Highlight: This is MINI’s only electrified vehicle.
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $41,950 (Base Model: $36,800)
Seating Capacity: 4 (rear seating are for small kids)
Standard Safety Features: airbags; ABS; a stability control system; run flat tires; automatic headlights with rain sensing windshield wipers; review camera; rear parking distance control audible alert system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment (Base Model): 17-inch tires; a 6-speed manual transmission; electric brakes a remote keyless entry system; a keyless ignition system; manually adjusted front seats; leather-like seats; rear seats with split folding seatback; an automatic a/c system; a manually operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; roof rails; and heated mirrors with washer jets; a panoramic roof; 6.5-inch infotainment screen; and a rearview camera
Standard Equipment On Plug In: 18-inch wheels; 2.0-liter/221-hp; all-wheel drive; a twin turbo engine paired with an electric motor; LED headlights three driving modes: sport, mid and economy; fog lights; a panoramic roof; heated front seats with additional bolstering for the front seats (AWD model only); a dual zone automatic climate control system; heated mirrors with washer jet; a leather steering wheel; keyless entry front door access; and run flat tires
Options: an automatic transmission; a heads up display system; a satellite radio; parking assist features; Apple CarPlay smarthphone integration; and an in-car wireless charging system
Other Non Hybrid Trim Levels:
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: a 6-speaker audio system AM/FM/HD
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Plug-In Powertrain Warranty: 8 years or 80,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder/121-hp
Recommended Fuel: Regular
Electric Plug In: Yes
Standard Hybrid Mileage: 65-city/27-combined
What’s New: The second generation Countryman added a plug-in hybrid for the 2018 model year.
Why: The Countryman is MINI’s only hybrid. This plug-in is capable of running off of an electric charge for approximately 12 miles. Being that this is not a fully electric vehicle, drivers can also use gasoline to fuel an additional 258 miles out of this MINI, according to fueleconomy.gov, bringing the total driving range to 270 miles.
Exterior badging, plug in capabilities, as well as the green interior lighting strips carefully place throughout the vehicle readily identifies this MINI as being certified green.
The Countryman in hybrid or non hybrid form continues to be the roomiest of all of the MINIs. It’s almost a whopping 8 inches longer and 3 inches wider than its typical British sibling. The extra length and width now allows the vehicle to compete against crossovers, which are car-based utility vehicles. Because of the additional length, the rear door is larger and there is more legroom in the rear seat room.
While the iconic vehicle was reworked inside and out last year, both the engineering and design teams have managed to maintain the style, distinctiveness and driving dynamics that make this vehicle popular.
Out of all of the MINIS, the Countryman offers the most standard equipment out of all of the vehicles in the brand’s portfolio. The Countryman includes everything from a keyless entry system to a backup camera.
In addition to the new styling, the oversized icon is powered by two new engines, a 3-cylinder, a 4-cylinder engine and a plug-in.
The Countryman can be outfitted with such features as a power sunroof and a technology package.
This plug-in MINI also qualifies for a federal tax credit, which helps to lower the price by $4,000. There may be additional savings through one local municipality.
But: While this is MINI’S largest vehicle, we’re wondering why the rear seat does not include a center armrest. We know it is an optional feature.
Added to that, for consumers seeking the latest driving aids, such as a forward collision braking system, a lane keep assist system or a radar- activated cruise control, they’ll have to look outside of the MINI brand.
Moreover, we were disappointed that this vehicle is only able to run off of 12 miles of electricity, before the gasoline engine kicks in. MINI should not only enhance the driving range for the plug-in, but also expand this technology to other vehicles in the portfolio.
Verdict: While the iconic vehicle has grown in size significantly, making this the largest MINI ever, this year it is available as a plug in. Unfortunately, because of the limited battery range and the time it takes to recharge, one needs to justify the cost versus the benefit. Does it make sense to purchase a hybrid or a non hybrid Countryman? With that said, the vehicle still manages to maintain its character and fun to drive nature. Yes, there is no mistaken this foreign icon for anything else, but a MINI 2.0.
Competition: Kia Soul Plug In and Honda Clarity Plug In