You may by no means confuse this automobile for anything, besides one other Mini, possibly.
Mini’s Oxford trims are supposed to present nice worth for brand spanking new automobile consumers with out breaking the financial institution. New for 2021, the Mini Countryman Oxford Version wraps these efforts in a compact SUV shell, giving patrons further house with out a vital footprint. Bother is, whenever you strip away the fripperies that Mini shoehorns into its dearer fashions and begin evaluating it to the competitors, what stays does not precisely really feel like an amazing worth.
LikeUnique aestheticsDecently roomy
Do not LikeIncorrigible nickel and dimingAsthmatic inline-3Uncomfortable experience
The 2021 Mini Countryman is a unusual little factor. In a world of ever-sharpening creases and aggressive styling, the Mini’s Hardtop-but-stung-by-a-bee curvature gives a friendlier aesthetic different. The headlights are anime-character large and the Union Jack design within the taillights is enjoyable. The Oxford Version rides on 18-inch wheels (the bottom mannequin will get 17s), making the entire shebang look rather less entry-level than it’s.
Inside, the Countryman’s aesthetics once more separate it from the pack, however on the identical time, it feels slightly meh for a automobile carrying a $30,000 price ticket. Not one of the softer plastics really feel notably premium, however they do an amazing job at selecting up and holding onto extra mud than tougher supplies typically would. The huge swath of trim throughout the center layer of the dashboard seems to be cool on dearer variants, however the Oxford’s shiny grey piece seems to be sort of uninteresting and low-cost. It is higher than piano black, although, as a result of this one no less than hides fingerprints higher. Then there’s the aviation-style switchgear, which can without end stay essentially the most rewarding toggles to flip within the auto business.
2021 Mini Countryman Oxford Version has a recent, pleasant face
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Regardless of its small kind issue, the Countryman is decently purposeful. The tray forward of the cup holders is sweet for stashing a telephone or a masks, whereas an uncovered tray below the armrest is sizable sufficient for a small purse. Visibility is strong, too, due to tall glass and styling that does not sacrifice a lot for a gorgeous roofline. The Countryman’s form additionally means there’s ample inside house for adults throughout each rows.
The 2021 Mini Countryman will not be with out its drawbacks, although. The cargo space has a low load ground, which is sweet, however its total capability of 17.6 cubic ft behind the second row lags behind practically each possible competitor, from premium choices just like the Volvo XC40 (20.7 cu. ft.) to mass-market subcompacts just like the Kia Soul (24.2) and Hyundai Kona (19.2). The only USB-A port up entrance smashes your cable in opposition to no matter’s within the cup holders. The inside door handles are the alternative of ergonomic, a characteristic I’ve disliked from the start. Maybe most galling, although, is the second-row heart armrest, which does not exist with out a $850 Comfort Bundle that is not even out there on the bottom trim.
Mother or father firm BMW’s dedication to squeeze each milliliter of blood from the stones which might be its prospects’ wallets extends to the Mini model, as seen on this Countryman’s in-car tech. As a younger, strapping new-car purchaser, maybe you have heard of those little issues referred to as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Maybe you have observed that they are now commonplace tools in a staggering variety of new automobiles throughout the socioeconomic spectrum. Whereas the Oxford Version does supply an 8.8-inch touchscreen show that is bigger than the usual 6.5-inch getup, you possibly can’t get it with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or navigation. It will nonetheless play music out of your app of alternative through USB or Bluetooth, however when you’re driving someplace unfamiliar, you are caught making an attempt to stare at a tiny Google Maps display down within the cup holder. Contemplating you get CarPlay commonplace in a Chevrolet Spark, Mini’s choice to lock value-seeking patrons out of a typically important technological inclusion is, frankly, silly and pointless; positive, it is out there on different trims, which makes the omission right here really feel completely pointless. The huge, LED-bedecked round bezel across the display makes it arduous to press the tiny icons alongside the touchscreen’s edges, however typically, this Mini-skinned iteration of BMW’s iDrive software program is okay.
For the reason that Oxford Version is supposed as a no-haggle, what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of trim, security methods are restricted to essentially the most notable ones. This Countryman comes commonplace with forward-collision warning, computerized emergency braking and rear parking sensors. If you need entry to adaptive cruise management, a head-up show or self-parking help, you will have to maneuver to a dearer trim and throw a $1,250 bundle into the combo. Should you’re in search of lane-departure warning, lane-keeping help or blind-spot monitoring, you will have to take a look at a distinct automobile completely.
The Mini’s inside hasn’t modified an excessive amount of over time.
That leaves us with the driving expertise. Guess what? That is underwhelming, too. The Countryman Oxford’s sole engine providing is the bottom 1.5-liter inline-Three that produces 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It will generate sufficient oomph to dart by way of city visitors with ease, however it feels lifeless beneath the belt in wider-open suburban and exurban settings. Continuously sounding as if it is performing below duress, this three-banger doesn’t just like the freeway, and even one thing so simple as accelerating from 70 to 80 mph requires planning. The scenario is dire even on paper, with my all-wheel-drive tester set to achieve 60 mph in a leisurely 9.6 seconds.
The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is at its finest when it does not want to alter gears; pushing off from a stoplight feels clunky, deceleration incurs low-speed driveline vibrations and the stop-start system is so annoyingly apparent that I am keen to pay the additional fuel cash to maintain it off completely. It isn’t very environment friendly, both, providing simply 23 miles per gallon metropolis and 32 mpg freeway because it tries to shove round 3,300-plus kilos with 4 pushed wheels. Oh, and it requires premium gas.
Perhaps the experience is OK? Nah, fam. In its personal web site copy, Mini refers back to the Oxford Version’s mounted suspension as “super-tight,” which is correct to the good thing about no person. The Countryman is perennially stiff, transferring all method of bumps and humps on to the occupants’ skeletons, and in city areas the place the inline-Three thrives, meaning the experience will virtually at all times be uncomfortable. Certain, its dealing with is flat as a pancake, which may make for some thrilling instances on curvy roads, however not when an engine this weak has to maneuver this a lot mass with a transmission that’s loath to behave with any diploma of haste.
Mini’s little three-cylinder engine could also be high quality in purely city environments, however as soon as the roads open up, it is arduous for this little man to keep up tempo.
I may forgive a number of this if the 2021 Countryman Oxford truly offered a strong worth, however the model’s premium underpinnings bleed into the worth, too. Together with $850 in vacation spot expenses, my all-wheel-drive tester rings in at $29,350, which I really feel is about $4,000 too excessive given what you possibly can’t get. Sure, there’s some worth inherent in a few of the commonplace tools, which incorporates computerized local weather management, heated entrance seats and the bigger touchscreen, however whenever you line this wannabe-premium providing up in opposition to mass-market subcompact opponents just like the Hyundai Kona or Mazda CX-30, it is arduous to advocate the Mini when its rivals supply a lot extra. Barely dearer base-trim variants of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and Volvo XC40 really feel way more totally baked, too, even when the window sticker asks a bit extra out of your paycheck.
That is the difficulty with the 2021 Mini Countryman. Even in its more-affordable Oxford Version trim, making an attempt to face out from the group is not sufficient to outweigh an unmotivated powertrain and unusual characteristic packaging that features some very notable omissions. Whenever you take the competitors into consideration, this Mini’s premium luster fades shortly.
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