Our Cars: MINI Countryman PHEV

8 March 2018: The joy of PHEV

The Details

Current mileage 3439
Claimed economy 134.5mpg
Actual economy 51.5mpg

It occurs to me that I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the finer details of PHEV ownership and the things that have annoyed or disappointed me about BIG MINI. But actually, there’s a lot that I really like about this car – and, arguably more importantly, that the kids do.

For a start there’s nothing quite like this car. Think what you like about the whole BIG MINI concept, but in execution there’s no other medium sized SUV crossover thing with this much personality. Even if you hate it, that sort of proves the point.

The kids have picked up on this (they’re 8 and 10), and the younger of the two, my daughter, especially loves the MINI. Granted, a lot of it is to do with this car’s predecessor in our household, an Audi A5. They hated that, obviously – two doors, 6'4" dad and so on. The arguments about who sat behind me were constant.

So the space that the MINI affords is freedom to them. And it really is spacious. I’ve not talked about that at all yet. This is a proper five-seat car, but more than that, it’s actually quite small with it. It’s packaged well – small enough to feel compact and maneuverable on the road, but with proper interior space.

Mini E Cooper S 024

                                                  Beige. Like a pensioner's trousers...

The beige leather upholstery is beautiful too, right down to the details of the stitching and the two-tone asymmetry of the door cards is nice little detail. The kids love the dashboard lights too – which includes neon pinstripe illumination of the majority of the passenger side trim. Sounds cheesy and rubbish, but in the MINI it works really well. 

Changing the colour of the lights is a fun thing to do now – we all tend to agree on it. in the last MINI I had, a couple of years ago, it caused no end of arguments. Mainly whose turn it was to choose the colour and what it should be. (The lights cylcle their colours at night if a door is open too - another cool, if slightly pointless, feature.) 

And then there’s just the look of the thing from the inside. I still have a real soft spot for MINI interior design. It’s fun: the toggle switches, the massive screen, the sense of quality, the lights. At a time when every new car seems to be a crossover of some sort - and they’re all starting to look largely the same and not that interesting - BIG MINI’s idiosyncrasies are very welcome. 

Finally there's the boot, which at 405 litres is 45 down on a regular BIG MINI's (because of the battery and what have you), but is still more than big enough for family duties. Plus the loading floor is high and flat by default, and the rear bench splits 40/20/40.  On a basic level, it's just a lovely family car. Interesting and practical. 


                                             Behold! BIG MINI boot holds many things.

« Earlier: Does tax make this PHEV worthwhile?     Later: BIG MINI, why so glitchy? »

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8 March 2018: The joy of PHEV
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