Long-term test review: MINI Countryman PHEV




Image 1 of 17
Image 1 of 17

7 Jan, 2018 10:00am

Tom Barnard

First report: as the plug-in hybrid MINI Countryman PHEV joins our fleet, we consider the merits of having two fuel sources

Mileage: 4,589Economy: 53.1mpg
Three decades ago one of the most memorable adverts on TV was for Wash Go. A cheerful catchline asked us why we thought it necessary to take two bottles into the shower when just one would do.
If eighties tech allowed us to combine shampoo and conditioner into one, then is it a backwards step that our new MINI Countryman PHEV needs two types of fuel? Is it an inconvenience or a great advance? That question has us in a bit of a lather.
Best hybrid cars on sale
Theres no doubting the tech really is clever. MINI has combined a 1.5-litre petrol three-cylinder at the front and an 87bhp electric motor at the rear; together they produce a substantial 221bhp. Theres the added advantage of four-wheel-drive grip, potential for great economy and silent, clean EV running when youre in town.

Image 3 of 17
Image 3 of 17

The system works seamlessly, flicking almost imperceptibly between the modes; you have to check the cars built-in monitor to see where your propulsion is coming from. Putting the MINI into Sport mode when the battery is charged means its really quite lively, too, especially at lower speeds. There will be few cars which could beat the MINI away from a standstill, because the petrol engine starts quickly and comes to the aid of the electric motor, making slotting into gaps in the traffic easy.
Making the most of the performance hits efficiency, though. The electric part only works really well if the battery is charged, and that means plugging it in at the end of every journey.


Filling up with electricity is far cheaper than filling up with petrol, so we plug the MINI in at every opportunity. As I have sockets at home and can usually find a charging point in the Auto Express car park, it means the MINI is getting its battery topped up twice a day.
This regime means the engine is only being used on a few junctions of motorway and at the end of the journey when the battery is inevitably depleted. With this routine and a few longer journeys in between it means the MINI is averaging 53.1mpg. Thats pretty impressive for a car with 221bhp.
So far so good, but its not all rosy. For a start, its a reasonable amount of effort attaching cables at the end of every journey. As the MINI will only manage 15 to 20 miles on EV power alone, you do need to top up even after popping to the shops.

Image 15 of 17
Image 15 of 17

Longer journeys mean the petrol engine is working hard, which ensures its not that economical when theres no electricity left to help out, especially as it has to carry around the 150kg extra weight of a battery and electric motor. On petrol power alone, the MINI will manage around 35mpg.
Fitting all of that extra hardware has also meant the fuel tank has been shrunk to make room, with the capacity going down from 51 litres to 36 litres. As a result, those longer journeys are a bit of a chore on a recent long haul we had to fill up twice in one day as the range dips down to 220 miles. Add in the need to plug in, too, and it all starts to seem like an inconvenience.
Still, due to the fact its official fuel consumption figures are so good, the hybrid makes enormous sense as a company car because it will save drivers a fortune in emissions-based Benefit-in-Kind tax. London commuters like me are spared the Congestion Charge, too.
*Insurance quote from AA 0800 107 0680 for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.



4



If most of your journeys are shorter than 20 miles, you have somewhere to plug the car in to charge the batteries and only occasionally need to go further than 200 miles in one swoop, then the MINI Countryman Hybrid will seem like the best innovation since that 2-in-1 shampoo. If you dont, then the figures wont quite wash.


Model: MINI Countryman Cooper S E ALL4
On fleet since: October 2017
Price new: 31,575 29,075 after Government grant
Engine: 1.5-litre 3cyl turbo petrol plus electric motor, 221bhp
CO2/tax: 49g/km/130




Options: Metallic paint 550, half leather seats 645 heated seats 270, Media Pack 1,100, climate control 460, LED headlights 1,100, Electric Tailgate 375, Comfort Access 350, tinted windows 290
Insurance*: Group: 26 Quote: 486
Mileage/mpg: 4,589/53.1mpg
Any problems?: Charger once detected current leakage and ceased charge


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Long-term test review: MINI Countryman PHEV
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Reviews (1):
Long-term test review: MINI Countryman PHEV
3 years ago

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/mini/countryman/102214/long-term-test-review-mini-countryman-phev


Image 1 of 17
Image 1 of 17

7 Jan, 2018 10:00am

Tom Barnard

First report: as the plug-in hybrid MINI Countryman PHEV joins our fleet, we consider the merits of having two fuel sources

Mileage: 4,589Economy: 53.1mpg
Three decades ago one of the most memorable adverts on TV was for Wash Go. A cheerful catchline asked us why we thought it necessary to take two bottles into the shower when just one would do.
If eighties tech allowed us to combine shampoo and conditioner into one, then is it a backwards step that our new MINI Countryman PHEV needs two types of fuel? Is it an inconvenience or a great advance? That question has us in a bit of a lather.
Best hybrid cars on sale
Theres no doubting the tech really is clever. MINI has combined a 1.5-litre petrol three-cylinder at the front and an 87bhp electric motor at the rear; together they produce a substantial 221bhp. Theres the added advantage of four-wheel-drive grip, potential for great economy and silent, clean EV running when youre in town.

Image 3 of 17
Image 3 of 17

The system works seamlessly, flicking almost imperceptibly between the modes; you have to check the cars built-in monitor to see where your propulsion is coming from. Putting the MINI into Sport mode when the battery is charged means its really quite lively, too, especially at lower speeds. There will be few cars which could beat the MINI away from a standstill, because the petrol engine starts quickly and comes to the aid of the electric motor, making slotting into gaps in the traffic easy.
Making the most of the performance hits efficiency, though. The electric part only works really well if the battery is charged, and that means plugging it in at the end of every journey.


Filling up with electricity is far cheaper than filling up with petrol, so we plug the MINI in at every opportunity. As I have sockets at home and can usually find a charging point in the Auto Express car park, it means the MINI is getting its battery topped up twice a day.
This regime means the engine is only being used on a few junctions of motorway and at the end of the journey when the battery is inevitably depleted. With this routine and a few longer journeys in between it means the MINI is averaging 53.1mpg. Thats pretty impressive for a car with 221bhp.
So far so good, but its not all rosy. For a start, its a reasonable amount of effort attaching cables at the end of every journey. As the MINI will only manage 15 to 20 miles on EV power alone, you do need to top up even after popping to the shops.

Image 15 of 17
Image 15 of 17

Longer journeys mean the petrol engine is working hard, which ensures its not that economical when theres no electricity left to help out, especially as it has to carry around the 150kg extra weight of a battery and electric motor. On petrol power alone, the MINI will manage around 35mpg.
Fitting all of that extra hardware has also meant the fuel tank has been shrunk to make room, with the capacity going down from 51 litres to 36 litres. As a result, those longer journeys are a bit of a chore on a recent long haul we had to fill up twice in one day as the range dips down to 220 miles. Add in the need to plug in, too, and it all starts to seem like an inconvenience.
Still, due to the fact its official fuel consumption figures are so good, the hybrid makes enormous sense as a company car because it will save drivers a fortune in emissions-based Benefit-in-Kind tax. London commuters like me are spared the Congestion Charge, too.
*Insurance quote from AA 0800 107 0680 for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.



4



If most of your journeys are shorter than 20 miles, you have somewhere to plug the car in to charge the batteries and only occasionally need to go further than 200 miles in one swoop, then the MINI Countryman Hybrid will seem like the best innovation since that 2-in-1 shampoo. If you dont, then the figures wont quite wash.


Model: MINI Countryman Cooper S E ALL4
On fleet since: October 2017
Price new: 31,575 29,075 after Government grant
Engine: 1.5-litre 3cyl turbo petrol plus electric motor, 221bhp
CO2/tax: 49g/km/130




Options: Metallic paint 550, half leather seats 645 heated seats 270, Media Pack 1,100, climate control 460, LED headlights 1,100, Electric Tailgate 375, Comfort Access 350, tinted windows 290
Insurance*: Group: 26 Quote: 486
Mileage/mpg: 4,589/53.1mpg
Any problems?: Charger once detected current leakage and ceased charge


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