Our Cars: MINI Countryman PHEV

25 January 2018: BIG MINI, big miles, big bills

The Details

Current mileage 2825
Claimed economy 134.5mpg
Actual economy 56.2mpg

Early days with the MINI were an absolute joy. We were rarely dipping into the tank during the 20-mile(ish) round trip it was doing daily and so it seemed, in a purely pragmatic, non-scientific way, a highly economical, highly sensible experience.

Then we started taking the car further afield – trips from Newcastle to the HJ office in Northamptonshire, for instance. The contrast was jarring.

Here’s an example. Recently during a journey from the office back home, when the car hadn’t been charged beforehand, we used 27.01 litres of fuel doing 198.3 miles. All but five miles or so was on the motorway, and at sensible, cautious pace. (Honestly.)

That means we used 5.94 gallons, which means our economy was 33.38mpg. I know, right. Absolutely brilliant…hang on.

Mini E Cooper S 026CROP

                                                        The MINI PHEV doing its thing

See, on the motorway the whole PHEV concept falls apart here, because in anyone’s book, 33mpg for a gentle motorway journey in a three-cylinder petrol car is awful. We’ve flipped convention on its head here. Normal petrol or diesel cars are at their most efficient on the motorway, generally. BIG MINI is at its worst.

Things slightly improve when the car’s charged. Same journey going the other way a few weeks later, for example – from home to the office, after BIG MINI had been plugged in overnight – gave us 35.8mpg. Hardly a leap though, right.

Plus, with the fuel tank being just 36 litres it means we’re constantly filling the thing up. There’s something in that too – of course, the fuel bills aren’t huge (£40 a pop seems reasonable these days), but being at the pumps so regularly contributes to the feeling of being financially drained.

And so, again, that this is not a car for those who spend the majority of their time on the motorway. For a few good reasons. 

« Earlier: Big road test of BIG MINI [Pt.2]     Later: BIG MINI PHEV's charge sheet »

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