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On the surface, Subaru and Mini are polar opposites. One automaker prioritizes practicality while the other focuses on fashionability. However, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek and the 2021 Mini Countryman may attract similar clientele due to each model’s individuality.

Too few models these days genuinely stand out, especially if you want to drive in style. Thankfully, manufacturers like Subaru and Mini aren’t known for falling in line. 

The Crosstrek and Countryman stray from the conservative modern design found in most subcompact SUVs. Instead, these vehicles feature bold designs that are unique to the class.

Those who dare to be different should still choose to be wise. That’s why we’re breaking down which quirky subcompact SUV delivers better value.

What we love about the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek

A mustard yellow 2021 Subaru Crosstrek with a bike attached to its roof rack driving down a dirt roat
The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek showing off its capability | Photo via Subaru

Few subcompacts have any off-road acumen. If you plan to go on any outdoor adventures that require traversing rocky roads or mud-covered pathways, you should lean toward the Crosstrek. 

It has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, so the SUV’s undercarriage is less likely to accrue damage. And like most Subarus, the 2021 Crosstrek comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system. However, you’ll want to upgrade from the standard manual transmission to the optional CVT $1,350), as it adds intelligent driving modes.

Meanwhile, 2021 Mini Countryman buyers have to spend extra to get AWD. This factor makes the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek a much better option for Nothern drivers, as AWD adds extra traction in snowy driving conditions.

Additionally, the Crosstrek has a more powerful standard engine than the Countryman. Its 152-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine gets an EPA-estimated 30 MPG city/highway combined when paired with the optional CVT. That’s one more MPG than a front-wheel-drive Countryman earns and three extra MPG than one equipped with AWD.

Subaru also makes an expensive yet highly fuel-efficient Crosstrek Hybrid model for eco-conscious drivers.

Performance isn’t the only factor that makes the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek a more adventure-ready SUV. It also provides nearly eight extra cubic feet of max storage space than the Countryman.

What we love about the 2021 Mini Countryman

A white 2021 Mini Countryman driving uphill with a mountain in the background
The 2021 Mini Countryman in action | Photo via Mini

Mini’s largest model is a popular commuter SUV due to its eye-catching design and refined cabin.

The Countryman is more flamboyant than the Crosstrek, as its iconic design is paired with upscale materials. This British-bred (yet German-owned) subcompact SUV now features Union Jack taillights, which are sure to turn heads.

The U.S. News & World Report likens the Countryman’s interior quality to that of a “low-end luxury car.” That puts it head and shoulders above the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek’s interior. The Japanese-built model utilizes plastics throughout the cabin, and you’ll need to upgrade to top-tier trims to get a power driver’s seat or leather upholstery.

The 2021 Mini Countryman’s base 134-hp 1.5-liter twin-turbo three-cylinder engine isn’t all too thrilling. However, you can opt for more exciting powertrains. 

Mini equipped the Countryman Cooper with a spirited 189-hp 2.0-liter twin-turbo four-cylinder engine. This powerplant makes an extra seven hp more than the Crosstrek’s available 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. 

But that’s not the best part. The Countryman’s spirited engine also kicks out 207 lb-ft of torque – 31 more than that of the Crosstrek’s most potent engine.

Which unique subcompact SUV is right for you?

When it comes down to brass tacks, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is the better vehicle for the money. Its starting MSRP of $22,245 vastly undercuts that of its pricey rival. Meanwhile, you’ll enjoy more capable performance, especially off-road.

The 2021 Mini Countryman undoubtedly has a luxurious interior, but it comes at a high cost. Plus, its Cooper S trim has a starting MSRP of $31,900, which is a hefty price for a vehicle in the subcompact SUV class.

Notably, the 2021 Mini Countryman comes standard with more driver-assistance technologies. However, this factor shouldn’t play a part in your decision. Subaru adds its suite of smart safety systems on all CVT-equipped Crosstrek models. So, you won’t have to spend much money to get these features.


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