Mini’s Oxford trims are supposed to present nice worth for brand spanking new automobile buyers with out breaking the financial institution. New for 2021, the Mini Countryman Oxford Version wraps these efforts in a compact SUV shell, giving consumers further area and not using a important footprint. Hassle is, while you strip away the fripperies that Mini shoehorns into its dearer variants and begin evaluating it to the competitors, what stays would not precisely really feel like an important worth.
- Distinctive aesthetics
- Decently roomy
Do not Like
- Incorrigible nickel and diming
- Asthmatic inline-3
- Uncomfortable 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 affords a friendlier aesthetic various. The headlights are anime-character massive 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 similar 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 important job at selecting up and holding onto extra mud than tougher supplies typically would. The large swath of trim throughout the center layer of the dashboard seems cool on dearer variants, however the Oxford’s shiny grey piece seems sort of uninteresting and low cost. It is higher than piano black, although, as a result of this one at the least hides fingerprints higher. Then there’s the aviation-style switchgear, which can eternally stay essentially the most rewarding toggles to flip within the auto trade.
Regardless of its small kind issue, the Countryman is decently practical. The tray forward of the cup holders is nice 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 area 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 general capability of 17.6 cubic toes 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 one 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 function I’ve disliked from the start. Maybe most galling, although, is the second-row middle armrest, which does not exist and not using a $850 Comfort Bundle that is not even obtainable on the bottom trim.
BMW’s willpower to squeeze each milliliter of blood from the stones which are its clients’ wallets extends to the Mini Countryman’s in-car tech. As a younger, strapping new-car purchaser, maybe you have heard of those little issues known asand . Maybe you have seen that they are now commonplace tools in a staggering variety of new automobiles throughout the socioeconomic spectrum. Whereas the Oxford Version does provide 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’s going to 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 screen down within the cup holder. Contemplating you get CarPlay commonplace in a Chevrolet Spark, Mini’s choice to lock value-seeking consumers out of a typically important technological inclusion is, frankly, silly and pointless; certain, it is obtainable on different trims, which makes the omission right here really feel solely pointless. The large, LED-bedecked round bezel across the display screen makes it laborious to press the tiny icons alongside the touchscreen’s edges, however typically, this 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 techniques are restricted to essentially the most notable ones. This Countryman comes commonplace with forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking and rear parking sensors. In order for you 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 package deal into the combo. If you happen to’re searching for lane-departure warning, lane-keeping help or blind-spot monitoring, you will have to take a look at a distinct automobile solely.
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’s going to generate sufficient oomph to dart via city site visitors with ease, nevertheless it feels useless under the belt in wider-open suburban and exurban settings. Consistently 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 state of affairs is dire even on paper, with my all-wheel-drive tester set to succeed in 60 mph in a leisurely 9.6 seconds.
The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is at its finest when it would not want to vary 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.
Possibly the experience is OK? Nah, fam. In its personal web site copy, Mini refers back to the Oxford Version’s fastened suspension as “super-tight,” which is correct to the advantage of 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, which means the experience will virtually at all times be uncomfortable. Certain, its dealing with is flat as a pancake, which might 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.
I might forgive a variety of this if the 2021 Countryman Oxford really introduced a strong worth, however BMW’s affect bleeds into the value, 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 cannot get. Sure, there may be some worth inherent in a number of the commonplace tools, which incorporates automated local weather management, heated entrance seats and the bigger touchscreen, however while you line this wannabe-premium providing up in opposition to mass-market subcompact rivals just like the Hyundai Kona or Mazda CX-30, it is laborious to suggest the Mini when its rivals provide a lot extra. Barely dearer base-trim variants of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and Volvo XC40 really feel much 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 Oxford Version trim, making an attempt to face out from the group is not sufficient to outweigh an undermotivated powertrain and unusual function packaging with some very notable omissions. If you happen to merely should worm your manner into the BMW way of life earlier than possessing the monetary means to place a Roundel in your storage, the Countryman will serve its mission, however while you take a wide range of different components (and automobiles) into consideration, its luster fades rapidly.