The latest Mini model, the Countryman, has four doors and can be had with four-wheel drive. A little roomier than the standard Mini coupe, it's a more versatile vehicle, ready to have bicycles and surfboards attached to the roof.
But its equipment, both in the cabin and under the hood, is the same as in the standard Mini, with BMW's advanced four-cylinder engine in the S model. Cabin tech could use a shot in the arm, although Mini makes some new options available, such as an integrated iPhone app with a variety of functions.
While we were reviewing our Mini Countryman, it had the temerity to break down, its engine refusing to start. A little research in Consumer Reports shows that Mini's expected reliability is not high, something we experienced first-hand.