The MINI Copper Countryman was designated a mid-size car in a 2017 makeover and for 2019 we test drove the BMW-owned Mini contribution to the green car revolution.

The hybrid with plug-in all-wheel drive Cooper Countryman SE is the largest and most powerful Mini and the best-selling Mini of the four trims.

Fully charged and in all-electric mode, we were good for 12 miles before the gas engine kicked in and mated with the 7.6 kilowatt lithium-ion battery pack, eliminating range anxiety. Total range using premium gas is an EPA estimated 270 miles.

We enjoyed lengthy interstate trips with the electric motor powering rear wheels; the gasoline engine powering front wheels, thus all-wheel drive, a comfort driving on rain-slicked roads wearing 18-inch run-flat, all-season tires. There is no spare.

The Countryman is sprightly, nimble and a fun to drive, especially on truck-infested interstates where its quickness was welcome in avoiding side-by-side tractor-trailer travel, using Sport mode. There is also green and mid-drive modes.

The PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) Sport Edition Package for $2,900 made it environmentally acceptable and a $1,700 Touchscreen Navigation Package made it driver friendly.

Lastly, a $2,000 JCW appearance package, made the options pricey and 17% of the total vehicle cost. MINI claims its vehicles can be customized 10 million ways.

Attention getting, our Mini sported yellow-capped side mirrors contrasting with Thunder Grey paint, yellow circles in the center of 18-inch wheels and yellow side E-logos encased in chrome, bragging this is an electric vehicle.

Nimble handling and responsive steering were major pluses, although the ride was average due to the run-flat tires that the suspension allowed road imperfections to be felt.

Driver safety aids included parking sensors and a rear view camera but ostensibly missing were blind spot detection, lane keeping alert, and dynamic cruise control – all would have been welcome options.

Inside, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, synthetic suede headliner, 8.8-inch center dashboard touch-screen, bolstered cloth seats, ample space and quality looking materials made the cabin attractive.

A center spine knob mined the screen for information and functions, voice recognition was excellent, harmon/kardon radio produced clean sound (there is no CD player) and fold flat rear seats expanded cargo space nicely, with a bin under the cargo floor for the plug.

There are driver-side and front sun visors.

LIKES: Looks, handling, upscale ergonomic cabin, power, drive modes.

DISLIKES: Mileage, lack of driver safety aids, pricey.

BOTTOM LINE: For those who love cute, sprightly, iconic and green.


Base price w/destination fee: $36,750 ($45,750 as tested)

Vehicle weight: 3,948 lbs.

Wheelbase: 105.1 inches

Length: 169.8 inches

Width: 71.7 inches

Engine: 1.5-liter turbocharged inline 3-cyclinder w/electric motor

Horsepower: 134-hp @4,400 rpm, gas 221-hp with 87-hp electric

Torque: 162 lb-ft@ 1,250 rpm gas only 284 lb-ft with electric

Transmission: 6-speed Steptronic automatic with side-shift manual

EPA rating: 27 mpg average

Range: 9.5 gallons, premium

Performance: 0-60 in 6.8 seconds

Tom Crosby is a former journalist and communications director for AAA Carolinas. He has been reviewing cars since 1996, and has been active in traffic safety issues for more than 30 years.