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2021 MINI Cooper Countryman Review

The 2021 Mini Countryman scores a top-half spot in our subcompact SUV rankings. It's upscale, comfortable, and fun to drive, but it's considerably more expensive than the rest of the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy, supportive seats
  • Well-crafted interior
  • Fun to drive
  • Weak base engine
  • Below-average cargo capacity
  • High price tag

Rankings & Research

The 2021 MINI Cooper Countryman's #4 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact SUVs category. Currently the MINI Cooper Countryman has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.2
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 7.1
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. Its overall score is being calculated without reliability.
N/A

Thinking of leasing a MINI Cooper Countryman?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Mini Countryman a Good SUV?

Yes, the Mini Countryman is a good SUV. It offers some potent powertrains, gets decent gas mileage, and is more enjoyable to drive than most other small crossovers. Inside, you'll find luxury vehicle levels of quality and supportive seats. Unfortunately, its base engine feels weak, and cargo capacity is subpar for the class.

Why You Can Trust Us: 25 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This 2021 Countryman review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the automotive industry. Our car reviews are objective. To keep them that way, our editorial staff doesn’t accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and a third party handles all the advertising on our site.

Should I Buy the Mini Countryman?

The Countryman is more luxurious and fun to drive than most other subcompact SUVs, but that doesn't mean you should buy it. That's because the Countryman's price tag dwarfs most others in the class, making it a poor value despite its high level of quality. Still, if you can afford it, you're unlikely to regret buying this Mini.

Find a 2021 Mini Countryman for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Mini Countryman: What's the Difference?

The 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman receives some updated exterior styling, but in every other way, it's basically the same as the 2020 Countryman. The only other notable change is the debut of the Oxford Edition trim.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Countryman »

Here are the key changes for the Mini Countryman over the last few years:

  • 2017: fully redesigned with updating styling, more standard features, a roomier cargo area, and a more powerful standard engine
  • 2018: plug-in-hybrid powertrain added
  • 2019: updated trim structure and some feature shuffling between models
  • 2020: manual transmission discontinued; added several standard driver assistance features; John Cooper Works trim gained 73 horsepower; plug-in hybrid gained additional 6 miles of electric range
  • 2021: refreshed exterior styling; Oxford Edition trim joins lineup

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Countryman, 2019 Countryman, and 2020 Countryman reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Mini Countryman Cost?

The entry-level Mini Cooper Countryman has a starting MSRP of $29,100. That's significantly higher than most rivals' starting prices, and it’s comparable to some competitors' top-trim price tags. The John Cooper Works Countryman All4 is the range-topping model, and it starts at $48,500 for the Iconic trim, which is the highest. Few rivals offer anything even approaching that price range.

The Mini Cooper S E is a plug-in hybrid that starts at $41,500. The Countryman S E only comes in two trim levels, with the higher model starting at $44,900.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mini dealer.

Mini Countryman Versus the Competition

Mini Countryman vs. BMW X1

The BMW X1 is a corporate cousin that shares a platform with the Countryman. The X1 is a luxury subcompact SUV, but the Mini’s high retail price keeps the two competitive, and the base Mini's price is only about $6,800 lower than that of the BMW. Both vehicles have similarly upscale interiors and comparable tech features, but the X1 has sportier handling and a larger cargo hold.

Compare the Countryman and X1 »

Mini Countryman vs. Mini Clubman

The Mini Clubman is basically the subcompact car version of the Countryman, which is a subcompact SUV. These vehicles have the same engine lineup. Both also have nimble handling, along with similar cargo dimensions, interior styling, and features lists. Ride height and price are basically the only thing that separate these two Minis.

Compare the Countryman and Clubman »

Compare the Countryman, X1, and Clubman »

Countryman Interior: Upscale and Comfortable

Countryman Cargo Space

There are slight variances in cargo capacity depending on which Countryman model you get, but the one thing that doesn't change is that the hold is smaller than many rivals'. The standard Countryman has 17.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and a total of 47.6 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

The plug-in hybrid offers 17.4 and 47.4 cubic feet, respectively. The John Cooper Works model offers the least space, with 16.5 cubes behind the rear seats and 42.2 cubes with them folded down.

How Many People Does the Countryman Seat?

The Mini Cooper Countryman seats five. The seats are comfortable and provide plenty of support. They also have a good amount of headroom, and unlike some Minis, there's a generous amount of rear legroom. The rear seats can also slide and recline.

Countryman and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The tether anchors are easy to access, but the lower anchors may be difficult to maneuver around.

Countryman Interior Quality

The Countryman features a well-built interior, and the cabin materials wouldn't look out of place in a low-end luxury vehicle. It also has the elegant, quirky styling touches that are classic Mini.

Countryman Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

There’s a bit of a learning curve when mastering the Countryman’s infotainment system, but the available touch screen has an intuitive menu layout. There are physical controls for some functions, and they are well-placed.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 6.5-inch display, Bluetooth, and two USB ports
  • Available infotainment features: an 8.8-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, wireless device charging, and Apple CarPlay
  • Additional standard features: a panoramic roof
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Countryman Performance: Skip the Base Engine

Countryman Engine

The Countryman gives you an array of engine options. It comes standard with a 134-horsepower turbocharged three-cylinder. The S E plug-in hybrid has the same engine and adds an electric motor, raising the output to 221 horsepower.

The Countryman S and the John Cooper Works (JCW) trims both have turbocharged four-cylinder engines. They produce 189 horsepower in the S and 301 horsepower in the JCW.

Models with the three-cylinder engine will get you from A to B, but that's about it. They have sluggish acceleration and feel underpowered on the highway. The two turbo-four options are peppier. Acceleration is lively with either one, but the JCW is much quicker. The plug-in hybrid delivers impressive acceleration as well.

Countryman Gas Mileage

The Countryman gets 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway with its base three-cylinder engine, which is about average for the subcompact SUV class. The Cooper S Countryman and JCW Countryman models get slightly worse ratings with their turbocharged four-cylinder engines.

The plug-in-hybrid Countryman S E gets 73 MPG-equivalent running on electric power, and it gets 29 mpg in combined city/highway driving under gasoline power. It can go about 17 miles solely on electric power, and it takes about 2.5 hours to recharge the battery using a 240-volt outlet.

For more information, read What Is MPGe?

Countryman Ride and Handling

The Countryman has playful, sporty handling, making it more fun to drive than many of its classmates. It strikes a good balance between agility and comfort, though the ride can feel firm at times. Additionally, the brakes can be a bit grabby.

Read more about performance »

Countryman Reliability

Is the Mini Countryman Reliable?

The 2021 Mini Countryman does not yet have a predicted reliability rating.

Mini Countryman Warranty

Mini covers the Countryman with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. With most other vehicles in the class, you get a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Countryman Safety

Countryman Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 Countryman.

Countryman Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front parking sensors
  • Parallel park assist
  • Head-up display

Read more about safety »

Countryman Dimensions and Weight

The Countryman SUV is 13.5 to 14.2 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,422 to 3,790 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Mini Countryman Built?

Mini builds the 2021 Countryman in the Netherlands.

Which Mini Countryman Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman comes in three main versions: Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works. There are also two additional Countryman versions, the Oxford Edition and the plug-in-hybrid Countryman S E. Each model comes with a different powertrain setup, and from there, you can choose between the three trim levels: Classic, Signature, and Iconic.

Given that the base model has a somewhat weak powertrain, the Cooper S Countryman is the model most buyers should target. The JCW is the most fun to drive of the bunch, but it also costs a fair bit more than the Cooper S. Once you've picked a model, look to the Signature trim. It comes with more infotainment and comfort features than the Classic trim, and it has more available amenities as well.

The Classic trim comes with a 6.5-inch display, Bluetooth, synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a panoramic roof, alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera.

The Signature trim adds heated front seats, proximity keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate, an 8.8-inch touch screen, navigation, and Apple CarPlay. This trim gives you access to several packages that you can't get with the base trim.

The Iconic trim gains many of the Countryman's available options, including wireless device charging and premium genuine leather upholstery.

Mini Cooper Countryman

The entry-level Cooper Countryman has a starting MSRP of $29,100. It comes standard with a 134-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine (Mini calls it TwinPower). The Signature trim starts at $32,100, and the Iconic trim starts at $36,900. You can add all-wheel drive (All4 in Mini terminology) for $2,000.

Mini Cooper S Countryman

The Mini Cooper S Countryman starts at $31,900 for the Classic trim. It has a 189-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Pricing for Signature models begins at $35,500, and the Iconic trim costs $39,900. You can add all-wheel drive for $2,000.

Mini John Cooper Works Countryman All4

The John Cooper Works Countryman All4 starts at $41,500 for the Classic, $45,400 for the Signature, and $48,500 for the Iconic. If the name didn't give it away, this trim also comes standard with all-wheel drive. It also has the most potent engine in the lineup: a 301-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder.

Mini Cooper Countryman S E

The Mini Cooper S E is a plug-in hybrid that starts at $41,500. It has the same three-cylinder engine as the base Countryman but adds an electric motor to produce a combined 221 horsepower. All-wheel drive comes standard in this model. The Countryman S E only comes in Signature and Iconic trim levels, with the latter starting at $44,900.

Mini Cooper Countryman Oxford Edition

The Mini Cooper Countryman Oxford Edition starts at $29,100. This is a special edition Countryman that only comes in one trim level and is designed to be affordable while remaining an attractive buying proposition. It has the same three-cylinder engine as the base Countryman, as well as a similar features list. You can add all-wheel drive for $2,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mini dealer.

See 2021 Mini Countryman specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman is almost exactly what you'd expect from Mini: a premium interior with whimsical styling and a go-kartlike feel when tearing down winding roads. It's also comfortable and gets decent gas mileage. There's not as much cargo space as in some competitors, and the price tag is much higher than the rest of the subcompact SUV class, but if those aren't deal breakers, then the Countryman is definitely worth a look.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman is basically a supersized version of the little cars that made the British brand famous for being fun to drive. While this maximum Mini isn't as quick or nimble as its tinier siblings, it still maintains the company's quirky character. It also provides the largest amount of cargo-and-passenger space found in any Mini, which makes it especially useful for small families. With a trio of ascending powertrains that include a plug-in hybrid, the Countryman has wide range of performance." -- Car and Driver
  • "Thing is, I’m still not sure where the Countryman fits. It’s slower and heavier than a Hardtop S, which is logical enough given they use the same powertrain. It's not quite the hot hatch jack-of-all-trades all-rounder, like a GTI. And even if you like the Countryman more, the price simply puts it in a different category. If you want it even more SUV like, the Countryman All4 exists, which adds all-wheel drive, but base price also goes up $2,500 to $35,250. And a $35K budget gives you a lot of AWD options. Ultimately, this is a tweener car, an interesting mix of all the vehicle types mentioned above, but not class leading in any one category." -- Autoweek (2020)
  • "Although the Countryman -- the biggest Mini yet -- is designed to compete with compact premium SUVs, it still embodies Mini's trademark character. That uniqueness extends beyond the car's physical shape to the brand's cheerful, irreverent demeanor as well as the fun-to-drive nature of the car." -- Consumer Reports (2020)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 15, 2021

Low Sales: The refreshed Mini Countryman struggled in the competitive subcompact SUV class in 2020, placing third to last in sales, only in front of the Fiat 500X and Mazda CX-3. Countryman sales plunged by 35.3 percent in 2020 relative to 2019. The best-selling Subaru Crosstrek outperformed the Countryman by an enormous 12 to 1 margin last year. 

Research more buying advice »
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