20,000 Miles later with the Countryman All4

THE FIRST 200

Road trip to Joshua Tree all the way From Chicago

20k in one year is a lot of miles to drive, at least in my little bubble of a world. But thats how many miles I’ve put on my MINI. I have owned the car since Feb 2021 and we are almost to the 9 month mark (as of October 2021) and i am here to report my troubles and not-so-bad adventures with the car.

Just Cruising

Within the first week of ownership i had no problems , and why would you expect there to be issues when you just purchased the car ? Although when we got into week two I had some very unsettling issues occur. The Engine light came on and immediately shot me into limp mode. The worst part about this was i was not anywhere near home , i was actually at the mall with my significant other. 45 miles later I limped all the way home. I was admittedly worried about doing more damage to the car especially since i just purchased it. When we arrived at home i called the dealership, they were not willing to help me- at least not yet.

After failing with the dealer i proceeded to call the MINI dealerships in the area to get a better idea of what was happening , still in a pseudo limp mode ( the car kind of fixed itself overnight) , I drove to a BMW/MINI dealer near me. They checked out the car and they told me from first glance the car looked great , aside from the fact that i needed new brakes. They then informed me that i would need to pay for a diagnostic fee, gladly i agreed. While sitting at the MINI dealer I had a chat with the Service Manager and I had informed them on my situation. Now normally I am one-hundred percent against going to dealerships, and wholeheartedly against letting them know any personal matters. But every experience i had ever had at a MINI dealer was excellent and this was not an exception. So I sat and waited and waited , they eventually got back to me and told me the damage.

The error code displayed before going to limp mode

$5200 for the bill , the service manager told me the turbo gasket and the turbo both needed to be replaced. I thought to myself “this is insane , $5200 for a car i haven’t even driven for 200 miles?!”. The service manager then asked if I would be paying or the dealership i purchased from. Until this point ,I had been back on the phone with the other dealership and they were beginning to get annoyed with my constant badgering. They actually agreed to get a quote from a reputable dealer and they would pay the damages within reason. I called back and spoke to the salesman that sold me the car. About 30 minutes later he called me back and said his GM would not cover to replace the turbo. I went back to the service manager and told him the situation , he came back to me with some paperwork on the certain laws that, until now, I was unaware of.

Within the paper work where certain Illinois laws on used car sales (I will edit this at a later date when i remember the name of the law i am writing about). Essentially because i had the car for less than 10 days and drove under 500 miles i was afforded certain rules. Apart of the law stated something to the effect of ; if the vehicle is deemed unsafe or undrivable in the aforementioned time that the seller would have to accept a return (couldn’t afford to return it and be without a car) or the seller would have to fix any damages to make the vehicle drivable again. Apparently this law is applied to every used vehicle in the country , however some car dealerships sneak a waiver in and you basically waive your rights. It’s very similar to the lemon law in this regard.

With this knowledge at hand I called back the dealership where i purchased the car , and while I was on speaker phone with the service manager next to me, I spoke to the GM. We had a fairly heated exchange between us, but in the end, they absolutely refused to replace the turbo. After a little over an hour here , back and forth on the phone with the GM they eventually agreed to allow me to bring the car in and they would check it out.

The Jeep Rubicon I got as a loaner

The following day I brought the car into the dealership where I purchased the car. still in and out of limp mode , the car was allowing me to accelerate over 50mph. They took the car in and handed me the keys to a loaner. The loaner they gave me was a pretty cool Jeep Rubicon. Which was nice , it had just snowed about 12 inches a few days before i got my MINI and the Jeeps awd system was much needed. A week goes by and they finally call me back. Turns out the Intake manifold is made of a plastic and the manifold itself had a crack in it, which is why the car was unable to hold boost and keep the power when accelerating. Finally i had the car back and it was actually usable. crazy thing is that , only had the car for a few days before the problems occured and it was if i had a new car. Until –

The cockpit of the Rubicon

MORE PROBLEMS

About three days goes by , the car was doing great. day four comes by and my significant other and I decide to go to the mall. We enjoyed our time there and i was excited to get back in my new car and then – “beep boop” . The warning light decided to pop up with exact same error message, I was livid. I immediately called the dealership and spoke to the manager there and they told me to bring it back in. The next day I brought it back , however this time I had to argue with them to provide me with a loaner. They ended up telling me they could but i’d have to wait for a little bit when their appointment came back in with the loaner vehicle. Eventually I got the loaner , it was a Jeep Wrangler Trailhawk. Also a very nice car , but i was still pretty upset about the MINI failing to be reliable , and only having it for about two weeks at this point was making me very uneasy.

The Trail-hawk loaner

Two days go by and they called me back with what went wrong. Apparently , they over tightend the bolts on the throttle body , which guess what ?- ALSO PLASTIC. If memory serves me correctly, two days after this call I did FINALLY pick up the car and it was finally fully repaired wtih a brand new throttle body, intake manifold , new intake manifold gasket , and new water pipe. All the afformentioned parts come together if i remember correctly. So now that I have told you guys what happened immediatley after purchasing one let me actually give you guys a review

THE REVIEW

After doing my research on the car before I purchase , I knew that there would be issues at some point or another. However after the initial set of issues the car proved to be pretty reliable. The All4 system is great in inclimate weather , and being the R60 it’s still (sort-of) a MINI. The Power however is really lackluster, MINI advertises the Cooper S ALL4 to get 181 hp @ 5500 rpm . Certainly doesn’t feel that way. Most likely that’s due to the weight of the car. Being the biggest car in the line up the weight definitely is a hindrance. However the caveat to this is the fact that the ALL4 awd system for sure makes up in the acceleration department.

MINI began doing what most automakers do in the euro market , giving it a plethora of options. My specific model does have the Visual Boost system. Which has been abandoned for a better set up in the newer models. The visual boost essentially will give a screen with a few options on the dash , however no navigation. The Navigation , along with many other features is an added extra.

INTERIOR

Interior at night

The qualtity in my model is ok. It is leagues better than that of the Saab i traded for it but it wasn’t the greatest thing i’ve ever owned. The seats are a rugged cloth material and there is plastics throughout the car. But most places you touch are slightly more premium than just a cheap plastic. Still nothing to write home about , on the other hand the interior has aged very well. MINI has changed the interior slightly with the newer models , however the layout is still very much the same. The biggest place that the newer models upgrade on are the material quality.

Day time pov

STYLING

I will say that the styling on this MINI is still very sharp. I do catch myself glancing back at the car everytime i walk away from it. MINI could have only improved on this in one way. Which they did actually , they made the Paceman. The paceman is essentially a countryman , minus two doors and a sloped roofline. Also a very good looking car , The british styling of the MINI is what drew me to them in the first place.

IN CLOSING

Buying these cars used you should expect to pay anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000 , of course the trim , options and mileage are all a variance. If you do get a Countryman and you are unfortunate enough to have an N14 engine , i would turn away. The N18 engine is the more reliable revised revision of the motor from BMW/MINI. In my honest opinion , If i had to pay out of pocket for the issues i started off this post with it would leave me with a very sour taste in my mouth for the brand. I love MINI as a brand. I love the heritage , the style and uniqueness that the brand brings to the automotive world. However it does pain me to say it , these cars aren’t worth it if you want to have a very reliable daily commuter.

I would suggest , if you are set on a MINI to take a look at the R53 Cooper S. If you can find one with low miles and well maintained they can make for excellent cars to put about in. Alternatively , you could also look at the F-series cars. The F-series is the current generation and so far, have been shown to be slightly more reliable. These cars are extremely fun in the end, but reliability is questionable pre 2017 models. Just do your research on any car you may purchase.

Have a good day world- till next time.

Thanks for reading , if you are interested I did post some videos showing off the car on youtube here:

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