The new 2021 MINI Countryman has finally landed on Mzansi soil. If you’ve been living under a rock, the Countryman is the biggest of the automaker’s cars, and unsurprisingly its most practical. So we discovered when MINI invited us over for a weekend long road trip to experience the vehicle and greater parts of the Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces.
While it’s arguably as far from the original concept of the British MINI as you can imagine, the Countryman variant has actually been a hit for BMW. According to MINI, the outgoing version was responsible for almost 30-percent of MINI sales worldwide.
For the 2021 model year, MINI isn’t straying too far from what works. After all, first impression count. Outside, there’s a new radiator grille, flanked with LED headlamps and fog lights as standard. LED rear lights with a Union Jack design are now standard too. There are fresh wheel designs available, and a new set of body finishes including a Piano Black Exterior package.
That switches the chrome that MINI would ordinarily use for the headlamp surrounds, rear lights, grille, and side indicator trim for high-gloss black. The door handles and badging on the boot are also changed. MINI will offer matching black mirror caps and side scuttles with a grey-black flag as an extra option, if you wish.
Ride along and you get 17-inch wheels are standard, with up to 19-inch versions available. MINI is also adding White Silver metallic and Sage Green metallic paint options as well. For MY2021, you can have your roof and mirror caps in black, white, or silver rather than body-coloured, too.
Under the bonnet, there are a variety of powertrains available, including a 3-cylinder (Cooper) and 4-cylinder (Cooper S). Both front-wheel and all-wheel drive are available too. The latter, MINI JCW Countryman ALL4, has all-wheel drive as standard.
The MINI Cooper Countryman has 100kW and do 0-100 km/h in 9.7 seconds while the MINI Cooper S Countryman gets 141kW and does 0-100 in 7.5 seconds.
During the road trip we found that inside there’s more practicality and tech, like you’ve never imaged. As the largest of the MINI models, the Countryman unsurprisingly offers the most practical interior. The rear seat has a 40:20:40 split as standard: folding it down expands boot space.
Piano black interior trim is standard on the entry-level cars, with British Oak dark accent strips. A new MINI Yours Interior Style Shaded Silver is optional, as are new Chesterfield Indigo Blue and Chesterfield Malt Brown leather interiors. All cars get a sports leather steering wheel; electric seat adjustment for both front seats are available.
Then there’s the new digital instrument panel which comes in at 5-inches in size, and there are optional Connected Media and Connected Navigation Plus infotainment systems for the 8.8-inch central touchscreen. MINI has better integrated the centre console controls, and there are now touch-sensitive bookmark buttons.
PRICES: MINI Cooper Countryman R599,624.00, MINI Cooper S Countryman R631,004.00
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