Comparing SUVs is a tricky business. The problem is, more than any other segment, SUVs cover a large swatch of vehicles. People use them for all different kinds of applications. A Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes G Wagon, and Chevy Suburban are all SUVs, and the typical customer for each of these makes are looking for completely different things. Even though both are very cool and strange, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek whooped the 2021 Mini Countryman on Consumer Reports.
The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek and the 2021 Mini Countryman are both so cool
The Subaru Crosstrek and the Mini Countryman are strange and deeply cool SUVs with very few comparisons. They are small, have tiny motors, and look a little strange. Consumer Reports rated both pretty well, but as cool as the Mini is, it got an overall rating of 72/100 while the Subaru racked up a killer 89/100.
Consumer Reports loved the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek
The Crosstrek is one of the finest examples of a crossover there is. It isn’t a big blundering thing that pretends to mix SUV and car. The Crosstrek is just a slightly bigger car that has a tall suspension and AWD. It is the perfect crossover. Its sporty size, AWD transmission, and starting price of $22,245 make it the perfect adventure mobile for many people’s needs.
Subaru fitted the Sport model a larger 2.5-liter flat-four for a little added power to help with highway speeds and quicker passing. This motor upgrade is still far from fast. While Subaru took away the Manual transmission for 2.5-liter Sport, it has allowed fans to keep it in the less-powerful 2.0-liter. This thing is slow, but speed isn’t what makes for a good SUV.
Consumer Reports also loved the interior. The Sport got some fancy accent stitching that brings the Crosstrek to another level. While neither the Mini Countryman nor the Crosstrek is super roomy, both manage to keep things big enough inside to be comfy, but the overall size down to something still nimble and fun to drive.
Consumer Reports loved the 2021 Mini Countryman
Well, of course, they did. I don’t know that many people will argue that any Mini is an objectively great car, but they are one of the most endearing cars on the market today. The Mini Countryman is the largest vehicle ever made by Mini, but it is still a Mini. CR hits it hard for minimal trunk/cargo space. The rear cargo is small, but considering how tiny the whole package is, you can fit more inside than it might seem possible from outside.
The Mini Countryman still offers so much of that spritely nimble racing feel that bit the brand while increasing the size enough to move it into the SUV/Crossover category. The 2021 Mini Countryman comes with a few engine options, but CR recommends the second from the top, 189-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that comes with the Countryman S.
Unlike the Crosstrek, the Countryman doesn’t come standard with AWD. that comes at a bit of a premium with Mini, but it is available and highly suggested. The only real issue with Countryman that CR has other than the trunk space is the dodgy reliability history of Minis. The brand has come a long way, but the earlier ones struggled with expensive and bizarre problems. As a result, the 2021 Mini Countryman scored a 3 / 5 on predicted reliability. The Mini starts at $29,000 and tops off at $41,500.
Lifestyle brands can be tricky
Like Subaru, Mini is a lifestyle brand. These things come with an added premium that can often muddy up the waters. The truth is, these are both fun and exciting vehicles for people who count themselves enthusiasts but still need to drive something practical and responsible. Even though the Countryman is great and a bucket of fun, Consumer Reports has clearly given the strong advantage to the Crosstrek for being more reliable, more affordable, and all-around more practical.