Our long-term 2011 Mini Countryman is nearing the end of its year-long stay in the Autoblog Garage, the past six months of which have been spent bouncing back and forth between the various Detroit-based team members (and Cleveland – we mustn't forget about Herr Neff). And while we've all had plenty of time behind the wheel of the biggest Mini, this is one car that always seems to be in high demand, whether its for long road trips or just because we all really like driving the thing.
When our friends at The Tire Rack told us they'd be sending over a set of Bridgestone Blizzak WS-70 tires mounted on 17-inch Sport Edition alloy wheels for our long-term Mini Countryman, our minds were immediately filled with images of the little blue hatchback bounding along snowy roads with razor-sharp precision and confidence. Instead, editors Neff, Paukert and myself can literally count on one hand the number of times we actually had to drive the Mini on snowy/slushy roads. So much for winte
Literally two days after my last update about our long-term Mini Countryman, I found myself trudging through a snowstorm at 30 miles per hour on Interstate 94 along Michigan's west coast. I guess Mother Nature had heard my cries about not being able to test our Mini in the snow, and decided to reward me with super slippery roads and poor visibility for two and a half hours straight. Lovely.
After spending September in the San Francisco bay area with Senior Editor Damon Lavrinc, our long-term 2011 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 moved to southern California during the month of October to serve our esteemed photographer, Drew Phillips. In early November, I handed Drew the keys to our long-term 2011 Jetta TDI and stole the Countryman from his driveway. He hasn't seen it since.