Car News:  Oversteer

I Bought a Mini Cooper Countryman!

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 MINI Cooper 2-Door Hardtop
Used 2015 MINI Cooper
$13,750
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 MINI Cooper 2-Door Hardtop
Used 2015 MINI Cooper
$13,750
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 MINI Cooper S 2-Door Hardtop
Used 2015 MINI Cooper
$14,750
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 MINI Cooper S 2-Door Hardtop
Used 2015 MINI Cooper
$17,000
RELATED READING
See all MINI Cooper+Countryman articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Sam Keller December 2018

When we last left off, my daily-driver Honda Element was written off by my insurance company in a flood-related incident. I received a check for $9,600, and needed that (and more) to find a new-ish daily-driver. With a total budget of $25,000 or less, I started my search with two main requirements: all-wheel-drive and a manual transmission. This brought me to finding a Certified Pre-Owned 2015 Mini Cooper Countryman S All4 -- an entire month after turning in the keys and the title to my beloved 2009 Honda Element.

I loved my Honda Element. It was dead reliable, it never got stuck in the many New England winters it encountered and it was more utilitarian than a Swiss Army Knife. I ordered it from Honda's Ohio factory. It was one of just a handful built with a 5-speed manual transmission in the last year it was available. I bought it in 2009, at the peak of the recession and housing crisis, and I often joked that I could live in it if need be. Thankfully, that never happened, but I did make some cash here and there helping friends move apartments in New York City, often in just one trip. I was even able to fit my 1958 Lambretta Scooter in the Element and travel long distances to vintage scooter rallies.

I had one certainty going into my new car search: knowing that I would never find anything as useful as my Honda. Sure, I could have just bought another one used, likely without a stick, but what's the fun in that? Comparatively, I knew the Mazda CX-5 was offered in a manual, but after a little research, I learned that manual-equipped Mazdas were only offered in front-wheel drive, which is a no-go in my new home of Michigan. After some research into automakers who still made manuals, I started to consider a Jeep Renegade. I like Jeeps, and I had good experiences with FCA's products, but like the CX-5, the stick was only available with the smaller power plant, and the Renegade came nowhere close to the Honda's vast storage capacity.

Realizing that I would be sacrificing my storage capacity no matter what, I widened my search beyond today's SUV offerings. Opening myself up to used vehicles allowed me to take advantage of depreciation and find something I couldn't afford when new. Having always been a fan of Mini since the brand's relaunch in the early 2000s, I decided to check out one of their larger offerings, the Countryman.

Finding a Mini to my specifications was no easy task. I needed a S model equipped with All4 and a 6-speed manual transmission to make my inner enthusiast happy. I went to a local Mini dealer, one of five in all of Michigan, to check one out in person. There was one problem at the dealership: there weren't any on the lot with manual transmissions. The salesman indicated that there was a possibility a trade-in would come in, so I left my info and went on my way.

I continued my search on the internet, and found one on CarMax. I took advantage of their free store-to-store transfers, and had it shipped to Michigan's only CarMax superstore, two hours away in Grand Rapids. At the same time, a trade-in arrived at the local Mini dealership. I felt that it was important to have two cars for points of comparison, so I checked out both.

The Mini dealership produced a bright red Countryman S loaded with options, while CarMax had a base model in a low-key, yet attractive, metallic brown. Although both models were identical in powertrain, I decided to spend a little more for the nicely equipped model with the aggressive John Cooper Works appearance package and bright red paint. I was able to even get it certified by the dealership, adding a little extra assurance in purchasing a used car.

While my last daily driver was low-key in appearance, I decided it was time for a shake-up to try something new. After a short time behind the wheel of my new Mini, I've fallen in love with the car's quirks and odd-ball design characteristics, as well as the premium features that the original owner optioned in the car. While some of the options are commonplace on cars today -- like automatic headlights, auto-dimming mirrors, heated seats and xenon headlights -- they're new features to me, and their convenience is quite nice. I appreciate how, paired with the 6-speed manual transmission, this new-ish car still delivers an exciting and engaging driving experience. With the challenge of finding a new (used) car out of the way, I look forward to logging many miles and memories in my new daily driver.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
The Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe Is the World's Most Opulent Convertible
Here's What Happens When Project Cars Go Completely Wrong
Killing the Original Jeep Grand Wagoneer Was a Big Mistake -- Or Was It?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 MINI Cooper 2-Door Hardtop
Used 2015 MINI Cooper
$13,750
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 MINI Cooper 2-Door Hardtop
Used 2015 MINI Cooper
$13,750
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 MINI Cooper S 2-Door Hardtop
Used 2015 MINI Cooper
$14,750
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 MINI Cooper S 2-Door Hardtop
Used 2015 MINI Cooper
$17,000
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
I Bought a Mini Cooper Countryman! - Autotrader