Updated: Aug 21, 2021
The MINI Countryman 2021 is the largest in the line-up of the MINI series. Despite being a sports activity vehicle, it still maintains the uniquely classic MINI impression.
What caught my eye when I first saw the car was the redesigned front grille and red “S” insignia on the unique Sage Green hue, coupled with the distinct Union Jack-styled taillight that stands out among the boring city traffic. It also has very impressive-looking front turn signal indicators that double up as the daylight running LEDs.
The MINI Countryman comes with 19-inch rims and a 7-speed Steptronic transmission with double clutch, so it can pretty much handle any voyage comfortably and still works its way smoothly through all roads. The engine also boasts a top speed of 223km/h.
When combined with the Sport drive mode selection, its throttle response is slightly punchier and the exhaust note gets a little more exciting. In the Green eco-mode, fuel economy is prioritised and the ride is just as comfortable and pleasant.
I feel that the steering feedback is responsive and it allows decisive manoeuvrability. Its suspension is tight with little body roll even in tight corners and the brakes are sensitive with quite an aggressive bite when depressed hard, which is something you will get used to and not mind having after a while.
In comparison to the classic MINI Cooper, the Countryman has an impressive boot space and can be extended even further when the rear seats are folded. There is extra storage in the under-boot area where the spare tyre is supposed to be. The interior seats 5 adults comfortably with enough legroom for long journeys. I must say, I’m pretty sold by the Countryman because it’s a MINI Cooper with plenty of space!
Now, focusing on the technological aspect of the MINI Countryman, it comes with a standard MINI navigation system that hosts smart services via an 8.8-inch touch screen display. The digital dashboard certainly adds a modern flair against the toggle switches around the interior. I had fun customising the colours on the rim of the dashboard, and if I can’t decide on one colour, I just let it use the rotating colours mode. It certainly adds some fun to my drive. It also comes with an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system.
For ease of driving, I paired the car to the MINI App on my phone, by connecting the vehicle with the MINI ID that can be found on the car. To complete the connection, I opened the menu on the MINI Controller, went to MINI Connected, selected Apps, opened MINI Messages and entered the confirmation code for pairing. This gave me access to the status of the car, and can even let me know the location of the car if I forget where I left it.
The MINI Countryman also comes with Parking Assistant, which has proven to be very helpful when I require help with parallel parking.
Having driven the MINI Electric before, the tech aspects of the MINI Countryman didn’t wow me as much as it would someone who hasn’t driven a MINI before, but it does has the decent, basic technological support one needs to enjoy a seamless driving experience. The overall drive and ride experience is fun, firm and enjoyable – because bigger is always better.