Home » The All-New Mini Countryman Electric Isn’t Really Mini And I’m Not Sure About The Looks But The Interior Is Great

The All-New Mini Countryman Electric Isn’t Really Mini And I’m Not Sure About The Looks But The Interior Is Great

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Mini is going to debut their new electric car (or crossover or whatever these are known as now) for North America at the Climate Week NYC event to be held in Lansing, Michigan. I’m kidding! Of course Climate Week NYC is in New York City, and that’s where this new, not-so-Mini Mini is being revealed to America. This new Mini is the largest Mini ever, and Mini is pushing it hard as it’s a key component of their plan to be an all-electric brand by 2030. They need a popular, mainstream EV crossover, and that’s what Mini is hoping the new Countryman becomes. I’m not sold on the looks exactly, but it’s not boring, and the interior is pretty striking. You know, from this three-quarter angle, with those particular reflections, I like the look?

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What I did manage to get some footage of is the most important thing to note: Mini seems to have fixed its horrific rear turn indicator nightmare that was on the previous Countryman, where the Union Jack-style taillight design caused the turn signal arrows to look like they were pointing in the opposite direction. Look at the video here:

I did get to very briefly sit in one that was being shown at the Goodwood Revival in the UK, and while it was a bit too crowded to get usable pictures, I did get a good sense of what the interior feels like, and I think that’s where this car will make its biggest impression. The interior is minimalistic but quite comfortable, roomy and with a lot of novel materials used. Here’s a GIF of what the old taillights used to look like, btw:

 

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Back to the interior, though; the dashboard is especially striking, as it uses a very novel round OLED display, on a fabric-covered dashboard surface that has colorful patterns projected onto it, patterns that vary by drive mode and perhaps do more. I’m not entirely certain if they’re just decorative or may have some status-indicating function as of yet, but I’m very curious.

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Looking closely at the Dash and door cards, you can see there’s a lot of use of what I believe are some kind of sustainable, coarse-weave fabrics as opposed to the traditional plastics and rubbers and faux or genuine leathers. It’s certainly not the first time we’ve seen this done on cars (think about early Fiat Panda interiors, for example) but I’m always pleased to see new approaches to the concept.

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The overall visual experience is quite minimalistic, at least according to Mini, who describes various aspects of the car’s design as “expressive minimalism with character” and I guess I can agree to that. Oh, also, in that image above, you can see what I believe are the projector units behind that big round screen that project the dot pattern onto the dashboard surface. Those vents are interesting, too, also quite minimal, but hopefully they direct air around well enough.

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I only got to sit in the back seat for a moment when I was at Goodwood, and while my Shtetl Hobbit dimensions aren’t really the best benchmark here, I had plenty of leg and headroom. It’s a boxy car, so the interior is going to be fairly roomy no matter what, and it seems to be.

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Exterior-wise, I’m pretty conflicted. From some angles I think it looks clean and tidy, a nice modernist update to some of the essential Mini elements, but then I see the front and I’m not so sure. The headlights have been recast from the original round/ovoid designs over the years and are now sort of heptagonal shapes, with a DRL ring on the outside and some projectors inside. I think this was done to gradually give the car a more aggressive face, and they did, but does a Mini really need that?

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The fake grille I’m also a bit torn on. The crucial identifying elements of the Mini face do include that distinctive grille area, and what Mini is doing here is, I suppose, a sort of playful pattern-and-color-based take on the visual idea of a grille, but I’m not so sure it works. Should the big bumper area in the lower part, still surrounded by the basic grille shape, be body colored, or fit in with the grille? Like, would this be better?

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Maybe? Hm. I mean, it doesn’t look like everything else out there, and I’m delighted to see such an unashamed green, so there’s that.

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In profile, it’s clean, and the somewhat tall and stubby proportions still retain some feeling of Mini, despite its larger size. One detail I’m really unsure about though; it’s hidden by being black on this car, but there are other variations of it, as you can see here. It’s this thing by the C-pillar:

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I guess it can vary color based on if you have a white or black roof? The All4 version seems to be for the all-wheel-drive variant, while the one shown in the US press release has that sort of Union Jack-like type of pattern, or a double-headed arrow, whatever it is. From the inside, as you’d guess, these little flaps or whatever do take a pretty big visibility toll, and I don’t really know what their purpose is. Was a designer just hedging their bets by making something so otherwise minimal? I’m really not sure.

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When viewed from behind, I’m starting to think that the little flaps are like the modern equivalent of a vestigial landau bar.

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The taillight design I think is generally good, with the Union Jack motif composed of little triangular, rectangular, and rhomboid elements: P90518539 Highres Large

Hopefully the US spec one will retain an amber indicator (which seems to be formed of correctly-facing arrows, in the center part there) but knowing how US models tend to be, I’m not going to get my hopes up.

Specs-wise, the press release for the US model doesn’t go into details, but there are some out there, just not in the absurd non-metric units we still use here. It’s ok, I’ll do the math. We do know that the new Countryman has a longer 105 inch wheelbase and comes in two levels of power: There’s the Countryman E with 204 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque or an SE version with 313 hp and 364 lb-ft. Range is about 269 miles, though I’m don’t think official EPA numbers have been given yet.

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So what do we think of this new electric Mini? Overall, it seems generally usable and capable, a practical package that’s stylish in a mostly understated way. I’m still not totally sold on the look, and I don’t think it has a frunk – if it does, nothing has been said about it – which I still regard as a negative. Mini should be good about interesting, non-grayscale color selections, which is nice, and hopefully there’s an attempt to make it engaging to drive, which is also a key part of the Mini heritage.

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Will people pick one of these over a Tesla or Mach-E or electric Volvo or VW or whatever? Does it have enough essential Mini-ness to be appealing to their traditional niche Mini-loving market? I’m not sure.

But at least they fixed the damn turn signals.

 

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AlfaWhiz
AlfaWhiz
8 months ago

That front end literally looks like a Chinese copy of itself.

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
8 months ago

Fucking 20″ wheels on a Mini is just crazy and shows that it has just grown out of its skin and by now its just another damn cross-over.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
8 months ago

I can’t be the only one that sees this car and thinks immediately of the “Weeny Issi”, the Mini knockoff in GTA V.

EvilGardenGnome
EvilGardenGnome
8 months ago

All I can see with that grill is a dad stache.

This car wants to sit me down and “get real” about what I’m gonna do with my life and whether I’m doing “it” and have “protection”; I’m not feeling all that comfortable about this auto-dad…

“Don’t worry”, he’ll say, ” I know it’s been tough since Mom-car left, but I’m here for you.” Then the phone will ring and it’s his new girlfriend, Mercedes, who happens to my German teacher. They’ll chat, he’ll say he’s taking care of it, that it’s going well, and yeah, they are still on for Thursday. I try to sneak away from the table, but his eyes, those heptagonal beams, keep flicking back. It’s an awkward 45 minutes and I’m gone. Free. Finally, finally free.

This car takes me to dark places.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
8 months ago

Not only does it look like a Chinese knockoff of a Mini Countryman, it has the face of a robotic blobfish deep-throating a cassette tape.

The interior is… fine. Looks decent enough, better than a sea of plastic, it’s all gonna get torn up though eventually as it snags on random crap. But really, anything is better than Tesla’s “You’ll have no interior styling whatsoever and be happy” design philosophy.

It’ll be interesting to see in the next 10 years how BMW manages to make these unreliable.

Myk El
Myk El
8 months ago

My nephew noticed that turn signal issue on the previous models. It’s definitely better, not sure it’s great, but better.

MiniDave
MiniDave
8 months ago

<Sighs> MINI have clearly lost the plot……everything that made the ‘New” MINIs such a hit is now completely gone, replaced with bland “corporate” faces, oversized, overweight and fitted with generic style.

SuperNova
SuperNova
8 months ago

If I got on the phone with my plant in China right now and verbally described how I would like my new electric Mini to look like I think I would probably get the same results…maybe a bit worse because the steering wheel might end up on the wrong side…and maybe it wont be the same shade of green….but it would be a pretty miserable looking car. Just like this one.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
8 months ago

I’m sure by the time these hit the used market those fabric dashes and door cards will look just as nice as new right? And being a Mini I’m sure everything will work flawlessly forever. Sorry, is my distaste for modern Mini showing?

Tesla
Tesla
8 months ago

Those rear turn indicators look like arrows that are pointing the wrong way.

Clark B
Clark B
8 months ago

I’m sorry, but a fabric dashboard? It drives me nuts when automakers design interiors without thinking that they might one day get dirty, and that someone might want to clean them. I’ve detailed cars on the side for 16 years and so many of those “clever storage solutions” or “unique designs” are actually permanent filth collectors, especially if the vehicle in question has ever had children in it.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
8 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Glad I wasn’t the only one to think “huh, that’s neat but inherently stupid”.

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
8 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Agreed. The Polestar 2 has a fabric-like dashboard and I’m not entirely sure how to clean it. The windowsill on the door card is really good at picking up deodorant, dead skin, sunblock, etc.

Ben
Ben
8 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

I wonder if even the putty-like cleaning compounds would be able to help with this. They work great on my annoyingly textured dash that can’t be cleaned in normal ways, but I wonder if they’d be able to pull stuff out of fabric.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
8 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Since it’s course-weave, it’ll also snag on things easily and get torn up and frayed over time. Or just turn to dust if left in the sun frequently for a few years.

But that’s pretty on-brand for BMW not caring how things age…

Sean Hannay
Sean Hannay
8 months ago
Reply to  Clark B

Automakers have been putting fabric on seats, which tend to see a lot more sweaty asses than dashboards, in cars for decades. I think these will be fine.

Goof
Goof
8 months ago

This new 2024 Mini Cooper Countryman Electric is…

  • 174.5 inches (4432mm) long
  • 72.6 inches (1844mm) wide
  • 65.2 inches (1656mm) tall

… which is a larger footprint (excluding height) than Porsche’s mid-engine cars.

The initial release of the R50 Mini Cooper was…

  • 142.8 inches (3627mm) long
  • 66.5 inches (1689mm) wide
  • 55.9 inches (1420mm) tall

As a comparison point, the current 5th gen (2018+) Toyota RAV4 is…

  • 179.9 inches (4570mm) long
  • 73.0 inches (185mm) wide
  • 65.4 inches (1660mm) tall

So this new “Mini” is roughly a mid-2000s compact crossover for dimensions.

It’s not, “Mini”. 4 fewer inches of length aside, it’s basically the footprint of one of the most common vehicle archetypes on North American roads — the “compact” crossover.

Sean Hannay
Sean Hannay
8 months ago
Reply to  Goof

And it’s the largest car they make. It’s not like they’re slapping a MINI badge on a Tahoe.

Goof
Goof
8 months ago
Reply to  Sean Hannay

It’s not so much about the size, but more about the dilution of the Mini’s identity by attempting to slapping the same design language and motifs onto everything.

That’s the underlying feeling of concern folks had with the Mach E. What if the Bronco was Mustang’d? Then the F-150? If everything is a, “Mustang”, then nothing is a Mustang. 

The car industry went through this with, “personal luxury coupes.”

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
8 months ago

That “S” on the rear looks like a randomly placed refrigerator magnet.

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
8 months ago

Why is every new car so fat now? The first gen mini mostly avoided this, but every gen since has bulked up like somebody’s alcoholic uncle. More glass would help, I think. Check out a first gen Range Rover. Every subsequent gen has gotten girthier, less glass, and frankly more hostile looking. Why are these Range Rovers so angry with me? And the headlights on this one, good god. Listen to me please, car designers: round headlights are friendly. People love them. Why won’t you give them to us? Ask yourselves: do puppies have square eyeballs? How about babies? When your new boss walks in and he’s wearing those frameless rectangle eyeglasses all the German technocrats favor, are we feeling good about how things are going to go?

beachbumberry
beachbumberry
8 months ago

Torch, I completely forgot to mention that the mini indicators only light the middle horizontal bar with amber, no arrow

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
8 months ago

2005 Cooper S owner here. I wish they would stop calling these things Minis. They are not. This does not look happy, or cute, or fun. Many have said it looks like a Chinese knockoff of a Mini, and I agree with that.

If they called it something else, I’d be much more open to this vehicle.

ScottyB
ScottyB
8 months ago
Reply to  MATTinMKE

You nailed, it really does look like a knockoff. And a bad one at that.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
8 months ago

Helloo, I’m Kermit the Frog.

Why? Why are EV wheels so damn ugly? You want aero, just use a solid, flat surface. These look like bad Christmas tree ornaments.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
8 months ago

I’m oddly OK with the exterior. The dumb stick-on behind the c-pillar should go. Like why is it there?
The interior is an improvement, though I just don’t like centre mount screens for key functions like speed, and I definitely hate alphanumeric read outs for speed. Digital is fine, but make it a graphic that can easily be read.

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