Mini Countryman

The 2018 MINI Countryman Cooper is now powered by a 134-horsepower, 1.5L 3-cylinder engine. Transmissions remain a choice between a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic. Standard equipment includes such technology as rain-sensing wipers, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone climate control

The upgraded Countryman is the 'S' model. Starting at just under $30,000. The engine offered is a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cylinder engine making 189 horsepower and paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Upgraded equipment on the S includes 18-inch wheels, LED headlights and fog lights and adaptive suspension dampers. The S is also available with MINI's ALL4 all-wheel drive.

The new-for-2018 Countryman S E plug-in hybrid combines the 1.5L 3-cylinder engine at the front and an 87-horsepower electric motor at the rear wheels. This combination is good for 221 horsepower. The Countryman S E can go for 12 miles on electric power and afterwards is good for 27 mpg.

MINI offers an array of equipment packages are available to personalize the Countryman. The Convenience Package includes a rear armrest, vehicle alarm, cargo divider and cargo area flip-out seating cushion. The Premium Package offers power-adjustable front seats, a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system and hands-free power liftgate. The Technology package delivers a touchscreen-based navigation system, heads-up display, wireless phone charging and an automated parallel parking system. Dynamic suspension dampers are available as well, a feature usually found on higher-end BMW models.

Within MINI culture, the name 'John Cooper' is synonymous with performance driving. MINI offers appearance and packages for both the interior and exterior of the Countryman. They include JCW-branded steering wheel, sport seats, special 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, additional stability control choices and aerodynamic upgrades. A dedicated John Cooper Works trim offers legitimate performance upgrades in the form of an enhanced version of the turbo 2.0L engine, tuned to make 228 horsepower, with upgraded exhaust, Brembo brakes, sport-tuned suspension and launch control.

Other available customization options allow the driver to pick from an almost dizzying array of 19-inch wheels, bonnet stripes, roof and mirror caps and a range of interior accent trims.

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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