‘Playful’ Mini Cooper Countryman Pulls Onto This List of Sporty SUVs

Mini Cooper has a good reputation for making cute and fun small cars to drive, but Mini Cooper makes more than just sedans. For example, the 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman is actually one of the best options in its segment. Here’s a look at just how good of an SUV the 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman really is.

How the 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman stacks up

While there are many factors to look at when shopping for a car, arguably the most important is price. At the end of the day, if a car is too expensive, then it’s probably not an option. But of course, with how many great cars there are on the market nowadays, there are plenty of good options for folks on a budget. It’s no surprise then that U.S. News said that the 2021 Mini Cooper Countryman was actually the 13th best SUV that costs under $30,000.

Like U.S. News wrote, the Countryman is like a larger version of the Mini Cooper that everyone knows and loves. Despite the growth spurt, however, U.S. News said that the Countryman still had “a playful character,” especially in terms of how it drives.

While the Countryman finished 13th, it is up against some stiff and worthy competition. U.S. News gave first place to the Mazda CX-5, and second place went to the Honda CR-V. Regardless, the Countryman managed to beat out a lot of other SUVs that were either too expensive or too bad to make the list.

A fun way to drive

Gray MINI Cooper S E Countryman Plug in Hybrid crossover SUV retro design car on display at Brussels Expo
The Mini Cooper S E Countryman Plug-in Hybrid | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

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Since Mini is owned by BMW, it’s no surprise that the Countryman has a refined performance and handling. For instance, U.S. News wrote that the Countryman had “dynamic handling and sharp steering” and that it has an “enjoyable” yet firm ride. That being said, the Countryman’s main problem also has to do with how it drives.

The Countryman has a starting price tag of about $29,000, which means that for folks on a $30,000 budget, it’s not possible to equip their Mini with a more powerful engine. As such, those folks are stuck with the Countryman’s standard engine, which U.S. News called “uninspiring.” 

The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, and it gets 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. This standard engine has a relatively average fuel economy of 26 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on highways, but other than that, it was a disappointment for U.S. News. It’s simply not powerful enough to make the Countryman as fun to drive as it could be, and that ultimately dragged the car down as far as rankings go.

A very Mini Cooper interior

With that being said, U.S. News did enjoy the interior design of the Countryman. Not only does it have an attractive and appealing layout, but Mini also used a lot of high-quality materials in the Countryman’s interior, and that gave it a “luxurious feel,” according to U.S. News. On top of that, despite being a Mini, the Countryman was spacious enough to comfortably seat adults in both the front and rear seats. Plus, synthetic leather upholstery is standard.

Mini also gave the Countryman plenty of standard features, such as a 6.5-inch touchscreen display and a panoramic roof. The Countryman also has a few standard smart safety features, and they include forward collision warning as well as automatic emergency braking, just to name a few. 

However, the Countryman doesn’t have a flawless interior. U.S. News said that it actually has a below-average amount of cargo capacity. With its rear seats folded down, it gets about 47.6 cu. ft. of cargo room, which is slightly below average for the segment.