2018 Mini Countryman SE Hybrid: Monthly Update for July 2018
by Mark Takahashi, Senior Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
It's summer, and that usually means road trips. Kurt took our long-term 2018 Mini Countryman SE Hybrid for a spin around the Southwest, logging almost 1,800 miles. And Caroline took a quick trip to Disneyland. Other than that, it was commuting business as usual.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our Mini Countryman isn't well-suited for long road trips. As a plug-in hybrid with limited electric range, it's better as a city commuter. But Kurt's road trip improved our overall gasoline-only stats enough to beat the EPA combined estimate. In June, we were just 0.1 mpg shy.
All those miles put the Mini over the 30 mpg threshold for the month in combined driving, averaging 31.8 mpg through July.
Average true gasoline mpg: 28.5
EPA mpg rating: 27 mpg combined
Average electric range: 11.4 miles
Best electric range: 21.4 miles
EPA electric range rating: 12 miles
Current odometer: 9,195 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"The thing I love about driving an electric car is its smooth, quiet acceleration. And with the Mini, even after it switched over to gas mode, it still had that similarly smooth, quiet power. It wasn't super quick, but it didn't seem to accelerate all that differently from its EV mode." — Caroline Pardilla, senior copy editor
"Highway fuel economy is very dependent on speed. Cruising at or around 65-70 mph can get you a solid 35 mpg. But once the posted speed limits creep up to 75 or 80 in New Mexico and Texas, you'll be lucky to clear 30 mpg. That might seem kind of a no-brainer, but with a fuel tank as small as this SE Countryman's, you need all the highway mileage you can get." — Kurt Niebuhr, road test editor
"While I was driving our Mini to Disneyland (well, really to Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar to acquire a highly coveted Piranha tiki mug), I thought the 45-mile drive would quickly eat up the electric range. But the horrendous stop-and-go traffic really helped prolong the inevitable switchover, which didn't happen until I was more than halfway to my destination. Bonus was that the switchover wasn't jarring at all, but rather seamless with no detectable shudder or engine drone. If I didn't need to keep an eye on the switchover point to accurately log our fuel economy numbers, I wouldn't have known it happened." — Caroline Pardilla
"A distinctive feature of our Mini, or any Mini for that matter, is its chopped-down-looking greenhouse. Where that comes into play is on the open road, in full sun, where the low roofline and short side windows really help keep the sun out of the cabin. Even at well before, or well after high noon, the sun never made it across the dashboard and onto passengers. That keeps the cabin cooler and the passengers happier." — Kurt Niebuhr
"I rarely use a car's native navigation system because (1) I don't usually go anywhere I haven't been before, and (2) I like to know where I'm going and how I'm getting there before I leave. But I found the Mini's system really helpful for on-the-fly instructions, especially when it comes to lane choice for turning or exit ramps." — Kurt Niebuhr
"This Countryman is an American-size Mini. I saw one of these on a typically tight European boulevard recently, and it looked gigantic and bloated, completely out of place with all of the assorted Citroëns, VWs and Renaults. For example, here's our Mini parked next to a first-gen Highlander." — Kurt Niebuhr