Mini’s Oxford trims are alleged to current good value for model spanking new automotive clients with out breaking the monetary establishment. New for 2021, the Mini Countryman Oxford Model wraps these efforts in a compact SUV shell, giving patrons further space with out a vital footprint. Trouble is, everytime you strip away the fripperies that Mini shoehorns into its costlier variants and start evaluating it to the opponents, what stays wouldn’t exactly actually really feel like an incredible value.
The 2021 Mini Countryman is a weird little issue. In a world of ever-sharpening creases and aggressive styling, the Mini’s Hardtop-but-stung-by-a-bee curvature offers a friendlier aesthetic varied. The headlights are anime-character big and the Union Jack design inside the taillights is satisfying. The Oxford Model rides on 18-inch wheels (the underside model will get 17s), making the whole shebang look reasonably much less entry-level than it’s.
Inside, the Countryman’s aesthetics as soon as extra separate it from the pack, nonetheless on the same time, it feels barely meh for a automotive carrying a $30,000 price tag. Not one of many softer plastics actually really feel considerably premium, nonetheless they do an incredible job at deciding on up and holding onto additional mud than harder provides sometimes would. The massive swath of trim all through the middle layer of the dashboard seems cool on costlier variants, nonetheless the Oxford’s shiny gray piece seems type of boring and low price. It’s larger than piano black, though, because of this one a minimal of hides fingerprints larger. Then there’s the aviation-style switchgear, which is ready to perpetually keep primarily probably the most rewarding toggles to flip inside the auto commerce.
No matter its small kind subject, the Countryman is decently sensible. The tray ahead of the cup holders is good for stashing a phone or a masks, whereas an uncovered tray beneath the armrest is sizable ample for a small purse. Visibility is secure, too, attributable to tall glass and styling that doesn’t sacrifice loads for a sexy roofline. The Countryman’s kind moreover means there’s ample inside space for adults all through every rows.
The 2021 Mini Countryman simply isn’t with out its drawbacks, though. The cargo house has a low load floor, which is good, nonetheless its basic functionality of 17.6 cubic toes behind the second row lags behind virtually every potential competitor, from premium selections identical to the Volvo XC40 (20.7 cu. ft.) to mass-market subcompacts identical to the Kia Soul (24.2) and Hyundai Kona (19.2). The one USB-A port up entrance smashes your cable in opposition to regardless of’s inside the cup holders. The within door handles are the opposite of ergonomic, a perform I’ve disliked from the beginning. Perhaps most galling, though, is the second-row center armrest, which doesn’t exist with out a $850 Consolation Bundle that’s not even accessible on the underside trim.
BMW’s dedication to squeeze every milliliter of blood from the stones that are its prospects’ wallets extends to the Mini Countryman’s in-car tech. As a youthful, strapping new-car purchaser, possibly you’ve got heard of these little points known as and . Perhaps you’ve got noticed that they’re now regular instruments in a staggering number of new automobiles all through the socioeconomic spectrum. Whereas the Oxford Model does provide an 8.8-inch touchscreen present that’s greater than the standard 6.5-inch getup, you’ll have the ability to’t get it with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or navigation. It’ll nonetheless play music out of your app of choice by means of USB or Bluetooth, nonetheless do you have to’re driving someplace unfamiliar, you might be caught attempting to stare at a tiny Google Maps show down inside the cup holder. Considering you get CarPlay regular in a Chevrolet Spark, Mini’s decision to lock value-seeking patrons out of a sometimes vital technological inclusion is, frankly, foolish and pointless; optimistic, it’s accessible on totally different trims, which makes the omission proper right here actually really feel solely pointless. The massive, LED-bedecked spherical bezel throughout the show makes it exhausting to press the tiny icons alongside the touchscreen’s edges, nonetheless sometimes, this iteration of BMW’s iDrive software program program is okay.
As a result of the Oxford Model is meant as a no-haggle, what-you-see-is-what-you-get sort of trim, safety applications are restricted to primarily probably the most notable ones. This Countryman comes regular with forward-collision warning, computerized emergency braking and rear parking sensors. To ensure that you entry to adaptive cruise administration, a head-up present or self-parking assist, you will have to maneuver to a costlier trim and throw a $1,250 bundle into the combo. In case you’re looking out for lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist or blind-spot monitoring, you will have to take a look at a definite automotive solely.
That leaves us with the driving experience. Guess what? That’s underwhelming, too. The Countryman Oxford’s sole engine offering is the underside 1.5-liter inline-Three that produces 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It’ll generate ample oomph to dart by metropolis guests with ease, nonetheless it feels ineffective beneath the belt in wider-open suburban and exurban settings. At all times sounding as whether it is performing beneath duress, this three-banger doesn’t identical to the freeway, and even one factor as simple as accelerating from 70 to 80 mph requires planning. The state of affairs is dire even on paper, with my all-wheel-drive tester set to achieve 60 mph in a leisurely 9.6 seconds.
The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission is at its best when it could not wish to range gears; pushing off from a stoplight feels clunky, deceleration incurs low-speed driveline vibrations and the stop-start system is so annoyingly obvious that I’m eager to pay the extra gasoline money to keep up it off fully. It’s not very atmosphere pleasant, each, offering merely 23 miles per gallon metropolis and 32 mpg freeway as a result of it tries to shove spherical 3,300-plus kilos with 4 pushed wheels. Oh, and it requires premium gasoline.
Presumably the journey is OK? Nah, fam. In its private website online copy, Mini refers again to the Oxford Model’s mounted suspension as “super-tight,” which is right to the benefit of no particular person. The Countryman is perennially stiff, transferring all technique of bumps and humps on to the occupants’ skeletons, and in metropolis areas the place the inline-Three thrives, which implies the journey will practically always be uncomfortable. Sure, its coping with is flat as a pancake, which might make for some thrilling situations on curvy roads, nonetheless not when an engine this weak has to maneuver this loads mass with a transmission that’s loath to behave with any diploma of haste.
I’ll forgive a variety of this if the 2021 Countryman Oxford actually provided a secure value, nonetheless BMW’s have an effect on bleeds into the price, too. Along with $850 in trip spot prices, my all-wheel-drive tester rings in at $29,350, which I actually really feel is about $4,000 too extreme given what you can not get. Positive, there could also be some value inherent in among the many regular instruments, which includes computerized native climate administration, heated entrance seats and the larger touchscreen, nonetheless everytime you line this wannabe-premium offering up in opposition to mass-market subcompact rivals identical to the Hyundai Kona or Mazda CX-30, it’s exhausting to advocate the Mini when its rivals provide loads additional. Barely costlier base-trim variants of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and Volvo XC40 actually really feel far more completely baked, too, even when the window sticker asks a bit additional out of your paycheck.
That’s the problem with the 2021 Mini Countryman. Even in its Oxford Model trim, attempting to face out from the group will not be ample to outweigh an undermotivated powertrain and weird perform packaging with some very notable omissions. In case you merely ought to worm your means into the BMW lifestyle sooner than possessing the financial means to put a Roundel in your storage, the Countryman will serve its mission, nonetheless everytime you take a variety of various parts (and automobiles) into consideration, its luster fades quickly.