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?