2018 Mini Cooper S E Countryman Plug-In Hybrid – Why Buy?


A plug-in hybrid option expands the small crossover’s utility.

– Detroit, Michigan

The range of cars available in Mini showrooms has ballooned far beyond the original retro-cute Cooper hatchback.

The Countryman is the brand’s take on a small crossover, with a slightly elevated ride height and a reasonably roomy cargo area delivering more practicality in a still-funky Mini package.

Everywhere you look, Mini’s signature fun styling abounds: the rounded-off headlights, two-tone roof, chromed toggle switches, round speedometer. But the Countryman offers plenty of sensibility, too, with four engine choices, available all-wheel drive, and enough space in the back seat that two adults can comfortably come along for the ride.

This particular model is a plug-in hybrid, meaning you can drive a short distance on electrical power alone – a very short distance, at just 12 miles of real world/EPA range (details) … basically only a couple Mercedes offerings (GLE 550e, C350e at 10 miles) are less capable via the plug.

Because the electric motor drives the rear wheels, this Countryman also has all-wheel drive. But that powertrain choice is more expensive than other Countryman variants, so its value depends on your driving habits – and proximity to charging stations.

With all that in mind, how does the 2018 Mini Countryman stack up? Find out as we subject it to rigorous tests in our latest Why Buy?

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11 Comments on "2018 Mini Cooper S E Countryman Plug-In Hybrid – Why Buy?"

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What a joke….

I wonder how Mini and BMW i will coexist when they are both electric. We already have an i3s. The natural next step is an i3 Clubman. ?

I’m usually the one defending these shorter-range PHEVs. But even I have to scratch my head at the “12 miles of range” and wonder what they were thinking. Would it have been that hard to add another 8 or so miles to get it up around 20 where it would actually be useful?

Next battery chemistry update probably. Otherwise it’s a goner

Yea, I’ve defended all sorts of short range PHEV’s, but this one I can’t.

At least when I defend a large SUV PHEV, I can say that that replaces a gas guzzling ICE SUV and due to the bad ICE mpg, that it may save as much gas each year as a Leaf replacing a 35 mpg small car.

But this PHEV is in the same EPA size class as 35 mpg small cars, and won’t have the same savings as displacing miles driven by a 15 mpg ICE SUV in the city.

This seems entirely a compliance play for cities that ban ICE cars from city centers, as a way to get around those restrictions.

The beauty of government intervention.

Hell, the Volvo XC90 does much better, and those are huge.

If I owned this car I’d generally have to charge three times per week. I’d only use gasoline on weekends.

Owners are reportedly getting 20-22 miles. My commute is 14 miles round trip. All the negative comments about the range point to the fact that this is a niche vehicle. It’s either going to make sense for you or not.

It is a blast to drive.

Apparently the Countryman is built on the BMW X1 platform.

If so perhaps a X1 PHEV is coming out soon too.

In my Mini the average electric range is within 30 kms, applying a normal and sometimes sporty driving.