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  • All-wheel drive available on base-engine Paceman and Countryman
  • Improves traction, especially in wet or wintry weather
  • Drops price of entry for an ALL4-equipped MINI

New MINI Cooper ALL4-equipped Countryman and Paceman models will be available soon, offering the improved traction of all-wheel drive on the most affordable versions of the two models. The MINI Cooper Countryman ALL4 and MINI Cooper Paceman ALL4 are expected to arrive next month.

All-wheel drive can contribute to sportier handling on dry pavement, but the real advantage is in wet or wintry weather. MINI's ALL4 system provides better handling by distributing more power to the rear wheels when the front ones slip.

ALL4 is already offered on the top two Countryman and Paceman trim levels. The MINI Cooper Countryman S and Paceman S are available with either front-wheel drive or optional ALL4. High-performance John Cooper Works versions of each model come standard with all-wheel drive.

Adding an ALL4 option for the base-level Countryman and Paceman -- those with the non-turbocharged engine -- should lower the price of entry for a MINI Cooper ALL4 model. We expect a starting price of about $25,000 for the Cooper Countryman ALL4, or a few hundred dollars more for a similarly equipped Paceman.

While all-wheel drive improves handling and wet-weather performance, it generally lowers fuel economy slightly. Fuel economy estimates are not yet available, but both the Countryman and Paceman are relatively thrifty on fuel, and the ALL4 paired with the base engine -- especially with a manual transmission -- will likely prove friendly at the pump.

And even in these times of greener thinking and greener vehicles on our roads, all-wheel drive is increasingly popular on a variety of vehicles. The reason is simple: Better traction means safer driving, even in the worst conditions.

What it means to you: MINI buyers no longer have to choose the pricier Cooper S or John Cooper Works versions of the Countryman or Paceman to get ALL4.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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