2011 Mini Countryman
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  • 2011 Mini Countryman front 3/4 view

  • 2011 Mini Countryman
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  • 2011 Mini Countryman
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  • 2011 Mini Countryman front seats

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  • 2011 Mini Countryman front seats

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  • 2011 Mini Countryman rear cargo area

Mini is walking away from the rear bucket seats in its Countryman crossover. MotoringFile.com reports that starting in 2013, the CUV will no longer offer just two seats in the second row. Originally, Mini was forced to offer the buckets due to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rules governing the the minimum vehicle width for the allowance of three-wide seating. That rule was recently changed, which allowed Mini to offer the bench seat. Not surprisingly, few buyers have opted for the awkward bucket-and-rail configuration since. Moving forward, all Countryman models will also come with the vehicle's flat-load rear floor as well.

During our time with our long-term Countryman, we found the middle rail between the two buckets to be a bit gimmicky, especially given the fact that the cup holders were only large enough to accommodate a 12-ounce can.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 38 Comments
      Super Stud
      • 2 Years Ago
      We have had a 4 seat Countryman for almost a year and love it. Only the base engine so it is not a speed demon. No way that 3 can fit in back unless they are smaller children which is not our situation. Ride gets a bit choppy with 4 adults.
        d2
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Super Stud
        It's not about fitting 3 adults comfortably. It's about usability. Car seats, dogs, kids, etc. Some people may prefer the buckets for their own reasons, but generally they are limiting.
      tegdesign
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm looking at getting one of these little guys. I like the bench but the article is wrong in that few people have opted for the 4 bucket seats. I've struggled to find any with a bench seat in the back off the lots.
        Dayv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @tegdesign
        Who buys a Mini off the lot? Their business model is built around custom orders.
      hondabuck
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought they were talking about a car that didn't need a key!
        • 2 Years Ago
        @hondabuck
        [blocked]
      Rochester
      • 2 Years Ago
      That's a good first step. Now if they would just ditch the Countryman entirely, they could get back on track. Simply the ugliest SUV since the Pontiac Aztek. 9 out of 10 people who drive this car are overweight women who want the Mini because it's cute, but can't fit their fat arse into the car... so they supersize it.
      Mercer
      • 2 Years Ago
      Even if NHTSA doesn't restrict the width of the seats anymore, majority of Americans is still restricted by their physical size.
      Soccer Mom
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is my Mini - despite being the size of a Hummer h2 and burning more gas than a mid-sized CUV, it still retained roominess of the original car on the inside.
      Hunter Pontife
      • 2 Years Ago
      Reread the Motoringfile article--they will still offer the buckets, they are merely swapping their spot as standard equipement with the bench. Again, both are available, only bench is now "default."
        amade.ch
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Hunter Pontife
        ah, now that makes much more sense. thanks.
      Basil Exposition
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good. Rear buckets suck.
      jbm0866
      • 2 Years Ago
      Do I even need to say it? 3 across seating in something that small is for marketing purposes only....even 3 youngsters in the back would be shoulder to shoulder, and I'm sure the buckets would be more comfortable in any case.
        Basil Exposition
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jbm0866
        Having the option to squeeze 3 is better than not being able to fit 3 at all. I really doubt there is much comfort difference between the buckets and the bench when 2 are back there.
      telm12345
      • 2 Years Ago
      Everyone is quick to bash these, and I agree that they're not really MINI as we knew it, but frankly neither is Porsche and no one seems to complain about that too much. In fact, Porsche is selling Cayennes like hotcakes, and I think they make less sense than this thing - at least this is somewhat fuel efficient. While we don't think of the Countryman as MINI, it is quite small for an SUV/CUV. I grant you it is definitely not for everyone, but frankly that is what makes it alluring to some. You can't deny those charming BMW dynamics this thing has. The steering is very snappy with generous feedback (but not overbearing) and the ride, albeit stiff, makes this thing feel like a go-kart on steroids.
        Dayv
        • 2 Years Ago
        @telm12345
        It's the size of a Honda Fit. In the US market, that's quite small.
        scionxd48
        • 2 Years Ago
        @telm12345
        Very well said. Although, it can still be considered to live up to the Mini name, if you take in consideration that the Countryman is usually cross shopped with other CUVs like the Rouge, Outlander Sport and even the Forester. It's the smallest CUV available, and still has a lot of room inside, and fits the Mini name quite well. Other than that, you're pretty much spot on.
      carnut0913
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Originally, Mini was forced to offer the buckets due to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rules governing the the minimum vehicle width for the allowance of three-wide seating. That rule was recently changed, which allowed Mini to offer the bench seat." "Yes, now that Americans are getting skinnier, we feel you can comfortably get 3 people in where only 2 would fit before"- said no one ever.
      JEO
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yet another example of government's inept regulations.
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