by Mark Takahashi, Senior Writer
Where Did We Drive It?
On the surface, our long-term 2018 Mini Countryman S E Hybrid is matching expectations set by the EPA estimates. But we're confident we can do better. So far we've used the Mini in a manner that isn't advantageous to a plug-in hybrid, and it would do better as a city car with short commutes and frequent and consistent charges.
In March, Travis drove it to Sacramento and back with no charging. The rest of the time it was commuting with other editors over distances just past the projected EV range.
As one of the few editors on staff within the EPA-rated 12 miles of electric range, I would likely have better results than colleagues with much longer commutes. With any luck, we'll be able to make this happen with me behind the wheel for an extended period. Stay tuned.
On a side note, we produced a video review of the Countryman S E on our YouTube channel. Check it out here.
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Manager of Content Strategy
Where Did We Drive It?
It's music to my ears when Fleetmaster Mike Schmidt tells me that a long-term test car needs break-in miles because it simplifies the weekend-planning process. I know I'll be driving most of the time, so all I have to do is find some interesting stops along the way. Fortunately, there are plenty of those within a few hours of Edmunds' Santa Monica headquarters. It happened over the holidays with our new long-term 2018 Mini Countryman Hybrid — or the Cooper S E Countryman All4, if you speak Mini.
As is my wont, I settled on a Central Coast destination — Harmony Headlands State Park this time — but I resolved to take the long way, heading north on Interstate 5 and then west across Route 46 to Highway 1. It's a diverse drive, encompassing everything from craggy mountain ridges to the Central Valley's endless rows of crops to the gentle hills that roll toward Paso Robles, with the James Dean Memorial Junction thrown in for good measure.
by Cameron Rogers, Staff Writer
What Did We Get?
Seven years ago, we asked a simple question: "How big can a Mini get and still be called a Mini?" We added a brand-new 2011 Mini Cooper Countryman S to our long-term fleet to find out. And over the course of a year, we found that, despite a more substantial footprint and a somewhat hefty curb weight, Mini had successfully injected its fun-to-drive DNA into a small SUV.
We were skeptical that lightning would strike twice when the wraps were pulled off a new, even larger model last year. We decided this redesigned Countryman was worth a second go-round in our fleet, but there was some debate over which powertrain to get. A vocal contingent supported the Cooper S for its strong turbocharged four-cylinder, while others rallied for the new Cooper S E plug-in hybrid for a chance to explore its unique powertrain. At the end of the day, the Cooper S E won out, and we ordered a 2018 Mini Countryman Hybrid.