The first thing to address is the real name of this vehicle. You’re looking at the MINI Cooper Countryman SE ALL4 Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). Fortunately, it’s as good as its name is long.
If you’re looking for eco-friendly guilt-free motoring that’s still fun, practical, and premium, then the MINI should be atop your car shopping list.
1: IT’S GOT TWO POWER SOURCES
That’s what the HEV in PHEV stands for. This MINI Countryman comes with both a 125bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine driving the front wheels and a 95bhp electric motor driving the rear wheels. That’s why it has the ALL4 label, because it’s an all-wheel drive, but not in the traditional sense. There is no physical connection between the front and rear wheels. But don’t worry, it’s all handled electronically and seamlessly manages traction at all corners based on the drive mode. MINI calls this eALL4 drive.
2: IT’S FAST
Believe it or not, this is the second fastest MINI in the Countryman line up, behind the ballistic Countryman John Cooper Works. That MINI has a turbocharged 2-litre engine with an output of 306bhp. The Cooper Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV, at full force with both its motors, has a combined power output of 221bhp and a massive slug of 284lb/ft of torque. The addition of instant electric torque and all-wheel drive to enhance traction makes the Countryman PHEV hit 60mph in 6.8 seconds. The John Cooper Works does the 60mph run in 5.1 seconds while the non-PHEV Cooper Countryman S takes 7.3 seconds.
3: IT’S ECONOMICAL
The standard MINI is already a fuel champ on its standard three-cylinder internal combustion engine, able to hit up to 44mpg under the right conditions. As a PHEV it’s quite possible not to use any fuel at all. The eDrive motor is powered by a 10kWh battery giving the Countryman PHEV an electric only range of approximately 30 miles at around 80mph of maximum speed. During certain driving modes, the MINI will switch back and forth between whatever option is most economical.
4: IT’S EASY TO CHARGE
As per its name, the Countryman PHEV can be plugged into a standard three pin socket for the slowest and cheapest charging method. Charging in that manner, the battery can be topped up in less than four hours.
Fortunately the price of the Countryman PHEV includes a Homecharge unit, a dedicated charging station that can replenish the battery in just under two and half hours. The Homecharge unit replicates the typical AC public charging station. When ready to charge, tap the E badge on the left front fender to open and reveal the charging port. From there, plug it in. The vehicle will not allow you to drive away with the charging cable still attached as it prevents any movement while charging is active, so make sure to park good.
5: IT’S FUN TO CHARGE
Yes, you can plug it in, but you can also charge it on the go. The Countryman PHEV can recoup energy as its being driven. It uses three main strategies, which can be seen from the digital instrument panel, recharging using the engine, or regenerating from braking and coasting. In SAVE BATTERY mode the battery is charged only, up to 90%, with no eDrive usage available.
These three charging strategies benefit from spirited driving, so have fun turning petrol into electrons in the 2022 Cooper Countryman SE ALL4 PHEV.