2021 Mini Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV new car reviews

Mechanically related to both the BMW X1 and X2, the Mini Countryman is, more or less, a small luxury crossover. It may only be Mini in name, but at least a spicy version is offered in the form of the all-wheel-drive John Cooper Works version.

Of course, this Countryman is not that version. Instead, it’s the Cooper SE ALL4. What makes it different than the rest of the lineup? That “E” in the “SE.”

Powering this Countryman is a plug-in hybrid system that consists of a 221-horsepower, turbocharged inline-three mated to an 87-horspower electric powertrain. Working in tandem, the whole system is rated for 134 horsepower and 162 lb.-ft. of torque.

What is the hybrid version of Mini’s small crossover like to live with? Read our driving impressions below.

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Other staff views

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard
Publisher

In 2001 when the MINI was reimagined by BMW we were in love. We nearly instantly got one as a magazine project car and took it everywhere from Christmas tree shopping to the SCCA Solo National Championships where we finished 2nd in H Stock.

The original MINI was a perfect-sized car at a perfect time at a reasonable price. It was love at first sight, and that love grew even more once we got our hands on a Cooper S that we then raced all over the country.

Sales on these early MINIs echoed our feelings, as BMW sold nearly twice as many as they had budgeted to sell.

And from that auspicious, epic recreation of a brand, we now have the a big four-door, funny-looking, high hooded, behemoth: the MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV.

Did MINI marketing and design people ruin our iconic car? Did they just react to a changing and often fickle market? Did they just get greedy and keep coming out with more and more, bigger, heavier and weirder-looking models?

We don’t really know, but we have our suspicions. What we do know is that no one needs a $46,500 SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV. This car is terribly overpriced, is not fun to drive, rides like a dump truck, is not genuinely fast, does not handle well and is not particularly roomy. If you need this kind of vehicle, then get a Honda CR-V or something similar.

Sorry, but we really have very little good to say about this MINI crossover.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Here, I'll cut to the chase on this one: If you're looking for the Mini of plug-ins, here’s your option. I know, there are likely more economical choices from Asia and other parts. And they’re darn good, too. Why not a Kia or Hyundai?

Why, because you want to run a plug-in but also like Mini's Mini-ness. This one has some style, some pizzazz. You don’t care about the cost, the interior space, the ride or anything else. You want something different.

It’s comfortable and capable–I didn’t hate it as much as Tim did–but ours also would cost $46,000 to duplicate. That seems a bit pricey to me.

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