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2021 Mini Countryman Oxford Edition has a fresh, friendly face

Quirky looks help set the Countryman apart from all those aggressively honed, sharp-edged new cars out there.

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andrewkrok.jpg

Andrew Krok

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2021 Mini Countryman
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Mini's Oxford trims are meant to provide great value for new car shoppers without breaking the bank. 

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New for 2021, the Mini Countryman Oxford Edition wraps those efforts in a compact SUV shell, giving buyers extra space without a significant footprint. 

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Trouble is, when you strip away the fripperies that Mini shoehorns into its more expensive variants and start comparing it to the competition, what remains doesn't exactly feel like a great value.

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Including $850 in destination charges, my all-wheel-drive tester rings in at $29,350.

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Yes, there is some value inherent in some of the standard equipment, which includes automatic climate control, heated front seats and the larger touchscreen.

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But when you line this wannabe-premium offering up against mass-market subcompact competitors like the Hyundai Kona or Mazda CX-30, it's hard to recommend the Mini when its rivals offer so much more.

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Slightly more expensive base-trim variants of the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and Volvo XC40 feel far more fully baked, too, even if the window sticker asks a bit more from your paycheck.

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Even in its Oxford Edition trim, trying to stand out from the crowd isn't enough to outweigh an undermotivated powertrain and strange feature packaging with some very notable omissions.

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If you simply must worm your way into the BMW lifestyle before possessing the financial means to put a Roundel in your garage, the Countryman will serve its mission, but when you take a variety of other factors (and cars) into account, its luster fades quickly.

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Keep scrolling or clicking to check out even more pictures of the 2021 Mini Countryman.

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