming out of his mouth.....

    I stand by my earlier post tho, I still don't find the Countryman to be attractive - I'm more used to the looks now, but it still doesn't wow me - but having spent quite a few miles behind the wheel of one, I can really appreciate it place in the MINI lineup.

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