The changes are small but significant
The Mini Cooper Countryman has been the brand's biggest and most practical offering for years now, and this makes it one of the most popular offerings from the British manufacturer. Just days after we spied photos of the camouflaged model lapping the Nurburgring, the manufacturer has unveiled the fresh-faced 2021 model. The marque has come up with a host of changes that make the second-generation Countryman even more attractive as a stylish, chic family vehicle. The front and rear fascias have been updated, and a new grille features on the former, while the latter boasts the trademark Union Jack LED taillights. Wheels have also been updated, and new interior and exterior color finishes have been added too. Four derivatives make up the 2021 Countryman family, with the Cooper and Cooper S forming the base of the range, while the Countryman John Cooper Works takes the mantle as the range-topper. After a brief hiatus for the 2020 model year, the Countryman Plug-In Hybrid returns.
Despite being a mid-cycle refresh, the Countryman's revised bodywork sees the model grow in length and is now the first Mini to exceed 13 feet. Standard exterior features include LED headlights and foglights on all models, while optional black exterior accents can be equipped via the options list. The exterior color palette has also been revised with the addition of two news hues in the form of White Silver Metallic and Sage Green Metallic.
Inside, a new digital cockpit display is standard, while a five-inch color screen is available as an option. The optional Mini Connected system has received some new tweaks, too, with the addition of Amazon Alexa integration, real-time traffic information for navigation, and the ability to send navigation routes from your mobile device to the Countryman. Upholstery is available in Chesterfield Indigo Blue and Chesterfield Matt Brown upholstery finishes are available, and a redesigned central instrument panel features in Piano Black High Gloss on all variants. The same Piano Black accents as the exterior can be applied inside the cabin too.
Four powertrain options are available for the facelifted Countryman range, with a 1.5-liter turbo three-cylinder featured in the Cooper developing 134 horsepower, while a 2.0-liter turbo-four is equipped to the Cooper S and JCW producing 189 hp and 301 hp respectively. Additionally, the exhaust manifold on both three- and four-cylinder engines is now integrated into the cylinder head along with the turbocharger, thus reducing exhaust gas temperatures. Stronger fuel injectors have also been added. ALL4 all-wheel-drive is available as an option on the Cooper and Cooper S, but finds itself as standard on the JCW, enabling a 0-60 mph sprint of 4.9 seconds. Front-wheel-drive models get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while ALL4-equipped models upgrade to an eight-speed automatic.
The Cooper SE Countryman sees the return of a plug-in hybrid powertrain developing 224 hp and capable of a 0-60 mph spring of 6.5 seconds. This model utilizes a six-speed automatic gearbox and an electric all-wheel-drive system that uses an electric motor on the rear axle while a three-cylinder gasoline engine powers the front end.
Pricing has not yet been made available for the new Countryman, but it is expected to reach US showrooms later in the summer. Pricing on the 2020 starts at $28,900 for the Cooper up to $48,400 for the JCW in its topmost sub-trim. We expect pricing to increase across the board. The updates to the engines should make them more economical too, although at the time of writing, EPA estimates were not yet available. The return of the plug-in hybrid Countryman is also welcome, but we'll be hoping for improved range over the previous derivative.