The Mini Cooper Countryman, the brand's recently-introduced four-passenger compact crossover, has earned the Institute's top safety award after achieving "good" ratings for front, side, rollover, and rear impact protection.
It is the first Mini to win, and the second model from parent BMW Group to achieve top results since the Institute tightened the criteria to include good performance for roof strength in rollover crashes. The first model to attain this distinction was the 2011 F10 5 Series. In testing, the roof of the Countryman withstood a force equal to nearly 5times the car's approximately 3000-pound weight. By comparison, the current federal standard is 1.5-times weight. This puts the Countryman on par with other models in the segment, including the Volkswagen Tiguan, the newly-redesigned Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, and better than two key Japanese competitors, the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, which were rated "acceptable" and "marginal," respectively. Acura's small premium crossover RDX achieved a Good rating in Frontal Offset and Side Impact testing, but has not yet been tested under the new Roof Strength guidelines.
In addition to good crash test ratings, winners must have electronic stability control (ESC), an important crash-avoidance feature, which is standard on the Countryman. The Countryman is all-new for the 2011 model year and marks the brand's entry into the crossover segment. Available with front- or all-wheel drive, the model is currently on sale at a base price of $22,350.