MINI Countryman PHEV Review
The MINI Countryman Cooper S E All4 is a plug-in hybrid SUV that’s great for keeping costs down
Strengths & weaknesses
The Mini Countryman is a popular family crossover and it’s available with petrol or diesel engines, but some people might be even better off with the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version. This model is called the Countryman Cooper S E All4, which means it’s equivalent in performance to the Cooper S model, but with electric power - hence the E - and with four-wheel drive (All4).
The normal Countryman range has various engines to choose from but the Countryman Cooper S E All4 is its own stand-alone model.
The PHEV gets a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, plus an 8.8kWh battery. The electric motor drives the rear wheels and the petrol engine drives the fronts, which provides four-wheel drive. Total power is 224hp in earlier models and 220hp in later (post-2020) ones, as emissions regulations put a bit of restriction on the engine.
The Countryman PHEV is fun to drive, comfortable, stylish and even relatively practical. It can be driven on electric power alone for around 30 miles, so it’s ideal for people who drive fewer miles than that each day and can charge up at home to make the most of the fuel savings.
Claimed fuel economy is 157 to 166mpg depending on which model (pre- or post-2020 as there was an update then), which is representative of this type of owner. If you drive without using the electric motor that often, expect less than 40mpg from the petrol engine.
Read on to find out more about the Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid and see if it’s right for you.
Should I get a Mini Countryman PHEV?
✔ Good to drive
✔ Stylish exterior and interior designs
✔ Potential for big fuel savings
✘ Expensive to buy
✘ Small boot for an SUV
✘ Not as comfortable as petrol models
The Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 is a great version of the family SUV. It’s almost as good to drive as the normal petrol models - if you can forgive a slightly harsher ride - and has a useful electric driving range of about 30 miles. It’s stylish, has a great interior and there’s enough space inside for the family, although the boot is a little small.
It works best if you can plug in at home, but it’s also a top company car choice because it is so cheap to tax. Even if you’re buying used, it’s a great all-rounder that feels high-quality and is nice and easy to drive as well. It’s a little expensive, so if your budget is tight, the normal petrol version of the Countryman might be a better choice.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Batteries and range
- Charge time
- Best Countryman for
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
Mini Countryman PHEV
The plug-in Countryman is called the Cooper S E All4. It uses a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor driving the rear wheels, so it’s four-wheel drive and has a total output of around 220hp.
There was an update in 2020 that improved efficiency from 157 to 166mpg, but reduced power from 224 to 220hp. A few more bits of equipment were added at that time too, but the car didn’t change too much otherwise.
There are a handful of trim levels to choose from but all are more focused on looks than equipment, as most things are added as optional extras rather than coming included in the various specifications.
The Mini Countryman comes in petrol form as the 1.5-litre three-cylinder Cooper (136hp), the 2.0-litre Cooper S (178hp) or the most powerful 2.0-litre JCW (306hp).
There were Cooper D and Cooper SD diesel versions available before, but these are only found second-hand now. These have 150hp and 190hp and are more efficient than the petrols. There are manual gearboxes available here - unlike in the PHEV, which is auto-only.
|Early models||Limited stock: Early models didn't come with trim levels. Instead, look out for optional packs that add extra equipment.|
|Classic||Limited stock: The Countryman PHEV comes with all the same kit as the petrol cars, plus charging cables, access to public chargers around the UK, remote pre-conditioning and an auto gearbox. Classic trim is the base version and comes with sat-nav, smartphone connectivity, an 8.8-inch media screen, traffic info and digital radio.|
|Sport||Limited stock: Sport models are no longer available new. When sold, they came with rear parking sensors, sporty styling cues borrowed from the performance JCW models, and ambient lighting.|
|Exclusive||Limited stock: Exclusive has a different look with silver exterior trim and 19-inch alloys, plus a leather steering wheel, upgraded headlining and leather upholstery.|
|Untamed||Limited stock: Untamed trim is the current top-spec car and comes with 18-inch alloys, some different exterior trim including black roof rails, ambient lighting and leather seats.|
The battery in the Countryman plug-in hybrid is small: only 8.8kWh in capacity. This is enough to drive for 29-32 miles on electric power alone, according to Mini’s official stats. This is about average - other plug-in hybrids are also able to travel for about the same distance, but some newer ones can do around 40-50 miles.
The electric motor in the Mini is mounted on the rear axle and provides 94hp, so even without the petrol engine on the Mini is nippy enough.
Charging up at a home wallbox takes just under two and a half hours, so it’s no trouble to top up the battery even if you’re not home for long. If you use a normal three-pin plug, that time goes up to just under four hours, so it’s best to get a wallbox charger installed at home and enjoy the faster and more efficient charging that provides.
Unlike with the normal Countryman, there’s very little choice in the range for the plug-in model. It really comes down to how you want the car to look, as the trim levels are mostly about cosmetic add-ons. To get the best version for you, simply choose the options you want and omit those you don’t. If you’re buying used, decide which options you need and find a model with them fitted.
|Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 Classic: The best-value version is simply the cheapest model, since you will want to add certain options anyway. However, with sat-nav and air-con included, there’s not a lot you really need to add.|
|Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 Exclusive: Choose the Exclusive version for a nicer steering wheel and leather seats. It’s a bit more stylish to look at too, thanks to larger alloy wheels.
|Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4: All versions of the PHEV have the same performance: 0-62mph takes about 6.8 seconds, so it’s quite fast. It’s more fun to drive than most other plug-in SUVs, too.|
|Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 Untamed: The Untamed model has a few flashy bits and pieces but it’s expensive and doesn’t add anything of substance, so we’d avoid it.
There are loads of family SUVs including the Volvo XC40, Cupra Formentor, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, Jaguar E-Pace and Ford Kuga that are available with plug-in hybrid power. All have a similar set-up to the Mini, with a petrol engine and a motor that provides about 30 miles of range.
The Mini is one of the most enjoyable to drive of the bunch, but it’s also a little smaller than these other models, especially in terms of boot space. It’s cheaper to buy than some of the more upmarket models too, although once you add the options you want then the prices are pretty similar.
Mini Countryman PHEV practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Mini Countryman PHEV is 4.3m long, 2m wide (mirrors included) and 1.6m high. It’s exactly the same size and shape as the normal Countryman, as the battery for the plug-in system is stored under the floor.
There’s a little less headroom in this version as a result - the floor is higher and so you end up sitting higher in the car, closer to the roof. It’s okay for adults in the rear, and legroom is decent too, so kids will have no trouble fitting in. The driving position is nice and low so there’s no issue with headroom up front.
|Length 4,297mm||Width 2,001mm|
|Height 1,559mm||Weight 1,660kg - 1,715kg|
There’s only a little less passenger space than the normal Countryman, but boot space is significantly reduced - from 450 litres to 405 litres. That’s not a disaster, as there’s still more room in the boot than in a Volkswagen Golf, for example (which has about 380 litres), and there’s even a storage spot for the charging cables under the floor.
You can read more about the Countryman PHEV’s boot space and dimensions in our full article here.
|Seats up 405 litres||Seats down 1,275 litres|
The Mini Countryman finished in 36th place in the 2022 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, and the plug-in hybrid model is included in those results. It finished above the hybrid Toyota Corolla and the rival Audi Q3, plus Mini as a brand came in ninth place overall. This is all positive stuff: the Countryman looks like it should be a pleasure to own, according to this year’s customers. In previous years, Mini finished lower down the rankings, so it looks like the brand has improved recently.
The Mini Countryman PHEV gets a three-year warranty from the factory, and it’s not limited at all by mileage. However, unlike most brands with plug-in models, the battery is included in this. This is a shame as other car makers offer up to eight years of cover for the batteries against loss of capacity, while Mini only offers three.
|3 years||Unlimited miles|
The Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid is an excellent car, as long as you have the budget to afford it. The relatively bare trim levels mean that it’s deceptively expensive to buy because you need to find models with the right options fitted, but if you can make savings on running costs by plugging in every day, it could be worth considering.
It’s fun to drive - more so than most cars of its type - and has enough space for family life, plus it should be reliable and it has an excellent, upmarket interior. It holds its value reasonably well, so you shouldn’t lose too much money when selling on in a few years, and it’s great for the school run as you can use electric power for a relaxing, emissions-free drive.
The trim level you choose for the Countryman PHEV doesn’t matter too much, unless you are style-conscious and really want a model with the right look. Choose the Classic for the best value for money, but make sure it has options you want fitted.
You might also find models with no trim level listed. These are older models, as it was previously sold with no trim structure at all, it was simply a standalone model. In these versions, it’s also important to check which options were added by the first owner.
Exclusive trim has larger wheels and some other external trim that’s included, so it looks a bit classier than the Classic model, or flashier depending on your taste. The price difference isn’t huge, so it might be worth moving up to the higher trim if you like that.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example||APR rates available|
|Cash price £12,000||APR 7.90%||Value of loan||From|
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12||Annual mileage of 8,000pa||£25,000+||6.9%|
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55||Term 48 months||£12,000-£24,999||7.9%|
|Optional final payment £4,285.79||Loan value £12,000||£8,000-£11,999||8.9%|
|Total amount payable £14,755.55||Deposit £0||<8,000||9.9%|
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