2021 Mini Cooper S Countryman appeals only to the brand’s faithful

    The Countryman seems to be recent and pleasant.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    With its bug-eyed headlamps, cheeky smile and Union Jack-inspired taillights, the 2021 Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 is cuter than a basket of puppies. Behind that cute façade is a remarkably upscale inside, one which’s additionally far roomier than you may anticipate from an organization whose title is synonymous with small. The Countryman makes a very good first impression, however dig just a little deeper and you may quickly study it’s miles from image excellent.   

    LikePremium interiorRoomy backseatSpunky styling

    Don’t LikeWhat?! I am unable to hear you over the tire noiseAcute lack of driver aidsDisinterested dynamicsNo Android Auto

    The Countryman competes with mainstream small crossovers just like the Hyundai Kona and Subaru Crosstrek, however a broad mannequin vary permits this Mini to have a foot within the premium camp as properly. Its extra upscale rivals embrace the petite Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Lexus UX.Ritzy digsIn top-shelf Iconic trim, the Countryman’s inside is one in all its most interesting options. There are loads of low-sheen delicate plastics and high-quality controls, and how will you not love Mini’s retro-inspired toggle switches? My tester’s dashboard is partially coated in a nutty-brown leather-based that appears nice and feels even higher. These cow hides spill over to the seats, the place the fabric is embellished with a diamond-stitch sample and contrast-color piping.

    The entrance bucket chairs are chiropractor-approved, and I particularly just like the extendable decrease bolsters, which offer extra help for taller of us. Helping preserve glare at bay, the driving force will get a secondary, headliner-mounted visor to stop the solar from shining in from the aspect. Despite being a Mini, there’s miles of house on this car’s backseat, too. Lanky passengers are handled to ample room in all three dimensions.As a schlepper, the Countryman is decently commodious, providing 17.6 cubic ft of house behind the second-row seat and 47.6 cubes with the backrests folded down. There’s additionally a beneficiant underfloor storage cubby, an ideal place to stash smaller gadgets out of the best way. These figures are proper according to an Audi Q3, however just a little shy of what the Volvo XC40 gives. Annoyingly, nevertheless, you may’t fold the rear seat down from the cargo space. Instead, it’s important to pull three separate lanyards within the second row to totally drop the 40/20/40-split backrest.

    The Countryman’s inside is stretch-out spacious and options loads of upscale supplies. 
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    Beyond that, there are different ergonomic oddities. The inside door handles, as an example, appear backward. The place the place you seize these semicircular chrome levers is on the entrance, so it’s important to twist your wrist round to entry it. I discovered this type of annoying, however Mini house owners apparently don’t, as the corporate says it hasn’t had complaints about this, so perhaps I’m simply an outlier.

    The Countryman has a digital instrument cluster, but it surely would not supply any driver-selectable data screens, which is uncommon. What you see is principally what you get. At least for 2022 you’ll change the colour scheme.Technically talkingIn-vehicle tech is a notable sore spot with the Countryman. My tester’s very extensive however quick 8.8-inch multimedia show with embedded navigation feels cramped. Thoughtfully, you may management issues in two methods, both by way of the touchscreen or a command knob on the middle console. Closely associated to BMW iDrive, this Mini infotainment system is performant, booting up immediately and easily responding once you pinch-and-zoom on the map, although it is not essentially the most intuitive multimedia array you will discover. Managing radio presets is just not enjoyable and there is no discrete tuning knob for rapidly buzzing by way of stations. With so many menus to scroll or swipe by way of, and a reasonably steep studying curve, it is undoubtedly not one in all my most well-liked infotainment techniques, although there are a lot worse choices on the market.  Simplifying issues, you may at all times mirror your smartphone, proper? Maybe. Wireless Apple CarPlay is obtainable with the Touchscreen Navigation and Touchscreen Navigation Plus packages, although it isn’t included with the usual infotainment system as a result of, in line with Mini spokespeople, that base {hardware} is not as much as snuff. The Cooper S Countryman All4 I’m testing right here ought to have CarPlay, although I spent not less than 15 minutes making an attempt to make it work and couldn’t, disconnecting and reconnecting my telephone, plugging into completely different USB ports and digging by way of the proprietor’s guide for solutions, however no cube. If you are a Google fanatic, I’ve extra unhealthy information: Android Auto is just not supported in any respect. Mini reps say they’re engaged on implementing this expertise, although there is no timeframe when it is perhaps out there.The infotainment system is tremendous responsive however is not essentially the most intuitive.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    The Countryman comes with forward-collision warning, however different superior driver aids are nowhere to be discovered. Lane-centering expertise is not on the menu and blind-spot monitoring is just not out there on any Mini mannequin in any respect. At least adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go functionality is obtainable on the Countryman, bundled within the Driver Assistance Package together with a head-up show and automated parking. Unfortunately, although, my tester is just not fitted with this $1,250 choices group. Things are bettering barely for 2022, as lane-departure warning is now normal throughout the Mini product portfolio and gadgets discovered within the Countryman’s driver-assistance package deal come normal with the Iconic trim (and can be found on lower-end variants, too). But nonetheless, this model is behind the tech curve.Greasy bitsUnderneath its curvaceous hood, this Countryman is fitted with the uplevel 2.0-liter turbo I4. It delivers 189 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, appreciably extra oomph than the usual three-cylinder engine offers, although the plug-in hybrid Countryman is stronger than that and the zippy John Cooper Works mannequin stronger nonetheless. In this instance, twist is routed to both the entrance or all 4 wheels by way of an eight-speed automated transmission. Even although it is fitted with a torque converter, it typically appears like a dual-clutch gearbox at low speeds as shifts are generally just a little clunky. Once underway, issues do easy out.Expect 23 mpg metropolis and 31 mpg freeway from the Cooper S Countryman All4. Combined, it is rated at 26 mpg, although I’ve been averaging 25 and alter in combined use, which is just about proper on course.Performance is sweet, if not excellent. This crossover’s engine is easy and quiet.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    A dynamic dudMinis are identified for his or her spunky efficiency and go-kart-like dealing with. This is true of the unique that debuted in 1959 and particularly the trendy model that launched within the early 2000s. But with annually and each era, these automobiles get greater and bulkier, drifting additional away from what made Minis so sensational. This is especially true of the Countryman, which, up to now, is the model’s largest and most-versatile mannequin. Despite its frisky styling and sporting pretenses this crossover is a little bit of a dud, no higher to drive than one thing as mainstream as a Honda CR-V.Conspiring to make the Countryman really feel fully bizarre, its transmission is indecisive and generally unrefined, the brake pedal is delicate underneath your foot, and until you place it in Sport mode, the steering has a noticeable useless spot on heart. This Iconic trim’s adaptive dampers assist preserve the physique properly managed, stiffening by 10% once you change to Sport mode, however the experience is at all times a skosh firmer than vital. No, the Countryman is not so stiff that it crashes over bumps or bounds over undulations, but it surely most likely would not should be as starchy as it’s, particularly since this firmness would not appear to offer any actual dealing with profit.This car’s alloy wheels could also be fashionable, however the 225/45R19 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires they’re wrapped in transmit a lot of noise to the cabin, particularly on weather-beaten pavement. At least the engine is soft-spoken and easy, capable of transfer the Cooper S Countryman All4 from 0 to 60 mph in round 7.1 seconds. This efficiency is totally respectable, even when the car by no means feels notably fast. Switch over to the fuel-saving Green driving mode, nevertheless, and the powertrain turns into almost unresponsive, requiring you to virtually push the accelerator midway to the ground earlier than any change in car pace manifests.If you are a Mini fanatic, the Countryman is correct up your alley.
    Craig Cole/Roadshow
    For the Mini trustworthyThe Countryman begins at about $30,000 together with $850 in supply charges. If you want all-wheel drive, it’s going to price you a further two grand. Naturally, the top instance examined right here is pricier than that, testing for $43,600, a hefty sum contemplating the driving force aids and different options it lacks.The Mini Cooper S Countryman All4 is without doubt one of the extra disappointing autos I’ve examined in current reminiscence. Its iconic styling and upscale (and surprisingly roomy) inside are actually laudable, however the car’s uninspiring dynamics, lack of options and impressive pricing are its undoing. Unless you depend your self among the many Mini trustworthy, there are higher choices than the Countryman.

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