Walking up to the all new MINI Countryman Electric for the first time you’re immediately struck by two things in quick succession. First, the size. This new Countryman now feels like a true crossover ready to fully compete in its segment. Then they it hits you – this thing has curves. Sculpture on the fenders. A vertical ridge just behind the front tire. There’s dimension to the car that we’ve never seen before in a MINI. The result is a Countryman that not only looks more mature but also is more upright, athletic and capable than ever.

Note: Today MINI is launching its next generation with the new MINI Cooper Electric and MINI Countryman Electric. In anticipation of this release, MINI invited us to experience the new cars in Munich and talk to the people that created them. We’ve taken that knowledge and poured it into exclusive in-depth articles, reviews and videos you won’t want to miss.

MINI Cooper EV: Premier | MINI Cooper EV: Hands-On Review | MINI Cooper EV: Video Review

MINI Countryman EV: Premier | MINI Countryman EV: Hands-On Review | MINI Countryman EV: Video Review

New MINI Family: 1st Look Video | MINI Circular Display & MINI OS9 Hands-On Review

electric mini countryman review

the New Countryman Electric – The Exterior Design

Countryman looks a bit challenging when we first saw it in the leaked photos from earlier this year. But in person things immediately start to connect. For one you get a sense of accurate scale. While it’s indeed larger, (5 inches in length) this new Countryman is actually more proportionally correct than before. The wheelbase, wheel size and other dimensions work harmoniously.

While we’ve always loved the original R60 for its size and brashness, there was a lot going on from a styling perspective. Then there’s the F60 which looks a bit ungainly from some angles owning to proportions that always felt a touch off. This new Countryman fixes all of those issues with a new, simplistic design language that MINI calls Charismatic Minimalism. The philosophy replies on reducing the elements down to the absolutely core, creating a more minimal and sophisticated appearance.

One thing that has been lost in the need for aero efficiency is the grab-style door handles. In their place are door handles that, while more aero efficient, are hard to grab and will annoy anyone not used to them.

electric mini countryman review
Next to each other, you immediately can see how much more upright and broad-shouldered the U25 Countryman is compared to its predecessor the F60

It works well on the new MINI Cooper Electric but when we went hands-on with both in Munich recently, it was the Countryman that got more of our attention. Not because we love crossovers (we’d vastly prefer a wagon) but because the interplay between shapes and the interesting juxtaposition between an upright, utility based elements and athletic, voluminous body shapes. In short, MINI has designed a car that draws you in and, over time, reveals new details that build on that overarching theme.

The New Front-End

The front of the new Countryman is much more angular and upfront that we’ve seen previously. While there’s a reduction in shapes and materials upfront, it’s not as starkly minimal as the new Cooper. Instead MINI has patterns in the plastic fenders (which are still here as oppose to the new Cooper) and indents on the front splitter and rear bumper.

electric mini countryman review

Simplified Lighting

The lights upfront are a departure. But then again the Countryman has had a light design that never quite fit in with the rest of the line-up. Shape aside they are similar to the Cooper in that MINI has eliminated the chrome trim around the lights which actually reduces the overall visual size. That makes room for the grille surround which has grown in height substantially and extends into the lower air intake.

electric mini countryman review

The standard will be a LED design is what we see in all the photos. Not pictured (yet) are the optional LED matrix lights which offer a different look as well as deliver illumination that lights up the road while being aware of on-coming traffic. In other words you can have brights on and the lights will simply move the pattern away from oncoming traffic so as to not dazzle them.

What’s interesting is that MINI has both added common elements to both cars where it matters (that grille) while pushing them further apart where it distinguishes based on their core attributes.

electric mini countryman review

the New Countryman Electric – The Interior Design

Like the Cooper, the Countryman has done away with the cluster display and minimized other controls in the name of simplification. Not unlike the original MINI, the Countryman has been designed to do more with the space it has. For instance gone is the center console and shifter. In its place, just below the toggle switches is an optional Qi wireless charger for smartphones and behind that two large, integrated cupholders. You’ll be happy to know the design works well in that your phone is visible and continuously charging at the same time – all with no wires. And yes, the cupholders look big enough for most American-sized drinks. I say most because I am sad to report the ubiquitous Nalgene 32 oz water bottle will not fit in the door pocket as it does in the current F60. As a dedicated Naglene user who appreciates being hydrated, it feels like an unfortunate oversight.

Like the new Cooper, MINI is offering a system that allows you to personalize your console with several options storage areas. Want more cupholders? You can add them just like you can add larger storage units as well. If that sounds familiar it’s because this new system is inspired by the original Countryman’s center rail, this new system allows for several different configurations with MINI’s upcoming accessory plans. But what makes this different than the rail system is that it’s also functional storage with no accessories at all. However it would appear the two systems in the cars are not compatible due to the differences in width.

electric mini countryman review

Further back most will be happy to see that MINI has stuck with the console mounted armrest in the new Countryman as opposed to the seat-mounted version in the Cooper. Similar to the current F60, under the armrest is a large storage are has a large storage area. What’s different is what’s on the front of the armrest – power. MINI has moved two USB-C ports and a 12v dc power port.

Also new is a complete lack of leather. Why? You can read our deep dive on the reasons and MINI’s replacement Vescin here. But no matter how you feel about the lack of leather, the feel of its replacement will likely be impressive. We were shocked at the quality -–especially the steering wheel as it felt like Nappa leather found on the optional MINI Yours steering wheel.

electric mini countryman review

Redesigned Seats

The seats themselves are a completely new design. Again with a focus on simplicity MINI has eliminated the thigh bolster from the latest generation of sport seats and designed a bottom cushion that extends further outward reducing the need for additional support. I’m 6’2″ and have relied on that thigh bolster in every MINI and BMW that offers it. And yet I see how MINI has shaped this new seat to limit the need. No it’s not as supportive but it’s noticeably better than the R50 for R56 seats which also didn’t offer a thigh-bolster.

electric mini countryman review

Heating And Cooling – A Mix Of Digital & Physical Controls

The heating and cooling controls have been moved into the center screen as MINI has gone to great lengths to eliminate physical controls. While that is is generally a recipe for disaster for in-car experience, we get a sense in talking to the designers that MINI has learned from the mistakes of brands like VW and even parent company BMW. But we’ll have more on that next week.

Unlike the Cooper, the Countryman’s vents are all exposed and a bit more typical in their design and interaction. They’re also vertical following the more upright shape of the dash itself.

electric mini countryman review

Why Is There Fabric on the Dash?

Relax. The world isn’t ending. Yes there’s fabric on the dash but trust us, it looks and feels great in person. In fact after spending some time with the new MINIs (both have this as standard) you wonder why we’ve had black foam on cars for so long.

The move from polyurethane based foam rubber outer layer to fabric makes sense for several reasons. For one it’s cooler in hot conditions which will play well in hot climates (which seems to be much of the southern US these days). Then there’s the environmental impact as it’s both made from recycled fibers and itself is easily recyclable. Finally it allows MINI to be much more bold (or not) in its interior designs.

How does it feel? Very robust and clearly designed for a very long life-span. However my first thought was, how do I clean it? I asked folks from MINI that question and the answer was pretty simple – a damp cloth.

electric mini countryman review

A Completely new Door Design

Like the Cooper, the Countryman’s a new door design that is focused on not just look and feel but ergonomics. A bit less adventurous than the Cooper, the design feels somewhat evolutionary in terms of layout while being revolutionary in materials used.

electric mini countryman review

The New Vegan Friendly Steering Wheel That’s Secretly A Two-Spoke 

The new MINI steering wheel, like most elements here will spread across the entire MINI family as more models are introduced. As the center part of the driving experience, MINI has clearly done to great lengths to hone the look and (crucially) the feel. In hand it feels fantastic with excellent material quality and great feel in hand. Normally this wouldn’t be big news but this is MINI’s first fully vegan friendly model.

One other interesting design note – it may not look it, but MINI has brought back the two-spoke steering wheel in the new MINI family. The center spoke is actually just a piece of fabric that visually connects the rim to the center of the wheel. It may sound like a recipe for disaster in terms of wear and tear but this is very thick and robust fabric that we’re told passed all of BMW’s rigorous durability tests perfectly.

That New Circular Screen, the MINI OS9 Interface & A Projector?

We’ve already done a full review of both so you’ll definitely want to check that out if you want all the details. But just like the Cooper, the new circular screen dominates the cabin in a good way, adding a clear focal point as well as being successful in combining enormous functionality into one screen. The other thing is does it clean-up the interior making the space more serene.

The one thing that hasn’t been talked about much is the optional light projector behind the screen. It allows the car to extend the Experience Modes with projects light effects on the dash that, in the dark, is very striking. It may sound gimmicky but in real-life it’s a pretty compelling trick. And yes, it can also be turned off.

Final Thoughts On the New Electric MINI Countryman

It may sound strange given this is a crossover and about as far from the original Mini as possible. But there are few MINI’s since the R50 that we have immediately gelled with the design more than we did with the new Electric MINI Countryman. Yes it’s larger, heavier (not by much) and sure we’d prefer an updated Clubman. But putting aside philosophical differences MINI has nailed the the new Countryman in terms of the design and what the market wants.

The aesthetic is modern yet unique. The interior is minimal but full of tech. And the Countryman itself isn’t massively larger but has real space improvement you will notice. And perhaps even more important it’s available in both electric and ICE forms. In fact it will be the only new electric MINI launching in the US next year as MINI USA formalizes plans to import the J01 MINI Cooper. In short we believe the U25 MINI Countryman will be a massive seller for the brand. Now let’s see how it drives. We should have answers early next year.

mini Cooper electric mini countryman electric

This is Just the Start – An Entire New MINI Family is Coming

The new J01 MINI Cooper electric and U25 MINI Countryman (electric & ICE) will publicly debut at the Munich Motor Show next week. While MINI hasn’t confirmed production timing, our sources have confirmed that the J01 will go into production this fall in China and will be sold in Europe, Asia and South America initially. Plans for North America are still being finalized as are plans for UK production. Both should be announced shortly.

The New MINI FamilyDrivetrainPricingStart of Production
J01 MINI Cooper EElectric32,900€ 11/2024
J01 MINI Cooper SE Electric36,900€ 11/2024
U25 MINI Countryman CICE (Petrol)39.900€ 11/2023
U25 MINI Countryman D ICE (Diesel)42.900€ 11/2023
U25 MINI Countryman E Electric43.500€ 03/2024
U25 MINI Countryman S ALL4ICE (Petrol)45.900€ 11/2023*
U25 MINI Countryman SE ALL4Electric49.500€ 03/2024*
U25 MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4ICE (Petrol)56.500€ 03/2024*
F66 MINI CooperICE (Petrol)TBD07/2024*
F66 MINI Cooper SICE (Petrol)TBD07/2024*
F66 MINI Cooper JCWICE (Petrol)TBD11/2024*
F65 MINI Cooper 5 DoorICE (Petrol)TBD07/2024*
F65 MINI Cooper S 5 DoorICE (Petrol)TBD07/2024*
F67 MINI Cooper ConvertibleICE (Petrol)TBDTBD*
F67 MINI Cooper S ConvertibleICE (Petrol)TBDTBD*
J05 MINI AcemanElectricTBDTBD
J05 MINI Aceman SElectricTBDTBD
* Available in the US at launch

The J01 MINI Cooper electric and U25 MINI Countryman will be followed by the internal combustion U25 Countryman which will be shown later this year. Then we’ll see the heavily revised F56 morph into the F66 internal combustion MINI Cooper. This will be MINI’s answer to all those who want a Cooper but aren’t ready for electric. Finally we’ll see the all electric MINI Aceman crossover which effectively takes the place of the beloved MINI Clubman. The Aceman will be a small crossover roughly the size of the original MINI Countryman and will be released late next year.

Note: Today MINI is launching its next generation with the new MINI Cooper Electric and MINI Countryman Electric. In anticipation of this release, MINI invited us to experience the new cars in Munich and talk to the people that created them. We’ve taken knowledge and poured it into exclusive in-depth articles, reviews and videos you won’t want to miss.

MINI Cooper EV: Premier | MINI Cooper EV: Hands-On Review | MINI Cooper EV: Video Review

MINI Countryman EV: Premier | MINI Countryman EV: Hands-On Review | MINI Countryman EV: Video Review

New MINI Family: 1st Look Video | MINI Circular Display & MINI OS9 Hands-On Review