2021 MINI Countryman

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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
January 22, 2021

Buying tip

The Countryman S combines the most bang for the buck, and the Signature trim adds value over the barebones Classic trim.

features & specs

Cooper ALL4
Cooper FWD
Cooper S ALL4
23 city / 32 hwy
26 city / 33 hwy
23 city / 31 hwy

The 2021 Mini Countryman trades some of its small car driving charm for a roomier interior.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mini Countryman? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Mini Countryman small crossover SUV is the largest Mini offering for the U.S. It competes with its parent company’s BMW X1 and X2, as well as the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. 

Is the 2021 Mini Countryman a good SUV?

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If different is good—and it is—then the Mini Countryman is a good small crossover SUV. Its style, spaciousness, available powertrain offerings, and premium vibe offset its odd feature packaging and lack of driver assist features. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.2 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Mini Countryman?

Refreshed for 2021, the largest Mini comes with a new grille, front and rear bumpers, standard LED headlights, fog lights, and Union Jack LED taillights, as well as new wheel and color options. Inside, an 8.8-inch touchscreen comes standard on all but the base Classic trim. 

A new honeycomb grille oversees a larger lower fascia that integrates LED fog lights. LED lighting abounds almost as much as circular design elements outside and in, where a circular center stack oversees toggles instead of traditional switchgear. 

Three trims, Classic, Signature, and Iconic stagger the feature set available across four models based on powertrains. The base Countryman uses a 1.5-liter turbo-3 that can’t carry the weight, while the Countryman S uses a 189-hp turbo-4 that’s just right. The John Cooper Works model ups the turbo-4 to 301 hp, and adds adaptive dampers and other performance bits. The Countryman SE plug-in hybrid soldiers on with only an 18-mile electric range but a decent 73 MPGe. The other turbo engines return 29 mpg combined at best. 

Seating five but only roomy enough for four, the Mini Countryman is taller and larger than the Mini Cooper, with better head and leg room, as well as at least 7.0 cubic feet more cargo volume. The front seats provide good thigh and back support. 

Mini equips the Countryman with niceties such as synthetic leather seats, panoramic sunroof, and an excellent warranty, but Apple CarPlay does not come standard and Android Auto isn’t available. The safety features are similarly mismatched; low-speed automatic emergency comes standard, but adaptive cruise control is an option even on the most expensive model that tips $50,000. 

How much does the 2021 Mini Countryman cost?

The base 2021 Countryman in Classic trim with the turbo-3 starts just under $30,000, while the John Cooper Works in top Iconic trim takes you to the other end of the Mini spectrum in price and performance to just under $50,000. 

Where is the 2021 Mini Countryman made?

In the Netherlands.


2021 MINI Countryman


The refreshed 2021 Mini Countryman wears more assertive ends in classic Mini proportions.

Is the 2021 Mini Countryman a good-looking car?

Based in England, owned by Germans, built in the Netherlands, the bestselling Mini model in the U.S. leans into the small SUV segment while retaining Mini’s hallmark cosmopolitan cues. It earns a point each for the inside and out for a 7. 

Once a cheeky diplomat, the Mini Countryman looks more determined this year with a pouty new lower grille flanked by new LED fog lights. New LED headlights sport a ring of DRLs that double as turn indicators, and the standard LED taillights highlight the Union Jack pattern. Mini’s rounded DNA continues in the wheel arches, door handles, and side mirrors, but the revised ends, with more defined skid plates and an available twin exhaust, embrace the small SUV style.

Circular design elements round out the interior as well, where an LED ring haloes an available 8.8-inch touchscreen or, on base models, a 6.5-inch display screen. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and an ovoid digital cluster refine an already sophisticated interior that can be upgraded from synthetic leather to premium hides in a variety of hues, including Indigo Blue.

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2021 MINI Countryman


The 2021 Mini Countryman comes in four powertrains, from the pokey to the powerful.

The 2021 Mini Countryman is one of the more fun small crossovers to drive, but that’s less a credit to Mini than all the other dullards out there. It’s a 6, based on the Countryman S model for its punchy turbo-4 and excellent steering.

How fast is the Mini Countryman?

The base Countryman borrows the 134-hp 1.5-liter turbo-3 from the diminutive Mini Cooper. At about 3,500 pounds, the Countryman’s extra weight of 600 pounds taxes the turbo-3 like a cheeseburger on a diet. It longs for 60 mph in 9.3 seconds, or 9.6 seconds with all-wheel drive, according to Mini. 

The 189-hp turbo-4 in the Countryman S hustles to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, with all-wheel drive trimming it to 7.1 seconds. Front-drive models get a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, while all-wheel-drive variants use an 8-speed automatic with manual override because there is no manual transmission. See the Mini Cooper for that option. 

The 8-speed directs power from the 301-hp turbo-4 to all four wheels in the John Cooper Works, helping propel it to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.

The SE Countryman combines the turbo-3 and a 10-kwh battery with a hybrid-specific all-wheel-drive system that uses the engine to power the front wheels and a motor to power the rear. Together, the system generates 224 hp, and Mini says it reaches 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. It can go up to 18 miles on electric range, and charges in 2.5 hours from a Level 2 charger. 

Is the Mini Countryman 4WD?

It’s front-wheel drive but available all-wheel drive costs $2,000 more on all but SE plug-in hybrid and the JCW performance variant, where it is standard. All-wheel drive helps with traction in inclement weather and adds grip for more spirited driving, but the largest Mini loses some of that trademark Mini driving fun due to its taller ride height and larger proportions. That’s nearly 600 pounds heavier than the Mini Cooper, and more than five inches taller.

Size matters, yet the Countryman still delivers better than average handling for cars in this class. Available adaptive dampers soften the cruise and tighten up in corners, as long as you avoid the available 19-inch wheels. Direct steering retains Mini’s magic and keeps the driver connected to Countryman and road.

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2021 MINI Countryman

Comfort & Quality

The 2021 Mini Countryman welcomes four passengers with ample space and good seats.

The big Mini seats five but fits four with enough cargo space left over to get away for a long weekend as a doomed double date or family excursion. It’s a 7 for its 17.6 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the rear seats and its comfy front seats. 

Nearly six inches taller than the Cooper hardtop, the Countryman offers plenty of head room and good rear leg room that exceeds 37 inches, which is more than many other crossovers. Despite the roominess front and rear, squeezing in a fifth passenger would be a disservice to everyone. Fold down the rear seats and the Countryman opens to 47.6 cubic feet of storage, making it a Mini in name not size. 

As usual, the best seats are up front. Shod in synthetic leather and with plenty of thigh support and side bolstering, the front seats cater to the larger American buyer. Available Sport seats that come standard on JCW models add more side-hugging firmness.

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2021 MINI Countryman


The 2021 Mini Countryman has incomplete crash-test results.

How safe is the Mini Countryman?

The IIHS rated the Countryman “Good” in its crash tests, but the NHTSA has not tested it. That precludes us from rating it.

Despite the solid crash-test scores, the Countryman’s standard automatic emergency braking only slowed the car down by 7 mph in IIHS tests of its responsiveness to oncoming traffic at both 12 mph and 25 mph. The new LED headlights should boost the “Poor” headlight rating.

There are only a few safety and driver assist options; adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, and a head-up display come bundled with the $1,250 Driver Assistance Package.

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2021 MINI Countryman


The base Classic trim lags the competition, but the 2021 Mini Countryman can be configured in many ways.

The 2021 Mini Countryman in base Classic trim comes with roof rails, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, fog lights and taillights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, synthetic leather seats, and a 6.5-inch infotainment screen. It starts at $29,950, including $850 destination. 

Mini prioritizes fun features over the convenient ones, equipping each Countryman with a panoramic sunroof yet Apple CarPlay is optional. Android Auto isn’t offered at all. That costs it a point, but the long options list and customization possibilities earn the point back. An impressive 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty with up to 3 years/36,000 miles of scheduled maintenance adds another point, to give it a 6 here. 

Which Mini Countryman should I buy?

The zippier turbo-4 on Countryman S models cost about $3,000 more than the base model, depending on trim. For $36,350, the Signature trim with 18-inch wheels, power tailgate, heated front seats, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation and Apple CarPlay compatibility with wireless smartphone charging would be our choice. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Mini Countryman?

If you want to go full Mini, the John Cooper Works Countryman in top Iconic trim costs $49,350. In addition to the uprated 301-hp turbo-4 with the 8-speed automatic sending power to all four wheels with adaptive dampers, it comes with power folding mirrors, Harman Kardon 12-speaker sound, heavily-bolstered sport seats, and a tiered cargo floor. Even at that high price point, adaptive cruise control and a head-up display costs an extra $850.

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2021 MINI Countryman

Fuel Economy

The largest Mini gets average fuel economy.

Is the 2021 Mini Countryman good on gas?

Four powertrain options in the 2021 Mini Countryman give shoppers a choice between performance and efficiency. It’s a 5. 

The SE Countryman plug-in hybrid tops the efficiency scale. It uses a 1.5-liter turbo-3 and 10-kwh battery pack with a unique all-wheel-drive system that helps it earn an EPA-rated 18 miles of all-electric range, or the equivalent of 73 mpg with gas and electrons. When the juice runs dry, it gets 29 mpg combined, same as the base Countryman with the turbo-3 in front-wheel drive. 

The more potent Countryman S uses a 2.0-liter turbo-4 in front-wheel drive that gets 24 mpg city, 33 highway, 28 combined. That rating drops 2 mpg combined with all-wheel drive in either model. The Fiat 500X and BMW X1 with all-wheel drive gets the same 26 mpg combined, but the 2021 Volvo XC40 gets 25 mpg.

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Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 6
Fuel Economy 5
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