2021 Mini Countryman PHEV Review: Expected Prices, Release Date, MPG, And Performance

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John Bedrow 

Automotive Journalist

July 27, 2020  at 3:55 PM

The most frugal Mini, the Countryman PHEV is all set to roll into its 2021 model year. However, no major changes but the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV is expected to get some minor restyling, some new interior touches and some new exterior paint schemes as well. The powertrain, battery pack and therefore performance and efficiency remains the same though.

First launched in 2018, the Mini Countryman PHEV is the most frugal member of the Mini family. The recipe of its composition was fairly simple though. Pick up an efficient yet punch turbo 3-cylinder, pair it with an electric motor and hook in onto the Countryman. The result was surely a very good first attempt by Mini nonetheless. The Countryman PHEV promises some extended mpg along with its iconic design, great handling and comfort along with significant utility. While the Countryman PHEV still does things like a Mini, its hybrid disguise is let down by a short electric range. 

While there is an all-new Mini electric under development to compensate that, the BMW owned marquee is not letting go of the Countryman PHEV either. After three years of mixed run, the Countryman PHEV is all set to enter its 2021 model year. Since its launch though, the Countryman PHEV has mostly been carried over in its successive model years and things would be the same again for 2021. Let alone the battery-pack enhancement it received in 2020. However, the 2021 Mini Countryman is expected to get some minor styling tweaks as well as some interior refresh as well. Armed with several reports, rumors and leaks, we try to draw a final sketch here of the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV. 

What's new in the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV?

  • Updated styling (expected)
  • New optional packages (expected)
  • Upgraded standard rims (expected)
  • New exterior color options

Expected price and release date of the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV

No official word from Mini yet but we do expect the 2021 Countryman PHEV to hit the stores somewhere around late 2020. However, with touted revisions, no surprise if we get to see a marginal price bump. Expect the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV to start around $38,000.

What to expect in the engine department of the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV?

With wholesome reviews every year, Mini Cooper has been consistently inspired to innovate car’s technicalities. However, this time around, the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV will retain its familiar powertrain configuration. The upcoming 2021 MINI Countryman PHEV runs on the same elite 1.5-liter Inline-3 engine paired with 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine along with a synchronous electric motor is capable of delivering 134 hp @ 4,400 rpm along with a decent torque of 284 ft-lb @ 1,350 rpm.

The electric motor which is itself capable of churning out 87 hp does make its presence felt in the overall behavior of the car. The Countryman PHEV gets a healthy torque kick from the electric motor down the lower rpm and gets-off the line real quick. The shift from electric to gas mode is also very seamless and the 6-speed automatic transmission is effortless in its operation as always. 

Models

2021 MINI countryman PHEV (Expected)

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2020 KIA Niro PHEV

2020 Lexus UX hybrid

Base MSRP

$37,900

$35,145

$29,490

$34,500

Engine

1.5-liter turbo inline-3/Electric hybrid

2.0-liter flat-4/Electric hybrid

1.6-liter inline-4/Electric hybrid

2.0-liter inline-4/Electric hybrid

Transmission

6-speed shiftable automatic

CVT

6-speed automated manual

CVT w/OD

Horsepower

134 hp @ 4400 rpm

152 hp @ 6000 rpm

139 hp @ 5700 rpm

181hp @ 6600rpm

Torque

284 lb-ft @ 1350 rpm

145 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm

195 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm

151 lb-ft @ 4800rpm

0-60 MPH (sec)

6.7

8.0

7.8

8.1

Quarter-mile (sec)

N/A

N/A

N/A

16.2

*2020 figures used for reference.

Among its segment though, while the cars like UX 250h are equipped with more powerful gasoline engines, the Countryman packs a more powerful electric motor. Above that, you do get BMW’s edgier expertise for sure. With the best in class torque coming in from Otis electric motor, the Mini Countryman PHEV sprints from 0-60 mph in a class-leading 6.7 seconds. 

How many miles to the gallon does the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV’s offer?

The Mini Countryman received a larger battery pack for its 2020 model year which increased its hybrid range from 270 to 300 miles. However, f0or the upcoming model year, the mechanical componentry of the Mini PHEV is expected to remain unchanged. What that means is that you would still get 65 mpg in the first 12 miles (on electric mode) and after that, the hybrid setup would reward you with 29 mpg up to 300 miles. 

Model

2021 MINI countryman PHEV (Expected)

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2020 KIA Niro PHEV

2020 Lexus UX 250h

MPG (city)

N/A

N/A

48

41

MPG (highway)

N/A

N/A

44

38

MPG (combined)

29

35

46

39

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

9.5

13.2 

11.4 

12.4

Range (city/highway) (miles)

N/A

448/547

547/501

508/471

*2020 figures used for reference.

Among its class though, the Countryman PHEV’s efficiency is certainly not the best in hybrid mode. However, we do know that the hybrid pair is capable of delivering even better than 65 mpg in the electric mode which BMW could hopefully work upon in the future. However, the hybrid 29 mpg of the Countryman is the lowest in its segment as of now. The Kia Niro on the other hand does an impressive job by offering a class best 46 combined mpg. 

How is the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV expected to ride and handle?

Take it out on the streets and the Countryman PHEV surprises you with its skillfulness. Despite the added weight of its battery pack, it still drives and handles like a regular Countryman. To describe it plainly, it's firm, comfortable and very well-controlled. The nicely tuned suspension soaks up road undulations very well and there is also a good degree of isolation around the cabin. Despite its bulk, the Countryman PHEV remains very calm and resilient around corners. 

However, some minor body movements are visible around twisties, but that's only until the AWD system kicks in. The AWD system not only tames its side movements but also arms its with optimum grip and traction on snowy surfaces as well. The steering wheel has a right heft and thickness into it and it never feels disconnected off the road. Flicking the Mini Countryman PHEV around tight traffic is not a tedious task at all. It's agile and as responsive as any other Mini out there. 

What to expect from the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV’s interior?

Being owned and inspired by BMW’s designs, 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV is expected to stand out in its interior department much like its outgoing model with slight upgrades. The inside of this subcompact luxury reeks of elite nature and comfort. The high-quality cabin and smooth surfaces shine with a glossy defined look that makes it look very premium and upscale. The interior layout is trendy as ever as reminiscent of any other Mini out there. There are plenty of soft-touch surfaces inside the cabin and the build-quality feels top-notch as well.

The interior also offers a combination of colors to choose from- Malt Brown and Indigo Blue. The seats are comfortable and very nicely padded and bolstered and the leather surfacing on them feels soft to touch. The front seats are power-operated and heated along with plentiful adjustments. Above all, you also get the seat memory feature also on tap in the Countryman PHEV. The rear-bench though gets a slightly upright recline angle which might get tiresome over longer journeys. However, you can recline the rear seats according to your comfort for a pleasurable nap in the supple C

Model

2021 MINI countryman PHEV (Expected)

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2020 KIA Niro PHEV

2020 Lexus UX hybrid

Passenger Capacity

5

5

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

40.5/54.8/40.4

39.8/56.7/43.1

40.1/56.0/41.7

35.7/55.1/42.1

Second Row(Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in.)

38.3/53.9/37.6

37.4/55.6/36.7

39.1/55.2/37.4

36.4/52.9/33.1

Cargo Capacity (cu.ft.)

17.2

15.9

19.4

17.1

*2020 figures used for reference.

Not the best in its class again, but the Countryman PHEV does offer an ample amount of room around both its benches. In fact headroom at the front and legroom at the rear in the Mini PHEV is best in its segment. With adjustable seats up front and a reclining rear row, you can use the Mini’s generous compartment to relax across long country rides. However, the same is not true for its cargo capacity. Though the Mini Countryman offers a decent 17.2 cu.ft. of cargo area for its class, the Kia Niro topples it again with its best in class 19.4 cu.ft. of space behind the second-row. 

2021 Mini Countryman PHEV: Infotainment and Connectivity

The infotainment system that comes with the highly advanced interior of the 2021 Mini Countryman is classified as intuitive and easy to fiddle with. The Countryman PHEV comes with an 8.8-inch touchscreen navigation system along with exclusive features available for the Iconic model like- Piano Black Surface around the infotainment screen, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, MINI Head-Up Display, Universal Garage-Door Opener, Radio and wireless charging.

 Apple CarPlay is available but Android Auto still sits out of the feature list. Furthermore, the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV also gets an optional 5.0-inch Digital Drivers display. Though the system is based on an older version of BMW’s iDrive technology, it is still very clean, responsive and intuitive to use. 

Will there be any changes in 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV’s exterior?

The exterior of Mini Cooper’s series has always been a selling point to the company. The carefully crafted appearance leads to immediate purchases and people’s personal wishlist. The British brand has managed to keep its designer base vintage but has also loaded the car with excruciating detail on the exterior which makes it stand out.

However, while we might get to see the familiar design, form and shape of the regular Mini, the entire Mini Countryman line-up is expected to undergo some minor styling tweak. Expected a redesigned front and rear bumper along with possibly updated headlamps and fog lamps as well. Change or not, the Countryman has always been a looker on the streets. Courtesy of its iconic and youthful looks. 

Model

2021 MINI countryman PHEV (Expected)

2020 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

2020 KIA Niro PHEV

2020 Lexus UX hybrid

Curb Weight (lbs.)

N/A

3,717

3,100

N/A

Length (in.)

177

175.8

171.5

177.0

Width (in.)

72.4

71.0

71.1

72.4

Height (in.)

60.6

62.8

60.8

60.6

Ground Clearance (in.)

N/A

8.7

6.3

N/A

Wheelbase (in.)

103.9

104.9

106.3

103.9 in.

Track Width (in.) F/R

N/A

N/A

61.6 / 62.2

N/A

*2020 figures used for reference.

Even with the tweaks rumored for 2021, the mighty Mini would beautifully retain its core character. Its lower roofline, box-like body but with subtle angles and signature ovalish-headlamps do make the Mini Countryman stand out in its league. At the same time, its larger rims, wide-body and chrome decoration make it look premium and elegant. While its rivals like the Niro and UX offer better room and enhanced dimensions, they lack the Mini’s perfect amalgamation of utility, space-optimization and a silhouette that is very balanced in every aspect. 

Is the 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV worth your time and money?

The 2021 Mini Countryman PHEV is definitely worth the investment for those who can easily afford this luxury. The subcompact car is well-equipped with everything a potential customer can imagine. It's comfortable, still stylish, drives very well and can still make heads turn around it. However, the only place where it disappoints a bit is its meager efficiency in the hybrid mode. If that is your deal-breaker, the Kia Niro would make more sense to you. However, the Korean wouldn't offer you the same class, presence and driveability of the Mini.

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