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Many fans of the Mini Cooper have turned their noses up at the 2021 Mini Countryman. These critics seem to dislike the size of the Countryman over anything else. However, the size makes this sneaky SUV one of the best options on the market these days. The 2021 Mini Cooper is the fuel-efficient SUV that many of us need as gas prices reach new heights. 

The 2021 Mini Countryman is the ultimate fuel-efficient SUV. This one has a rooftop tent.
MINI Countryman with roof tent | Roland Krivec/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Is the 2021 Mini Countryman a SUV? 

The Mini Cooper Countryman is fundamentally different than the regular Mini Cooper. These big Minis might feel big compared to a regular Cooper, but don’t let the Countryman haters fool you; this thing is still quite tiny. These are complicated little cars. On the one hand, it is objectively a small vehicle. On the other hand, I’m trying to argue why it’s the fuel-efficient SUV you need. It’s not easy but follow me here. 

A small, fuel-efficient SUV is still an SUV

Look, I understand the 2021 Mini Countryman won’t be the right SUV for many people; It’s pretty small. However, as with pickup trucks, many people are convinced that they need a much bigger SUV than they actually do. Hell, look at the Jeep Wrangler. It’s only in the last 10 years that Jeeps grew a second set of doors and become big SUVs. For nearly seven decades, the CJ/Wrangler was a tiny SUV, and people loved them. So, we agree that small SUVs are ok. 

Even though the Mini Countryman is small, it is still a proper four-door SUV. That may seem like small potatoes, but it makes everything so much more functional. And while you can’t fit the whole house in the back, the trunk area holds much more than it looks from the outside. You can even folks the rear seats down and give yourself a surprising amount of space to haul small pieces of furniture, camping gear, and other SUV things. 

The Mini Countryman is a fuel-efficient SUV that makes the gas station way less scary


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Although the folks at Car and Driver are Countryman haters, even they can’t deny the brilliance of the 189-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that comes in the 2021 Mini Countryman S. This model can even be done up in an optional AWD, known by Mini as the “ALL4” model. So, now we have an AWD, four-door SUV with 189 hp. This whole package can get 26 mpg combined (23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway), all while still running a 6.7-second 0-60mph. 

That level of performance, utility, and efficiency is the SUV we need right now. Speaking of performance, I own a 2015 Mini Countryman S, and I can say that I’ve never had more fun on the tarmac in an SUV ever. These mini SUVs can rip a corner in such a way that feels so un SUV-y that it’s understandable that some people struggle to see these little go-karts as fuel-efficient SUVs. 

Admittedly, the regular Coopers are a bit more thrilling and sharper than the Countryman, but the space and utility lost don’t make up for the added performance. 

Small SUVs for the win

As EVs become more and more prevalent, oil companies see the writing on the wall, meaning gas prices will likely continue to climb. If the show is almost over, the oil industry will want to maximize its profits. The SUVs of old getting 12-15, hell even 20 mpg, will become nearly impossible for most people to afford to drive regularly. The small trucks and fuel-efficient SUVs are going to be the only real way forward, at least until it’s all EVs. 

The 2021 Mini Countryman S is an excellent fuel-efficient SUV that is both fun and relatively practical. It’s time we gave the Mini line its propers.