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If you’re searching for a winter beater to brave the upcoming snowy months, there are many more cars to pick from aside from a Subaru or Audi. There’s nothing wrong with those brands, but it’s easy to get lost in the sea of all-wheel drive cars and SUVs built to trudge through the white stuff. If you want another option, we suggest checking out a 2012 Mini Countryman S, which is a winter warrior in disguise.

The 2012 Mini Countryman S offers plenty of power and capability

A front view of the 2012 Mini Countryman driving in the snow
2012 Mini Countryman | BMW USA

The 2012 Mini Countryman S is over 10 years old but still has plenty to offer. One of the most important parts of any winter car is its powertrain, and the Countryman S has the capability to get through the tough stuff. Under its hood is a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that produces 181 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque and can be mated to either an automatic or manual transmission.

A front-drive configuration is standard, but if you want the most traction from your Mini, we suggest finding one equipped with an ALL4 all-wheel drivetrain. The estimated fuel economy is around 29 mpg combined, which makes the Countryman great for commuting as well.

It’s worth noting that you can find a non-S Countryman if you don’t need the extra power. That version is propelled by a non-turbo 1.6-liter engine that pushes 121 hp and 114 lb-ft of torque to the pavement. It’s also more fuel-efficient with its 31 mpg combined rating, but the turbocharged variant is more fun to drive and could do better in the snow.

The Mini Countryman S is stylish and quirky

A front driving view of the 2012 Mini Countryman
2012 Mini Countryman | BMW USA

The Countryman may look bloated compared to its Cooper hatchback stablemate, but it’s undoubtedly a Mini. That means it has plenty of British style with its round headlights, bulbous proportions, and contrasting color scheme.

The unique styling extends to the interior with a retro motif with circular vents and a center-mounted gauge cluster. There’s plenty of head and legroom but be warned that the Countryman only fits up to four passengers. An accessory rail extends from the front of the car to the back and houses cupholders and a small storage pocket. It even lights up at nighttime.

2012 Mini Countryman problems

Although the cute and capable 2012 Mini Countryman is a great snow car and around-town commuter, it’s not without its issues. Car Complaints lists nine complaints from 2012 Mini Countryman owners, seven of which have to do with the engine.

One owner complained that the turbocharger needed to be replaced, while another spoke of a head gasket leak. A slipping timing chain was another concern. That said, there are plenty of high-mileage Mini Countryman examples running around the country with few issues. However, if you plan on buying one, have it inspected by a mechanic first.

How much does a 2012 Mini Countryman S cost now?

A side view of the 2012 Mini Countryman driving in the snow
2012 Mini Countryman | BMW USA

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A recent nationwide search on CarGurus revealed that prices for 2012 Mini Countrymans range from $6,000 to $20,000 depending on the car’s condition and location. We even found a couple for sale on Craigslist for around $5,000, but they had over 150,000 miles on the odometer.

If you don’t mind owning a high-mileage Mini and incurring any possible issues, the Countryman S is a great way to beat the rough winter roads in style.