Roadshow Video Reviews
The Countryman PHEV is the biggest, most fuel-efficient Mini yetThe compact SUV grows for the 2018 model year, making room for a more efficient plug-in hybrid system.
[MUSIC] This is the new Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4, a long name for what's actually not my favorite Mini in the line-up. Not a huge fan of big Minis and the Countryman's chunky proportion was never really set right with me. Plus I've got some pretty serious ergonomic issues with this highly [UNKNOWN] cabin those are just subjectives. Aside from that it's never really been a terrible choice for a small tall premium hatchback but this is no mere countryman. As you have guessed from the E in the model name and the green iconography around the exterior this is greener than your average Mini. In fact, it's the brands first plug-in hybrid model. And while I'm no fan of the Countryman, I've really enjoyed the last few BMW group hybrids that I've tested. So that's piqued my interest enough to see if the Countryman can redeem itself through electrification. Let's take it for a spin. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] Now the country man's Hybrid system isn't exactly what you might think. Under the hood we got a three cylinder gasoline engine that's turbo charged and that's about it, there's of course the six speed automatic transmission but the electric motor isn't under the hood, it's actually located on the area axle where it has it's own two speed transmission. Now because of the way that this system is set up, when you're in fully electric mode, that means that this is the only rear-wheel drive Mini in the lineup currently. That's kind of neat, but under most circumstances, those two powertrains are working together to form what Mini calls its E All-4 system, the electrified version of its all-wheel drive set up. Total system power is 221 horsepower and total torque is about 284 pound feed, that means you get really good off the line acceleration that's a significant torque advantage over the non hybrid countrymen, plus the electric mortar does a really good job of sort of filling in those sort of gaps in Dips in the power van that you get from a gasoline turbo starts engine making the acceleration feel really smooth even when you're changing gears. Now you have a little bit of control over how you use your power. You got a couple of drive mode you can toggle between the main one is the automatic mode where the computer determines whether it's gonna use the gasoline or electric Check engine and how it's gonna combine that power. There's also a saver mode, that uses more gasoline engine to conserve the battery's charge state. Really helpful if you're on a highway trip and you want to save some of your electric range for the urban segment at the end. And then finally, there's an E max mode that's all in on electric power. Until you run out of range, you've got about 12 miles of electric range from a full charge and that's gonna take you about two to three hours at a level 2 charging station, after that the gasoline then kicks in to extend your total range to about 270 miles. Now under electric power you do about 65 miles per gallon equivalent. And then once it gets linear engine kicked in, it drops down to a more conservative 27 miles per gallon can. But it's only one more than the non hybrid many. So you're just gonna need to plug this in. [MUSIC] [SOUND] Now over all, I'm really pleased with the accelaration and the power trainer In on this car. But this is still a Countryman and a lot of my nitpicks with this vehicle still exist in the hybrid model. I talk a little bit about some of the ergonomic issues that I have in a separate video, you're gonna wanna check that out. But there's also the fact that this is just a big, tall, heavy mini. And that means that it doesn't have the dynamics that I really like when it goes around the corner. Despite the fact that the steering is quite good and very direct. And then there's the fact that, well, this is a BMW Group vehicle, so there's pretty hefty premium on that hybrid system. [MUSIC] The 2018 Mini Cooper SE Countryman All 4 starts at $36,800 before options. That's like a 5,000 price premium over the non-hybrid Countryman S All 4. To be fair, Mini does throw in some creature comforts that would be optional at this price point to sweeten the deal, but mostly you're relying on the fact that by plugging in regularly at work, at home, and when you're out running your errands Gives you the potential for a significant fuel economy gain over the non hybrid model. Then again, if you're the kind of person that's never gonna plug this thing in, then maybe the single digit fuel economy gains you get from the hybrid system itself aren't really worth the extra cost of entry. Figure out what kind of plug person you are and judge it accordingly. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]