Mini Cooper SE Countryman All4 plug-in hybrid
distinctive design and individual styling possibilities, along with
efficient driving fun of the Mini, have been thrilling fans for over
time, the Mini Clubman and Mini Countryman have placed the brand in
the premium compact segment. A plug-in Clubman hybrid was introduced
for 2017, the British brand’s first, paving the way for pure
electric driving in the form of a Mini Electric.
The 2018 Mini
Cooper SE Countryman All4 plug-in hybrid, subject of this review,
brings the most-advanced technology to date, with a world-class
134-horsepower 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder TwinPower Turbo
engine and an electric motor powered by a 7.6-kWh battery for an
instant 87 horsepower boost and combined 221 horsepower of
unstoppable power. The hybrid has a six-speed automatic
This model is
also the most spacious, versatile, and powerful Mini ever, with
enough range for a trip beyond the everyday drive. EPA estimated
overall driving range is 270 miles, with an estimated electric-only
range of up to 24 miles at speeds up to 77 mph.
models are available, priced from $26,600 to $37,800, with
electric-enhanced ALL4 all-wheel drive now available on all
variants. The Plug-in Hybrid can be charged at any standard
three-prong 110-volt outlet, using the included charging cord as
long as the outlet is within 15 feet. Using an extension cord is not
recommended. Charging is optional, thanks to battery charging by the
gasoline engine. The Plug-in-Hybrid drivetrain makes the new Mini
Countryman a pioneer in sustainable mobility.
Mini Cooper models present a great racetrack feeling, with a
drivetrain, chassis, and exterior and interior styling taken from
motor sports and track-tested. The versatile Clubman and Countryman
also bring an explicit sporty appearance, go-cart driving feel, and
impressive sound. The all-wheel drive is standard for both models.
all-wheel drive uses the gas engine to power the front wheels and
the electric motor to power the rear. Starting at 50/50, the system
is able to send up to 100-percent of power to the front wheels.
Interestingly, at highway speeds power to the rear starts to
diminish as speed increases, reaching 100 percent front-wheel drive
at approximately 80 mph. Of course, the power ratio is changed
automatically if slipping is detected in the rear.
modes determine how the engine and motor operate. Electric Mode uses
the power stored in the lithium-ion battery for short distances such
as city driving, producing zero emissions.
uses both the engine and motor for trips outside city limits, for up
to 270 miles and EPA estimated 27 mpg combined. The fuel tank holds
Mode uses power generated by the engine to partially recharge the
battery and keep it at 90 percent, allowing longer trips without
Countryman ($36,800) was Melting Silver, one of five metallic
exterior colors for $500 – Island Blue is the color of the Pacific
Ocean, and British Racing Green is an old favorite. Standard
Moonwalk Gray is very light. Non-metallic Lapisluxury Blue adds
$1,000, and Light White adds $500.
top are available in either body color or black. My tester had
black, with charcoal around the vehicle on the ground effects front
and rear, wheel arches, and rocker panels (with a matte silver
strip), a nice contrast against the silver. Hood strips in black or
white are available for $100. Eighteen-inch pin-spoke black wheels
with run-flat tires completed the sporty theme.
theme of the Mini is circular/rounded, seen in the Mini winged logo,
the prominent, multicolor fender emblem/light, the headlight and
headlight housing, the fog light and surround, the vertical
taillights; interior door handles, steering wheel center/air-bag
cover with Mini emblem, headrests, door armrests, overhead controls,
shifter surround, instrument panel, air vents, and center-stack
port is behind the fender emblem on the driver’s side. Lots of
"S" badging distinguishes the hybrid from full gasoline
A movable ring
around the base of the shifter can be moved from side to side for
Sport Mode or Green Mode. Sport provided stiffer steering, while
Green reduced fuel consumption. A feature included with Connected
infotainment provided a game-like screen to help drivers monitor
acceleration, braking, and more, giving and taking stars as
incentive. A silly fish in a virtual bowl also provided visual
My Mini had
carbon black leatherette upholstery, with Hazy Gray plastic trim on
the door panels and dash. Upholstery is available in a variety of
colors, in leatherette, leatherette/cloth, and leather or
leather/cloth combinations from $750 to $2,250, with coordinating
trim in four color choices from $200 to $400 (Hazy Gray is
The round 3-D
instrument cluster was unique, attached to the steering wheel shell
(moves up and down with the steering wheel) with the speedometer
layered in front of the tachometer and the fuel gauge displayed on
the outside as an illuminated graduated backward "C."
panel was integrated into the middle of the dash, housed in an
extended "tube." An LED ring around the edge could be
configured to reflect the driver’s mood. Mood lighting, with lots
of colors and settings, also accented the doors and foot wells. A
projector in the driver’s side mirror greeted me with the Mini
logo on the ground.
My tester had
Navigation System XL with turn-by-turn directions on the vivid,
8.8-inch high-resolution touch screen, included in a $2,250
Technology Package along with Mini Connected 5.0 with App
Integration (Apple CarPlay, no Android at this time), Real Time
Traffic Updates (avoid jams/delays, navi will recalculate if
desired), Wireless Device Charging (a cradle under the center
armrest), Head-Up Display (rises from the dash behind the steering
wheel, includes speed, navi, and other important info), Parking
Assistant (Mini parallel parks itself with speed and braking
controlled by the driver – very handy), and Mini FindMate Personal
Item Tracking Sensors (two; attach to keys, sunglasses, etc,
search/find via smartphone).
Park Distance Control worked with the rearview camera to alert the
driver with a beeping sound if they got to close to another vehicle
or object while backing, with the sound increasing in frequency as
the vehicle moved closer.
Control uses a computer to monitor the rate of wheel spin and
adjusts power or braking to keep the car in line in curves –
cutting down the power on the inside wheels rather than completely
Connected was loaded with features – a Command Center for vehicle
information, entertainment, trip computer info, and phone
calls/texts; a navi system with real-time traffic; a dynamic LED
ring changes color in response to speed, driving mode, audio volume,
climate control, or interior lighting; Green Route when Green Mode
is selected to help determine the most economical route to the
destination; Mini touch controller with simple buttons or
handwriting recognition on the touch pad (on the center console);
Twitter; Minimalism analyzer (the driving behavior game with
goldfish); Life 360 to monitor the location of family and friends,
start route guidance or call; Pandora, web radio, Spotify, Rhapsody,
TuneIn, Audible, and Glympse safe, temporary location sharing.
Mini still has the toggle switches for various functions, although
the hybrid switches to yellow for the ignition.
My tester had
room for five, although the rear middle was slightly
less-comfortable. Heated front seats were standard, Sport front
seats and steering wheel were optional. The rear seat was raised
slightly to accommodate the electric drivetrain. The rear seatback
could be folded 40/20/40 to customize seating and cargo
added $300, Melting Silver paint added $500, the Tech Package added
$2,250, and destination charges added $850 to the base price, for a
total delivered price of $40,700.
Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 plug-in hybrid was fun to drive, without
worrying about charging. The change from gasoline to electric was
imperceptible, and the go-cart ride was actually enjoyable.