2018 Mini Countryman PHEV review: The biggest, most efficient Mini

    Spanning 169.Eight inches from bumper-to-bumper, the second-generation Countryman is the longest and largest mannequin within the Mini lineup. However regardless of its comparatively large measurement, the Cooper S E Countryman examined right here is essentially the most fuel-efficient mannequin within the automaker’s secure, because of its plug-in hybrid system.

    Mini PHEV system

    The Mini plug-in hybrid system is a bit unconventional. Up entrance there is a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine that makes 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to a six-speed computerized gearbox that sends energy to the entrance wheels.

    In the meantime, the rear axle is dwelling to an 87-horsepower electrical motor that generates a further 122 pound-feet of torque, which it sends to the rear wheels by way of its personal two-speed gearbox. This e-motor is ready to energy the Countryman by itself, which technically makes this the one rear-wheel drive Mini — not less than, a part of the time.

    A 7.6-kWh battery pack powers the e-motor and may be recharged plugging right into a 220-volt charging station for two to three hours. Extra juice can be drawn from the gasoline engine and regenerative braking system. A totally charged battery nets the Countryman as much as 12 miles of totally electrical cruising earlier than the gasoline engine has to kick in, extending the overall vary to round 270 hybrid driving miles.

    Whole system output for the all-wheel drive hybrid Countryman is 221 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. (This is likely one of the few situations the place hybrid math is simply easy addition.) The battery pack and electrical motor bump the Countryman’s curb weight as much as a hefty Three,900 kilos, which you’ll be able to actually really feel when cornering and braking. However the additional electrical torque means the plug-in hybrid nonetheless sprints to 60 miles per hour in 6.7 seconds — a reasonably good little bit of get-up and go.

    Most individuals who pay the value premium for the plug-in hybrid Countryman are doubtless extra involved in economic system than outright efficiency. For the primary 12 miles of electrical driving, the Countryman PHEV returns an EPA-estimated 65 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (mpge). After that, the economic system drops right down to 27 mpg mixed till you recharge once more.

    The Countryman PHEV is sweet for 65 mpge for the primary 12 miles, however solely about 27 mpg after the EV vary is depleted.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    To help you in managing your electrical cost and economic system, the Cooper S E Countryman incorporates a trio of “eDrive” modes. Auto eDrive is the default setting that places the pc in control of how you can steadiness the EV and inside combustion engine’s (ICE) use. Often, this implies utilizing the battery till it is drained, except you actually stomp the accelerator, after which depend on the ICE for additional driving. Save Battery will reserve a preset battery stage till deactivated. It is helpful for holding again a little bit of EV vary for the top of an extended freeway phase, for instance. Lastly, Max eDrive forces the system to make use of solely EV energy till the battery is depleted, regardless of how arduous you mash the throttle.

    Bigger Countryman

    The 2018 Countryman is Eight inches longer and an inch wider than its predecessor, driving on a Three-inch longer wheelbase. Meaning there is a bit extra space for shoulder and headroom up entrance and far more second-row legroom. The tall seating place presents a commanding view of the highway and nice 360-degree visibility by way of the massive greenhouse… which is nice till you might want to work together with any of the Mini’s controls.

    I discover the Countryman’s cockpit awkward. All the dashboard controls for local weather and driver assist techniques are positioned far down on the middle stack, requiring an extended attain. On prime of that, some are toggles, others are buttons and all of them require me to spend time trying approach down into the depths of the middle stack to determine the place every thing is housed. Total, the Mini requires an excessive amount of “eyeball time” per interplay the place I am not trying on the highway, and simply feels unsafe to do easy issues like alter the cabin temperature at pace.


    I really just like the bodily management knob. I simply want it weren’t positioned so low and much again on the middle console.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    The bodily controller for the Mini Related infotainment is even trickier to achieve, nestled low and rearward on the middle console. You develop muscle reminiscence for the controller’s place after some time, however its location locations my wrist at an ungainly, painful angle.

    The remainder of the inside raises much more complaints. The $300 Cooper S Sport seats really feel flat and unsupportive. The multi-information show within the instrument cluster exhibits helpful details about the hybrid system, however it’s too small and requires you to cycle consistently by means of many tidbits of information. And the head-up show that rises out of the dashboard is simply too low to essentially be of a lot use and may be troublesome to see from some seating positions.

    Total, I get the sensation that Mini put loads of effort into the type of the Countryman’s cockpit on the expense of general performance. Oddly, I do not recall having any of those points with the marginally smaller Clubman, main me to imagine that the Countryman’s tall seating place is the supply of most of my nitpicks.

    Mini Related tech

    The bottom Countryman comes customary with a 6.5-inch multifunction show within the middle of the dashboard and helps sure telephone app integrations. The plug-in hybrid, in the meantime, comes customary with an Eight.Eight-inch Mini Related touchscreen system with navigation, wi-fi telephone charging and enhanced Bluetooth. We’ll gladly take that improve — it is a stable system.

    Principally, what you are getting is a reskin of BMW‘s iDrive infotainment system with Mini-specific graphics, colours and funky animations. I am embarrassed to say that the brand new look makes the system extra enjoyable to make use of. That is one space the place Mini’s obsession with type has paid off.

    Mini Related may be managed by way of the awkwardly positioned however nonetheless intuitive rotary controller on the middle console, or by way of the touchscreen when parked or stopped. The controller may be twisted, bumped or pressed, and has a touch-sensitive prime floor that may be swiped or written on with a fingertip to enter a vacation spot for navigation.

    The Mini additionally has a stable voice command system that nearly makes up for my aforementioned ergonomic gripes. Like iDrive, Mini Related has a stable number of digital and analog media sources, and is suitable with Apple CarPlay, however not Android Auto.

    Maybe my favourite cabin tech function is a cool LED ring that surrounds the Mini Related system. Harkening again to the outdated middle speedometer of earlier technology Minis, this LED ring can serve quite a lot of capabilities starting from an enormous tachometer to a visible indicator for the parking distance sensors and a lot extra. There are nearly a dozen capabilities obtainable, any of which may be enabled or disabled within the Mini Related menu system. It is one other enjoyable contact that makes the Mini’s cockpit look cool, whereas including a little bit of low-distraction performance.


    The Mini Related system is principally a reskin of BMW’s newest iDrive system; that is a great factor.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    Driver assist techniques

    The Countryman comes customary with a rearview digital camera and rear park distance sensors, which assist in parking, in addition to computerized headlamps and windshield wipers.

    This instance has an non-obligatory $500 enhanced parking help system that provides distance sensors to the entrance and rear. An additional $1,000 would carry adaptive cruise management to the get together, however my instance isn’t so-equipped.

    And that is just about it. No blind-spot monitoring. No semiautonomous parking help. No lane-keeping help or departure warning. As high-tech as its powertrain is, the Mini Countryman’s driver assist suite has a variety of giant holes in it.

    A worthwhile improve?

    The 2018 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4 plug-in hybrid begins at $36,800 and it comes pretty well-equipped for the cash. My instance stickers for an excellent $40,000, together with a number of choices and an $850 vacation spot cost.

    That beginning worth is a $5,100 premium over the $31,700 nonhybrid Cooper S Countryman All4 with its 189 horsepower, 2.Zero-liter turbo and 26 mixed mpg. For those who recharge usually and have a comparatively brief commute, the 65-mpge estimate for the primary 12 miles has the potential to dramatically enhance effectivity and scale back the working prices of the Countryman. (Particularly in case you qualify for the up-to-$four,000 tax credit score incentive for plug-in autos.)


    To get essentially the most effectivity, you will have to spend so much of time plugging in. For some drivers, it will not be well worth the inconvenience and worth premium.

    Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

    Plug-in hybrids, nonetheless, are particularly vulnerable to the “your mileage might fluctuate” rule of thumb and are extremely delicate to your driving and charging habits. 12 miles of EV vary per cost is not that a lot when you consider it, which suggests you will must plug in usually to see a profit. 

    So, in case you’re not the kind to plug in at dwelling, at work and whereas out working errands, or if most of your miles are logged on lengthy freeway stretches, your gas economic system will doubtless hover in that 27-mpg vary, which, to my thoughts, is hardly price the additional expense, complexity and weight for the single-digit mpg increase over the non-hybrid Cooper S.

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