Featured MINI Test Drive Reviews 

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Test Drive Review

When it comes to MINI, the amount of vehicles it offers is anything but. Of course, it makes the traditional hardtop –in two-door and four-door forms. Then there’s the two-door convertible for top-down driving fun. John Cooper Works (JCW) performs its tuning magic to give various MINI models sportier styling, greater power, and better handling. The Clubman has more room for passengers and their stuff. It’s even bigger brother is the Clubman. In fact, it’s officially the biggest MINI yet.

Standard equipment on the Clubman includes heated front seats, LED headlights and fog lights, a rear-view camera, keyless entry, and rear parking sensors. Like other MINIs, the Clubman’s available in a variety of trim lines and powertrain configurations, all of which are turbocharged. The base version—which we drove last September—has a 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. The hotter S model uses a 2.0-liter I4, which generates 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft. MINI’s ALL4 all-wheel drive system is available on both models. JCW’s version of the Countryman also has ALL4 and pumps out 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft thanks to its TwinPower Turbo 2.0-liter four. The S E ALL4 gets down the road with the output from two sources: an electric motor and a turbocharged gas engine (more on those later in the Performance section).

MINI gives potential buyers plenty of choices when it comes to size and performance. We’re especially glad they let us decide if we wanted to spend a week driving the 2018 Cooper S E Countryman ALL4. Can you guess what we told them?

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Exterior

It’s hard to deny that the Countryman has a certain lightheartedness to it. It’s a four-door SUV…er…Sports Activity Vehicle with a relatively upright profile, but it has no hard edges. It’s a two-box design yet not boxy. Every shape and surface seems to be rounded off. The headlight casings are large and friendly, just like the fog lights. The front grille can be seen as the mustache on the Countryman’s face.

MINI trimmed our Melting Silver test vehicle with a black roof, mirror housings, wheel arch and lower body trim, and 18-inch wheels. Those were wrapped in black, too— with performance run-flat tires. Out back, chrome letters span the distance between the jewel-like tail lights.

For the most part, the S E looks like its non-hybrid relatives. An easy way to tell it apart is by looking for yellow exterior accents, such as the “S” in the front grille and the MINI E logos on the front fenders and rear liftgate.

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Interior

Our evaluation vehicle’s interior was filled with easy-to-read gauges, black sport seats (heated in the front), broad lines of Hazy Grey trim, and glossy black HVAC vent bezels. The yellow engine start/stop switch was another giveaway that our Countryman ran on more than just gasoline. A look at our Countryman’s window sticker showed that MINI threw in its Advanced Wired Package, which added an 8.8-inch touchscreen with navigation and wireless device charging.

We found the inside of the Countryman S E to be a comfortable place—even after traveling 500 miles in it. The front seats were perfectly shaped and supportive. Sound from the outside had a hard time making its way into our ears. There was a surprising amount of headroom in the second row. This writer left the driver’s seat adjusted to his 5’10” build and found enough legroom to sit comfortably behind it in the second row.

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Performance

The JCW Countryman is the fastest Countryman you can buy with a 0-60 mph time of 6.2 seconds, but the S E ALL4 is only a half second slower and has the highest total output (horsepower and torque combined) of all Countrymans. Its turbocharged and direct-injected 1.5-liter I3 produces 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, and spins the front wheels. A six-speed automatic translates those figures into forward motion. The back wheels are rotated by an electric motor, which is paired with a 7.6-kWh lithium ion battery pack. The motor puts out 87 horsepower and 122 lb-ft, bringing the S E’s combined system power to 221 horsepower and 284 lb-ft. That was enough to enable the S E to accelerate briskly away from stop lights.

Three power modes and three drive modes allowed us to pilot the S E Countryman according to our needs and moods. In Electric mode, we could drive without using gas. Hybrid mode gave us maximum total driving range. Save Battery mode used power generated by the gas engine to partially recharge the battery and hold it at a 90-percent charge, which we could later tap into wherever we needed to use it. While running errands, we left the S E Countryman in its default setting. When we wanted a little more pep, we put it in Sport mode. If we wanted to stretch out our gas mileage, we switched to the Green setting.

MINI states the S E can go 12 miles on just electricity alone. However, after charging our press loaner at a station for approximately four hours (and a total of $8), we accumulated 15 miles of gas-free range. Officially, the S E’s complete driving range with a full tank and a completely charged battery pack is 270 miles. Using both electricity and gas, the S E is good for 65 MPGe, according to the EPA. On just gas alone, the S E can cover 27 combined (city/highway) MPG.**

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Safety

Safety equipment inside the S E Countryman includes eight airbags (two front, two side-impact, two side curtain, and two knee airbags), stability control, rain-sensing wipers, and a backup camera.

2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 Overall

MINI offers a variety of vehicles in general and several types of Countryman in particular. Prices for the 2018 Countryman start at $26,600. The S E Countryman ALL4’s base price is $36,800.* If you decide to load your S E Countryman up to the point our test vehicle was loaded, it’ll cost you $40,000. Just be sure that when you do choose to buy a 2018 MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 that you do it at an AutoNation MINI dealership.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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