Details for LJS CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING - Ad from 2019-05-25

MINI Has Surprises
What was tested?

2019 MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV ($36,900).
Wheelbase: 105.1 in.
Length: 169.8 in. Width: 71.7 in. Height: 61.3 in.
Engine: 1.5L 3 cyl. plus electric motor.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic.
Fuel economy: Combined 65 MPGe (electric),
combined 27 MPG (gasoline only).


Style: 9
Performance: 7
Price: 7
Handling: 8
Ride: 6
Comfort: 6
Quality: 7
Overall: 7

Why buy it?

The Countryman combines the
family-friendly appeal of a small
CUV with the unmistakable
style and a hint of go-kart-like
handling from the MINI Cooper.

By Derek Price

Countryman Offers Bigger Size, Electric Power for Short Trips
The vehicle I’m driving this
week offers two things I wasn’t
expecting from a MINI Cooper:
ample cabin space and part-time
electric propulsion.
That’s because this version isn’t
the ordinary flavor of the Cooper
— now renamed the MINI Cooper
Hardtop, with its two doors,
diminutive size, roller-skate handling and adorable looks — but
instead the Countryman, which is
a different beast altogether.
The Countryman is significantly
larger than the MINI most
Americans are used to seeing on
our roads. It also rides up higher,
has four doors and is available
with all-wheel drive, making it
function more like a small SUV
than a sports coupe.

Even more unusual, the
Countryman I tested is the plug-in
hybrid variant called the Cooper
SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV. It still
has a gasoline engine, but you also
have the option of charging it for
up to 12 miles of driving under
pure electric power, according to
federal government estimates.
After the gas engine kicks in, the
overall driving range is 270 miles
total, with a rated MPG equivalent
of 65 miles per gallon.
What impresses me the most
about driving it wasn’t the stingy
gas mileage or the ability to drive
a few miles under battery power.
It’s the smoothness and speed
under acceleration that blows me
Mash the gas pedal to the floor,
and you’ll go from zero to 60 mph

in 6.7 seconds. No, that’s not performancecar territory by any
stretch of the imagination, but it’s
lightning quick compared to most
non-luxury hybrids I’ve driven. It’s
fast and responsive, a key part of
keeping this car feeling like a legitimate MINI from the driver’s seat.
Both the electric motor and
gasoline engine combine to make
221 horsepower and 284 poundfeet of torque.
Handling is not as firm and
flickable as the smaller MINIs, but
that’s to be expected in a vehicle
that carries considerably more
heft. This MINI is meant to be
more useful for families, with just
a hint of the brand’s famous gokart-like handling still apparent.
With full-size seats for five people and surprisingly generous

headroom, the Countryman feels
more spacious in real life than it
looks in pictures. The familiar
shape, cute hood and distinctive
headlights can be deceiving.
The Countryman is roughly 18
inches longer and 6 inches higher
than the two-door MINI Cooper
Hardtop, a drastic difference when
you see them parked side by side.
It tries hard to carry the same
spunky styling over from the
smaller Cooper, though, including
in the cabin. It uses the same
quirky, circular motif on the center
stack, gauges and even door handles, a decision that files in the
face of contemporary dash design
that favors minimalist horizontal
— some would say “boring” —
swaths of solid colors.

In fact, I think its stand-apart
styling is the biggest reason to pick
a Countryman over its many competent competitors. I’m not alone
in complaining that today’s SUVs
and CUVs all seem to be playing
copycat, mimicking the same overall shapes as every other brand.
This one, though, is unmistakable as a MINI. It functions as
practically and logically as the
myriad of liftback, four-door, family-friendly cars that are flooding
America’s roadways each year, but
it looks like a lot more fun.
The Cooper Countryman starts
at $26,900. All-wheel drive adds
$2,000 to that price. The plug-in
hybrid starts at $36,900, while the
performance-oriented John
Cooper Works version tops the
lineup at $37,900.


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