The Countryman appears 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 lovable façade is a remarkably upscale inside, one which’s additionally far roomier than you would possibly anticipate from an organization whose title is synonymous with small. The Countryman makes an excellent first impression, however dig a bit deeper and you will quickly study it’s miles from image good.   

Like

Premium interiorRoomy backseatSpunky styling

Do not Like

What?! 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 nicely. Its extra upscale rivals embrace the petite Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Lexus UX.

Ritzy digs

In top-shelf Iconic trim, the Countryman’s inside is one among its most interesting options. There are many 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 lined 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 further assist for taller of us. Serving to hold glare at bay, the driving force will get a secondary, headliner-mounted visor to stop the solar from shining in from the facet. Regardless of being a Mini, there’s miles of area 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 area behind the second-row seat and 47.6 cubes with the backrests folded down. There’s additionally a beneficiant underfloor storage cubby, an incredible place to stash smaller objects out of the way in which. These figures are proper in step with an Audi Q3, however a bit shy of what the Volvo XC40 affords. Annoyingly, nevertheless, you may’t fold the rear seat down from the cargo space. As an alternative, it’s a must 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

Past that, there are different ergonomic oddities. The inside door handles, for example, appear backward. The place the place you seize these semicircular chrome levers is on the entrance, so it’s a must 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 possibly I am simply an outlier.

The Countryman has a digital instrument cluster, but it surely does not supply any driver-selectable data screens, which is uncommon. What you see is principally what you get. At the least for 2022 you can change the colour scheme.

Technically talking

In-vehicle tech is a notable sore spot with the Countryman. My tester’s very broad 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. Carefully 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 may discover. Managing radio presets isn’t enjoyable and there is no discrete tuning knob for shortly buzzing by stations. With so many menus to scroll or swipe by, and a somewhat steep studying curve, it is undoubtedly not one among my most popular infotainment methods, although there are a lot worse choices on the market.  

Simplifying issues, you may all the time mirror your smartphone, proper? Perhaps. Wi-fi 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 response to Mini spokespeople, that base {hardware} is not as much as snuff. The Cooper S Countryman All4 I am testing right here ought to have CarPlay, although I spent a minimum of quarter-hour attempting to make it work and couldn’t, disconnecting and reconnecting my telephone, plugging into completely different USB ports and digging by the proprietor’s guide for solutions, however no cube. In the event you’re a Google fanatic, I’ve extra unhealthy information: Android Auto isn’t supported in any respect. Mini reps say they’re engaged on implementing this expertise, although there is no timeframe when it is likely to be 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 isn’t out there on any Mini mannequin in any respect. At the least adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go functionality is obtainable on the Countryman, bundled within the Driver Help Package deal together with a head-up show and computerized parking. Sadly, although, my tester isn’t fitted with this $1,250 choices group. Issues are bettering barely for 2022, as lane-departure warning is now normal throughout the Mini product portfolio and objects discovered within the Countryman’s driver-assistance package deal come normal with the Iconic trim (and can be found on lower-end variants, too). However nonetheless, this model is behind the tech curve.

Greasy bits

Beneath 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 gives, although the plug-in hybrid Countryman is stronger than that and the zippy John Cooper Works mannequin stronger nonetheless. On this instance, twist is routed to both the entrance or all 4 wheels by an eight-speed computerized transmission. Though it is fitted with a torque converter, it usually appears like a dual-clutch gearbox at low speeds as shifts are generally a bit clunky. As soon as underway, issues do easy out.

Anticipate 23 mpg metropolis and 31 mpg freeway from the Cooper S Countryman All4. Mixed, it is rated at 26 mpg, although I have been averaging 25 and alter in blended use, which is just about proper on course.

Efficiency is sweet, if not excellent. This crossover’s engine is easy and quiet.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

A dynamic dud

Minis are identified for his or her spunky efficiency and go-kart-like dealing with. That is true of the unique that debuted in 1959 and particularly the trendy model that launched within the early 2000s. However with every year and each technology, these automobiles get greater and bulkier, drifting additional away from what made Minis so sensational. That is significantly true of the Countryman, which, so far, is the model’s largest and most-versatile mannequin. Regardless of 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 utterly odd, its transmission is indecisive and generally unrefined, the brake pedal is delicate below your foot, and except you place it in Sport mode, the steering has a noticeable useless spot on middle. This Iconic trim’s adaptive dampers assist hold the physique nicely managed, stiffening by 10% once you change to Sport mode, however the trip is all the time 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 does not should be as starchy as it’s, particularly since this firmness does not appear to supply any actual dealing with profit.

This car’s alloy wheels could also be trendy, however the 225/45R19 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires they’re wrapped in transmit numerous noise to the cabin, particularly on weather-beaten pavement. At the 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 fully respectable, even when the car by no means feels significantly fast. Change over to the fuel-saving Inexperienced 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.

In the event you’re a Mini fanatic, the Countryman is correct up your alley.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

For the Mini trustworthy

The Countryman begins at about $30,000 together with $850 in supply charges. In the event you want all-wheel drive, it can value you a further two grand. Naturally, the top instance examined right here is pricier than that, trying out 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 automobiles 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. Except you rely your self among the many Mini trustworthy, there are higher choices than the Countryman.

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