2021 Mini Countryman: Major Mini, Minor Updates

Competes with: Audi Q3, BMW X1, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade

Looks like: The old Countryman almost exactly

Powertrains: Standard 134-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, optional 189- or 301-hp, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder or 224-hp plug-in hybrid electric system; six-, seven- or eight-speed automatic transmission; front- or all-wheel drive

Hits dealers: Summer 2020

British premium small-car maker Mini has announced some updates to its Countryman lineup for 2021, bringing some slightly new styling, updated interior bits and a couple of new features to the biggest vehicle in the Mini showroom. Since it was introduced, the Countryman has been a true success for the brand, now comprising nearly 30% of the brand’s volume globally, and 40% of its U.S. sales. The brand has made some minor cosmetic and content updates to the small crossover for 2021 model year, but it’s left the powertrains alone.

Related: 2020 Mini Cooper SE EV: Low Range, Low Price

Exterior

If you can spot the changes Mini has made to the Countryman’s front-end styling for 2021, it means you’re a die-hard Mini fan — they’re subtle enough to be practically unnoticeable. The small SUV has a new grille, standard LED headlights and foglights, and new LED rear lights with the Union Jack design on the lenses. There’s a new Piano Black Exterior trim option and some new alloy wheel styles, but not much else.

The design was already quite successful for Mini, so it really didn’t need much in the way of changes. Wheel sizes vary from 17-inch standard alloys up to 19-inch optional rims, with even more options available through the Original Mini Accessories program.

Interior

Changes are a bit more obvious on the inside thanks to an optional new digital display behind the steering wheel, a 5-inch screen that replaces the traditional gauges. An optional 8.8-inch display still resides in the circular center stack, upgradeable to include navigation in various trim levels of the Countryman.

Two new leather colors are available, Chesterfield Indigo Blue and Chesterfield Malt Brown, while some of the interior trim on the dash has been changed to be an integral part of the leather trim. The Cooper S and Cooper SE models both get standard piano-black interior trim surfaces with British Oak accents, while further customization options are offered with the Mini Yours Interior Style Shaded Silver Package.

The onboard electronics have been upgraded for 2021, as well, with new (and oddly nonspecific, other than the option of including Amazon Alexa) features for the Mini Connected system.

Engine and Transmission

Powertrains haven’t changed at all. The base engine in the Cooper trim remains the turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine making 134 horsepower, while the Cooper S gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 189 hp. Bumping up to the John Cooper Works version gets you a 301-hp version of the 2.0-liter engine. All front-wheel-drive models get a standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive models get an eight-speed conventional automatic regardless of trim level. As before, the SE trim is a plug-in hybrid model featuring 224 system hp, consisting of a three-cylinder engine that powers the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission and an electric motor that works on the back wheels.

The new 2021 Mini Countryman should arrive in the U.S. in the summer.

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