Automorbit, cars – The last of the Mini lineup to receive some mid-cycle attention, the Countryman rolls into 2021 with redesigned front fascia, body-color bumpers, a new grille, and some lighting attention in the form of newly-standard LED headlights and Union Jack graphics for the tail lights. There’s also some new wheel designs debuting this year, as well as a new, 5-inch, steering column-mounted digital gauge cluster. Outside, a Piano Black trim option will swap the chrome for gloss-black instead, which should look striking against the new White Silver and Sage Green paint options.
While the Countryman is the biggest Mini you can get, it’s still powered by the same engine options as the smaller Mini Cooper. That means the base model makes do with a turbo three-cylinder engine that’s really not suited for the job. In the Cooper, it provides adequate power as long as you don’t have a full roster of passengers, but things aren’t as smooth as you’d like. It’s a shame because, while the cheapest Countryman comes with some impressive features like a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, and simulated leather upholstery, the engine just isn’t up to the task of motivating this little subcompact crossover.
For that reason alone, the Mini Countryman Cooper S is the way to go. Here you’ll get a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s good for 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. That’s an upgrade of 55 hp and 45 lb-ft, and just what the Countryman needs. Still not impressed? There’s a John Cooper Works model that’ll get you an even more powerful version of the turbo-four with 301 hp and 331 lb-ft, not to mention standard all-wheel drive (AWD), an 8-speed automatic transmission as opposed to the 7-speed found in the Cooper and Cooper S, a sport suspension and seats, selectable driving modes, and unique styling.
Don’t care to fill the air with more carbon? Well, there’s not an all-electric version just yet, but there is a plug-in hybrid with a unique setup. Here, a three-cylinder engine drives the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission, while an electric motor paired to a 9.6 kWh battery handles the rears. Combined output is a claimed 221 hp and 284 lb-ft, with an all-electric range of 18 miles.
The Classic trim does come with some interesting features, but upgrading to the Signature will get you keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate controls, heated front seats, and a power hatch. Besides, you have to go with the Signature trim before you gain access to the really fun paint and interior options, as well as connectivity for Apple CarPlay. Android Auto is still glaringly absent, though the Countryman does now play well with Amazon Alexa Voice Assistant. The top-tier Iconic trim is where you’ll find power front seats, genuine leather upholstery, and upgraded stereo options.
With all the style of its smaller brother and much more room, the Countryman stands as a unique entry in the subcompact crossover category. With this mid-cycle refresh, Mini hopes to reignite the passions that made it such a success when it relaunched nearly 20 years ago.