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The 2021 Mini Countryman is on its way, but don't expect big changes to the little ute

The Countryman's refresh isn't a major mechanical overhaul, but the aesthetic changes are welcome.

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The 2021 Countryman's changes are incremental, but the front-end refresh is a welcome adjustment.

Mini

Mini's least-mini Mini -- aka the Countryman -- isn't exactly one of our favorite cars here at Roadshow, but with a newly announced 2021 model refresh looming, will that change?

Well, it's not a huge update, so the answer is probably no, but for those buyers who are fans of the whole Mini aesthetic and mindset, it should add some extra functionality and fun to the model. What kinds of changes does Mini have on deck for the Countryman?

The most significant comes in the styling department. It's getting a new nose and will sport the Cooper's Union Jack taillights. Piano-black trim is available on the exterior, and it also gets some new wheels and standard LED headlights. 

It's not precisely revolutionary (this isn't the Mini Countryman Guy Fawkes edition, so what do you expect?), but if nothing else, the change to the shape of the Countryman's lower grille is worth talking about. The odd, rectangular egg-crate thing on the current model cheapens the car significantly and looks like an afterthought. The new one is integrated much more cleanly.

the-new-2021-mini-countryman-cooper-s-front-detail

The front looks crisper, cleaner and more premium than before.

Mini

Inside the cabin, the Countryman gets a new optional digital cockpit with a 5-inch display. It's got a superthin and subtle brushed-metal-look bezel and, in general, looks about a zillion times more premium than the black plastic gauge pod in the current generation. This is one of those optional things that you -- as a buyer -- would be a fool to skip. The center infotainment/gauge pod thing also gets a visual tweak for 2021, including standard piano-black trim. Apple CarPlay is available, but Android Auto is not. 

Mechanically, there aren't a ton of major changes. The Countryman will still be available in front-wheel drive, in All4 all-wheel drive and as a plug-in electric hybrid. The All4 variants get an eight-speed Steptronic transmission as standard, while the front-wheel drive versions have a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, though the S variant has sportier programming. The hybrid gets saddled with a six-speed automatic.

That all seems fine, right? Well, it's downhill from there when you look at the Countryman range's power figures. The base-model Countryman produces just 134 horsepower and will hit 60 in 9.3 seconds, or 9.6 seconds if you go with the All4. Those numbers border on dismal. Things get a little better in the S version, which offers a bump to 189 horsepower and a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds for FWD or 7.1 seconds for All4.

The Countryman All4 SE Hybrid gets out of its own way a little better thanks to the addition of electric torque. It will make the sprint to 60 in 6.5 seconds and has 224 horsepower. The cream of the Countryman crop -- from a performance standpoint, anyway -- is the John Cooper Works version. It's packing 301 hp and will hit 60 mph in just under 5 seconds.

Finally, this being a Mini, there will be a ton of vehicle accessories on hand. Mini representatives tells us that there won't be an official rear-mounted accessory bike rack available in the US, but the currently-available roof-mounted unit should work just fine.

Mini is keeping details on pricing and fuel economy to itself for now, with plans to unveil that info closer to the car's release date in late summer of 2020.