Rear seats in the 2018 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4 are split 40/20/40 and fold flat to provide an impressive amount of cargo space. (Manufacturer photo)

Rear seats in the 2018 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4 are split 40/20/40 and fold flat to provide an impressive amount of cargo space. (Manufacturer photo)

Mini Cooper Countryman makes a plug-in power play

The 2018 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4 offers electric-only as well as hybrid operation.

Mini, the British brand acquired by BMW in 2000, now includes a plug-in electric hybrid whose name is nearly as long as the car itself: the 2018 Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4.

“Countryman All4” makes me think of Paul Revere, but Countryman is the name of a pre-existing version of the Mini Cooper that’s bigger, roomier and more SUV-like than the others, and All4 is what Mini creatively calls its all-wheel drive system. The S and E indicate higher performance and plug-in capability.

Another indicator of the plug-in capability is the big bright cover on the charging port, located near the front on the driver’s side. There’s another one on the front passenger side, providing symmetry and visual appeal, but it’s cosmetic, not functional.

A three-cylinder gasoline engine in front and an electric motor tucked beneath the rear seat combine to produce a total output of 221 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.

In electric-only mode, the plug-in Countryman can travel up to 12 miles before running out of juice. That’s a comfortable distance for downtown dwellers, but not much for those of us who live in the Snohomish County backcountry. No worries, though. The hybrid system would kick in well before the car started rolling to a stop in the middle of I-5.

The hybrid system switches back and forth between electric and gas so smoothly it isn’t even noticeable.

When operating in hybrid mode, the Mini Cooper S E Countryman All4 has a combined (city/highway) EPA rating of 27 mpg. For full electric and gas, the EPA rating is 65 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent). Unfortunately, the car’s 9.5-gallon fuel tank means more frequent stops at the gas station, which can give a false impression of reduced fuel economy.

By using the eDrive toggle switch in the plug-in Mini, the driver can select from three different modes: Auto eDrive, which is electric-only up to 55 mph; Max eDrive, purely electric up to 78 mph; and Save Battery, when the combustion engine provides all the power and the battery charge is kept above 90 percent or raised to that level by the starter generator. The electric power can be kept on tap for later use.

I have to disclose an episode that happened on the U.S. 2 trestle during my test week, which was very recent. Do I even have to mention that the road was soaking wet at the time? Traffic was moving at a fast clip when it suddenly started coming to a stop and I had to hit the brake pedal with a vengeance. Let’s just say that the S E Countryman didn’t do the finest of jobs coming to a stop. But I didn’t hurt anything or anyone, and NO, I WASN’T TAILGATING.

Even with the added weight of the hybrid system, the plug-in Countryman’s handling is still fun and kart-like on winding roads. The generous amount of space inside the cabin, along with fold-flat rear seats, makes the car practical, too. It can hold an impressive amount of stuff for such a little thing, and its small size makes it sheer joy in tight parking situations, of course.

The interior is extremely well made and its Mini-trademark assortment of whimsical-looking features, including lots of toggle switches and a big round center display for the infotainment system, are wonderful enough to make a person want to just sit there and play with them for no reason.

2018 MINI COOPER S E COUNTRYMAN ALL4

Base price, including destination charge: $37,650

Price as driven: $39,700

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Life

Pet detective Jim Branson stops to poke through some fur that Raphael the dog found while searching on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Everett, Washington. Branson determined the fur in question was likely from a rabbit, and not a missing cat.(Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lost a pet? Pet detective James Branson and his dogs may be able to help

James Branson, founder of Three Retrievers Lost Pet Rescue, helps people in the Seattle area find their missing pets for $350.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Whidbey Renaissance Faire volunteers pose in their costumes. (Photo by Bree Eaton)
Faire thee well: Renaissance is coming to Whidbey Island

The volunteer-run fair May 25 and 26 will feature dancers, a juggler, ‘Fakespeare,’ various live music shows and lots of food.

From a 17th-century warship to ABBA, Stockholm’s delights span the ages

The city — known for Nobel prizes, “Pippy Longstocking” and a very tall city hall — sits on 14 islands connected by 54 bridges.

A guitarist keeps rhythm during Lovely Color’s set on the opening night of Fisherman’s Village on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Black Lab in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
No matter what music you’re into, Fisherman’s Village has a hook for you

From folk to psychedelic pop to hip-hop, here’s a quick guide to artists you might want to check out in downtown Everett.

Patterson Hood (left) and Mike Cooley perform with Drive-By Truckers at Tuscaloosa Amphitheater in 2018. (Ben Flanagan / AL.com)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Take in the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival in downtown Everett and get a close-up look at unique aircraft at Paine Field.

On moving day for elderly mom, a moving reminder of what matters in life

Older adults don’t talk much about accomplishments during their working lives. Instead, they talk about the value of family.

Iberia told me to file a chargeback, but now I don’t have a ticket

When Joel Revill’s ticket purchase doesn’t go through, a representative advises him to dispute it on his credit card.

Paeonia Itoh Hybrids "Lolliepop" in the spring garden
Bushy with big blooms, Itohs blend the best of herbaceous, tree peonies

A bit spendy, this sought-after hybrid, with its multi-colored flowers and lush foliage, offers plenty of bang for your buck.

A child gets some assistance dancing during Narrow Tarot’s set on the opening night of Fisherman’s Village on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Lucky Dime in downtown Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Fisherman’s Village 2024 casts a wide musical net in Everett

From Allen Stone to a local musician showcase at Zamarama Gallery, get ready for it to get loud downtown.

Gnomes, per lore, are more than garden decor. This guy’s ready to travel.

In fact, his atypical attributes — a blue cap and total lack of garden tools — make this pottery gnome all the more valuable.

Primula denticulata is native to the Himalaya Mountains of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Tibet, Burma, and China. The habitat is wet meadows from 5,000 feet to 14,500 feet. (Richie Steffen/Great Plant Picks)
Great Plant Pick: Drumstick primrose

What: This primrose, also known as Primula denticulata, is quite like a… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.