Mini Cooper Countryman

The MINI Cooper is offered in Countryman, S Countryman, S Countryman ALL4 and JCW Countryman ALL4 models. Those with the 'ALL4' designation have all-wheel drive, while the John Cooper Works (JCW) model is aimed at performance enthusiasts.

Countryman models are powered by the 121-horsepower, 1.6L 4-cylinder engine, while the Countryman S gets a turbocharged 181-hp version of that engine. JCW versions step up to a higher-output version of the turbocharged engine, making 208 hp. All models include a standard 6-speed manual gearbox but can be optioned with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

The Countryman includes seating for five, with a bench seat in back, although a 4-passenger layout with two individual seats in back can be substituted at no extra cost. Rear seatbacks fold almost fully flat to expand cargo space, and the back seats slide fore and aft. Front seats are more comfortable than those in most small cars and utility vehicles--especially with the available sport seats--and there's enough space for a couple of adults in back, if the front seats aren't positioned too far back.

Standard equipment for the Countryman includes air conditioning, an on-board computer, remote entry, a multi-function sport steering wheel, heated mirrors and washer jets, roof rails, a height-adjusting driver's seat and Dynamic Stability Control. Cooper S models add a Dynamic Traction Control system, fog lamps and sport seats. In addition to all of its performance upgrades, the JCW version adds black-burnished 18-inch alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel, an anthracite headliner and piano black interior trim.

There's lots of room for customization through various available packages. A City Pack includes an alarm system, power folding mirrors, keyless entry, auto-dimming mirrors and rear parking sensors. The Cold Weather Package with power folding mirrors and heated front seats. A MINI Connected Package that adds a center armrest, voice command, Bluetooth and USB/iPod connectivity A MINI Connected with Navigation Package includes the contents of the Connected package and adds real-time traffic information and a navigation system. A Premium Package has dual-pane panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing wipers and headlamps and automatic climate control. A Technology Package includes satellite radio compatibility; Harman/Kardon premium sound and the MINI Connected Package.

Otherwise the list of standalone options is long and includes various wheel upgrades, upholstery and trims as well as the option of a rear spoiler, a universal garage-door opener, a cargo net and xenon headlamps.

Editors' Review

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Spanning 169.8 inches from bumper-to-bumper, the second-generation Countryman is the longest and largest model in the Mini lineup. But despite its relatively massive size, the Cooper S E Countryman tested here is the most fuel-efficient model in the automaker's stable, thanks to its plug-in hybrid system.

Mini PHEV system

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

Meanwhile, the rear axle is home to an 87-horsepower electric motor that generates an additional 122 pound-feet of torque, which it sends to the rear wheels via its own two-speed gearbox. This e-motor is able to power the Countryman by itself, which technically makes this the only rear-wheel drive Mini -- at least, part of the time.

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The Good The Mini Countryman's plug-in hybrid system has the potential to deliver up to 65 mpge. Its Mini Connected tech is easy to use and fun to interact with. The torquey hybrid system makes for responsive performance during urban driving.

The Bad The cabin controls are poorly placed, making them awkward to use and potentially distracting. You only get 12 miles of EV range per charge. Driver aid systems are surprisingly limited for such a high-tech vehicle.

The Bottom Line Yes, the 2018 Mini Countryman PHEV is the most fuel-efficient Mini, but only if you plug in often. Without regular recharges, it becomes difficult to justify the price premium for relative small mpg gains.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 7
  • Features 7
  • Design 6.5
  • Media 7.5

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