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2021 Mini Countryman Review

The 2021 Mini Countryman is the biggest vehicle from the happy-go-lucky British brand. The term “biggest” is relative here, as this is still a small vehicle compared to other compact crossover SUVs like its own cousin the BMW X1 (Mini is part of the BMW brand).

Like other Minis, the Countryman doesn’t sell in droves, but its owners are among the most loyal out there. Buying a Mini isn’t just about getting a new car. It grants access to a club of fun-loving enthusiasts who take part in events like Mini Takes the States, a cross-country trek that can be done in parts or its entirety.

Despite its outlier status, the Countryman is available with several powertrains including higher-performance engines and a plug-in hybrid model, plus a dizzying array of customizable features.

A starting price around $30,000 is enticing, but be aware that costs rise quickly and steeply. And while the 2021 Countryman is never short on charm, it doesn’t offer the kind of driver-assistance features now commonly found on a mainstream Mazda.

What’s New?

The Mini Countryman gets a light freshening for 2021 with updated front end aesthetics, standard LED headlights and fog lights, and Union Jack design for the rear LED lights. Amazon Alexa voice assistance is newly optional, as is a 5-inch digital cockpit display. See the 2021 Mini Countryman models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Individualistic personality and design
  • Variety of powertrains
  • Fun to drive
  • Practical for its size

What We Don’t

  • Still a Mini in terms of its size vs. competitors
  • Lacks numerous modern driving-assist systems
  • Price quickly soars with options and higher trims
  • Base 3-cylinder engine returns slower acceleration

How Much?

Est. $29,000-plus to $49,000-plus

Fuel Economy

Each 2021 Mini Countryman model is tied to a different engine.

The base Cooper uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder (134 hp, 162 lb-ft of torque). A 7-speed double clutch automatic is standard for front-wheel-drive, while all-wheel-drive/ALL4 models use an 8-speed automatic. EPA ratings for 2021 are still TBA, but fuel economy for the 2020 model was 26 miles per gallon in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in combined driving with the FWD. Mileage numbers for the Cooper ALL4 are 24 mpg city/33 mpg highway/27 mpg combined.

The Cooper S has a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque). In FWD S models, it’s mated with a 7-speed sport transmission. ALL4 gets an 8-speed automatic transmission. It earned 26 mpg city/34 mpg hwy/29 mpg combined with FWD. ALL4 post 33 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

The John Cooper Works Countryman is the most powerful variant with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder producing 301 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. ALL4 with the 8-speed automatic transmission is standard. It earned 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

On the other end of the spectrum, the confusingly named Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 is a plug-in hybrid. It produces a total output of 224 hp and can travel up to 17 miles on electricity alone. When that’s depleted, it gets 29 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2021 Mini Countryman is available in four models, each with a different powertrain: the Cooper, the Cooper S, the John Cooper Works and the Cooper SE plug-in hybrid, all of which used to serve as the Countryman trim levels. Each of those except the hybrid is then offered in three trims — Classic, Signature and Iconic.

For simplicity, we have opted to display the estimated pricing for the base Classic trim on each engine model. Then we show the added cost and content of the Signature and Iconic trim levels in parentheses. The added amount is based on the price of the Classic trim.

To put it mildly, Mini’s pricing, content and options are a hot mess. We’ve attempted to clean it all up as much as possible.

ALL4 (AWD) on the Cooper and Cooper S models adds $2,000 to the posted price. AWD is included in JCW and SE plug-in hybrid models. Prices don’t include the destination fee.

The Cooper Classic (est. around $29,000) comes with the 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, 17-in alloy wheels, panorama roof, LED headlights and fog lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, SensaTec faux leather seating, air conditioning, roof rails, rear parking sensors, a backup camera, heated outboard mirrors, push-button start, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, Active Driving Assistant, Bluetooth connectivity and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio capability and a USB port, and run-flat tires.

The Cooper S Classic (est. $32,400) has the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

The John Cooper Works Classic (est. $41,900) comes with the high-output 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

The Cooper SE Classic (est. $38,000) uses the hybrid powertrain and comes with AWD.

To the Classic’s features, the Signature (+$2,500) adds 18-in wheels, remote keyless entry, power liftgate, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control and 6.5-in touchscreen.

Building on the Signature features, the Iconic (+$6,500 to $7,500 depending on model) includes 19-in alloy wheels, premium leather upholstery, 8.8-inch touchscreen display with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Harman Kardon audio.

Like every Mini, the Countryman is highly customizable: You can order it however you’d like. It takes between one and two months to get one, but take our word for it — when you take a gander at the long, involved list of options and packages, you will probably agree that it makes sense to order exactly what you want.

Here’s a small sampling of available packages (not all are available on every trim): The Touchscreen Navigation Package, real-time traffic info, Apple CarPlay, wireless charging and a navigation system. The Driver Assistance Package includes park distance control, adaptive cruise control, a parking assistant and a head-up display. And the list of factory packages and stand-alone options goes on and on. Note that Android Auto integration isn’t available, but for 2021 Amazon Alexa is.

The dealer also has a parts department bristling with customizing elements to further tailor your Countryman.

Safety

The 2021 Countryman has mandated safety features such as traction and stability control, backup camera and tire-pressure monitoring system, plus front-knee airbags, front-side airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags. Active Driving Assistant, which includes forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking, is standard on the Countryman. Adaptive cruise control is optional.

However, other modern safety and driving-assistance features such as lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot monitoring are not available. Such features can easily be had on a Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30 or other lower-priced subcompact SUV.

As of 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had not given an overall safety rating to the Mini Countryman. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Countryman the best possible ratings of Good in every crash test performed. Its headlights scored a second-worst Marginal, preventing a Top Safety Pick award.

Behind the Wheel

From our time in past Countryman models, we found that Mini’s “go-kart handling” mantra has translated well even to its largest model. For a smaller SUV, the Countryman feels athletic and happily beckons the call of corners.

Beyond that, acceleration will depend on which engine you choose. The base Countryman with its 3-cylinder engine isn’t very fast. Though turbocharged, its output is just 134 horsepower. That translates to 0-60 mph times of 9.3 seconds for front-wheel drive and 9.6-seconds for all-wheel drive. That is slow by today’s standards.

A far better experience is had in the Cooper S Countryman. Its turbocharged 4-cylinder pumps out 189 hp and grants 0-60 mph times in as little as 7 seconds flat – more appropriate for a Mini.

The rocket in this Mini’s stable is the John Cooper Works. Though pricey, it’s also a hoot to drive. This hot-rodded Countryman has 301 hp, standard AWD, and a 0-60 mph of just 4.9 seconds.

In our brief time driving last year’s plug-in hybrid, we found it a smooth and quiet operator in electric-only mode, and transitions were good when its 3-cylinder engine kicked in.

Note that a manual transmission is no longer available in the Mini Countryman. All use an automatic transmission, ranging from 6- to 8-speeds.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 BMW X1— The X1 is mechanically related to the Countryman. It’s a bit bigger, more powerful and has a more conventionally designed interior, but it’s also pricier.

2020 Mazda CX-30 — This all-new Mazda crossover SUV has gorgeous design, spry manners and a full roster of the latest safety features – all at a starting price about $8,000 less than the Mini Countryman.

2021 Kia Seltos — Another all-new entry to the small SUV class, this Kia brings a rugged but fun-loving attitude, optional turbo engine, and a full suite of the active safety features. It also starts under $22,000.

Used Range Rover Evoque — It, too, is British, and a high-style choice that offers a compelling design and distinctive color schemes. It’s much pricier, though, so a used model could be worth considering.

Questions You May Ask

Is the Mini Cooper Countryman all-wheel drive?

Any Mini Cooper Countryman that has ALL4 in its name is equipped with all-wheel drive.

Is the Mini Countryman a good family car?

Though it is the largest Mini in exterior size and offers more rear-seat legroom than any other model in the company’s lineup, the Countryman is still a small vehicle with limited cargo space. Furthermore, it does not earn a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Is the Mini Countryman bigger than the Clubman?

Longer, wider and taller on the outside, the Mini Countryman is bigger than the Mini Clubman. Inside, the Clubman offers more front legroom, while the Countryman has more rear legroom and shoulder room. Headroom is a little better in the Countryman, but with most trim levels, cargo space is a hair better in the Clubman.

Is a Mini Cooper expensive to maintain?

Among small and compact SUVs, the 2020 Mini Cooper Countryman was estimated to cost about 60 cents per mile to own during the first five years, according to KBB. That’s 10 cents more per mile than the top-ranked 2020 Subaru Forester.

Autotrader’s Advice

Part of the joy of buying a new Mini is the ability to customize it to your style. So order your car. Don’t get stuck paying for stuff you don’t want or a color combination that’s not exactly your cup of tea. In one to two months, you can have the exact Mini Countryman you like. And you should even be able to get a similar price to one that’s just sitting on a dealer lot. Either way, though, we would recommend getting the Cooper S due to its sufficiently powerful engine. Find a Mini Countryman for sale

 

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