The second generation of the Cooper Countryman was introduced for the 2017 model year, and then for 2020, it got a facelift. Once again, this year, MINI has adjusted its offer to make it even more attractive.
On a picture or even from a distance, the MINI Countryman looks small, only slightly larger than the “regular” MINI Cooper, yet MINI markets this car as the largest and most versatile vehicle in its lineup. It’s when you get close to it that you realize how big the Countryman is.
As the father of a one-year-old kid, I was pretty skeptical that everything we needed for a “move” with a baby would fit comfortably in the car – As soon as I got home, the testing began. A colossal rear-facing baby seat? No problem! Clearance for the spouse despite the seat? Plenty! Finally, enough room in the trunk for a full-size stroller? Just enough, but everything fits! All this to say that the 2021 MINI Countryman impressed me with its space and versatility. For those who prefer numbers, we’re talking about a cargo capacity ranging from 498 to 1,348 litres.
The segment in which the 2021 Countryman belongs is quite competitive. IT includes the likes of the Audi Q3, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40, and the powertrain-linked BMW X1, to name a few big players. Despite these big names, the MINI still does well. The additions for the 2021 model year only affirm how much the British automaker wants to gain ground against these competitors.
Now, as to whether the MINI Cooper Countryman is a good buy, let’s take a closer look.
Why you should buy a 2021 MINI Cooper Countryman?
- For Canada, the Countryman comes standard with ALL4 all-wheel drive, which is not the case with many competitors.
- Not only that, but the 2021 MINI Countryman is available in four distinct versions (Cooper Countryman, Cooper S Countryman, Cooper SE Countryman, John Cooper Works Countryman). In addition, each is equipped with a different engine. Covering a range of power from 134 to 301 horsepower, it offers something for everyone.
- The interior is flawless, especially with the digital instrument cluster that is new for 2021. The fit and finish, the seats, the addition of a glossy piano black finish to the center screen, and technologies like wireless Apple CarPlay make the 2021 Countryman a good fighter in its niche.
- As mentioned above, the MINI Countryman looks small from a distance but is far from it. Its cargo volume, combined with its size, makes it versatile. In addition, the designers were able to maintain the typical MINI look, despite the size of the vehicle.
Why you should not buy a 2021 MINI Cooper Countryman?
- Unfortunately, the Countryman is not without its flaws. On the powertrain side, my test version, a 189-horsepower Cooper S Countryman, lacks the punch and agility of the big boys in its class while offering decent performance.
- Also, the 8-speed Steptronic transmission seems to have trouble adjusting to our driving style. Whether in ECO, Sport, or even Normal mode, I found it shaky and far too hesitant. Perhaps paddle shifters could solve some of the problems?
- Another essential point to mention is the lack of multiple driver assistance systems. Indeed, while some popular systems are available on the 2021 Countryman, such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking, others are not. Of course, we’re talking about features like blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist.
The 2021 MINI Cooper Countryman is still a charming little vehicle. Its design is well done and perfectly complements the MINI model range. With its versatility, which pleasantly surprised me, and its many versions, the Countryman seems to have everything to please.
However, although the base price seems attractive, it skyrockets with the help of the wide range of options available. My tester, the Cooper S Countryman, appears to be the best choice in the lineup, a good compromise between being well equipped and having enough power.