I was recently lucky enough to have an extended test drive of the MINI Countryman Plug-In Hybrid, a car I’ve been keen to experience since I got word that the electric MINI’s were coming.
With an electric range of 24.8 miles (NEDC) this car could be the answer to fairly short distance commuters who are not quite ready to go All-Electric but want something a bit more eco-friendly and a little more trendy than some of the other PHEVs on offer.
On first impressions of the exterior I really liked it, it was sleek and just a little aggressive, it’s reasonably sized yet still manages to keep some of the iconic MINI features.
Inside I found it roomy and comfortable, the 3 driving modes made it easy to switch from fully electric (Max eDrive), Petrol use only (Save Battery) and Auto eDrive – the option where the car decides what fuel source to use based on your driving style.
There are some useful features to help you ‘keep an eye’ on your consumption and your fuel usage. The first being the trim surrounding the display, when using electric it glows yellow and gives you an indication of your remaining electric range. You can also toggle through different options on the display to show you the percentage of battery remaining and remaining range. The E-Instruments gauge is to the left of your tachometer and this shows you the status of your fuel usage (i.e. when you are using petrol and when using electric).
On usage, it breezed through my short 12 mile commute to work on fully electric – I knew it would. I used the car around town on the Saturday taking it to the DIY store where the roomy boot space came in useful, again only using electric for my short journeys. On the Sunday I travelled a bit further, taking the MINI to Woburn Centre Parks. With a car full of family I decided to try the ‘Auto eDrive’ driving mode. It changed effortlessly between petrol and electric fuel whilst maintaining a quiet ambience within the cab.
The Navigation software was a little complicated to read, but I think this is just the style of the software, much like the BMW Navigation system. I’m sure I would have got used to it after a bit more use.
My experience on charging will be a little different to others as I don’t have a charge point at home, it was doable but I did need to charge publicly quite often which wasn’t ideal. Not having a home charge point doesn’t cause me any issue with my fully electric car because I don’t need to charge up as often but this approach doesn’t lend itself well to a plug-in Hybrid, as you do need to charge it everyday to make real use of the electric motor.
Overall I really liked this car. It was good to drive, I love the look and I can certainly see this being a top player in the PHEV market.
If the spec, look and feel of the MINI Countryman PHEV is anything to go by then I eagerly await the all-electric MINI.
See our dedicated page for MINI Countryman Plug-In Hybrid prices.