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MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2020 - )

The Countryman is MINI’s largest and most versatile model with four-door practicality plus optional four-wheel drive. Now there is a plug-in hybrid version with stunning Shadow Edition trimmings.

Starting price:
The model we tested was £42,555

Pros:
  • Shadow Edition model has real road presence
  • Still boasts traditional MINI handling despite size and added weight
  • Decent EV-only range for zero emission zones
Cons:
  • It feels quite heavy when braking
  • Expensive when you start adding the optional extras
  • EV range drops quickly if pushed on
Secure your test drive today
Request a MINI Countryman test drive

Introduction

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Shadow Edition brings lots of dark, mean and moody design cues to the MINI line-up and it really works on the four-door Countryman with its ultra-bold styling.

With go-kart handling still adding to the fun-factor, the Countryman – which is MINI’s most practical car – offers space, versatility, the option of 4WD and all the traditional MINI styling traits.

It’s MINI through and through, but with a dark edge to it. The MINI Countryman line-up costs from £25,305, but we opted for the plug-in hybrid model and that started at £38,450.


 

On The Road

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Performance

Our plug-in petrol hybrid MINI Countryman was powered by a three-cylinder, 1.5-litre engine with a 70kW electric motor to deliver a combined 220hp and 385Nm of torque. 

It could reach 60mph from a standing start in 6.8 seconds and topped out at 123mph. It can run in pure electric mode for about 30 miles and regenerative braking helps to boost the battery levels along the way.

This MINI features a six-speed automatic gearbox and, although there are no steering wheel paddles, the gear lever can be used to change gears manually.

Drive modes called Green, Mid and Sport alter the characteristics and performance of the car, and these different modes also change the appearance of the main circular touchscreen infotainment system with the outer rim glowing green for the eco driving style and red for sport mode.

In addition, there are hybrid-specific modes that are accessed via the eDrive switch and these include Max eDrive, Auto eDrive and Save eDrive. The Save function is really handy if you plan on travelling through a Congestion Charge zone as it stores the EV charge.

The car is nicely responsive out the starting blocks and the power on tap is constant which helps make light work of overtaking. It does feel quite weighty when fizzing through the country lanes, but is beautifully balanced at the same time.


 

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Ride Handling

The Countryman covers all practicality bases really well, but it does lose some of its traditional go-kart performance and charm. However, it’s still no slouch and when faced with quieter B roads, it can deliver the goods with excellent grip through tighter bends and no sign of body sway.

The steering is perfectly weighted with lots of driver feedback and it cruises effortlessly at 70mph on motorways too.

In busier town centre settings, it is agile and easy to manoeuvre. And with a host of sensors, cameras and parking aids, squeezing into a tight space is a doddle too.

Our car also featured MINI’s ALL4 four-wheel-drive system which adds extra weight to the car, but gives the extra reassurance when driving in more challenging weather conditions. 

The rear axle is powered by the electric motor while the front one is powered by the combustion engine. 

Special mention to the sports suspension which does a great job of smoothing out the bumps and dips along the way, which is no mean task on our pothole-riddled highways.

The performance is slightly compromised by the Countryman’s size – after all this is the chunkiest MINI on the market. It’s a five-door, five-seater with a decent boot. And, with its larger dimensions, some of the fun factor is lost. In reality, it feels a little more mature than its siblings.

But it is refined with very little engine, road surface or wind noise filtering through into the cabin.


 

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Styling

MINI has introduced a Shadow Edition trim level that is exclusive to the UK market and available on its Clubman and Countryman models.

Our test car featured this specification and it really looked the business with a number of blacked out features and edition-exclusive bonnet design and graphics.

There is Midnight Black metallic paint with contrasting silver-coloured roof and mirror caps. Black roof rails add to the appeal.

It boasts distinctive daytime running lights and MINI’s traditional rounded headlights, tail lamps with the darkened Union Jack pattern, chunky wheel arch mouldings, a black grille, tinted windows and striking 19-inch John Cooper Works two-tone alloy wheels.

Moving inside there is Anthracite headlining in this Shadow Edition version and lots of piano black trim with both the dashboard and tread plates featuring special graphics. The door sill finishers have a Shadow Edition design and logo, and the steering wheel has John Cooper Works badging.

The Dinamica and cloth combination seats look really upmarket with silver contrast stitching and there is something beautifully refreshing about the MINI cockpit with its toggle switches and circular dials.


 

In The Car

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Behind the Wheel

With ample manual seat and steering wheel adjustment, getting a comfortable driving position inside the MINI Countryman Shadow Edition is a simple process.

It’s instantly recognisable as a MINI thanks to the toggle switches and large 8.8-inch circular touchscreen infotainment system that glows a different colour according to which drive mode is selected.

The many on-board systems are accessed via a dial that is very easy to operate on the fly with quick access keys to the music, sat nav, media and communications settings. A completely separate panel operates the climate control system with buttons to activate the seat heaters, which form part of the additional Comfort Plus Pack that costs £1,600.

Another optional extra on our test car was a Navigation Plus Pack (£1,300) and this introduced a head-up display, real time traffic information, a concierge service, Apple CarPlay, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless charging, an upgraded navigation system and a few other features.

The driver benefits from an elevated seating position which helps with the all-round visibility but the wide B pillars do obscure the over-the-shoulder view a little.

The rearview camera works really well when reversing into tight spaces – this also forms part of the optional Comfort Plus Pack.

Everything seems just right inside this MINI – it’s classy, upmarket and elegant without being too flashy. And it has lost none of its charisma or charm either.


 

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Space & Practicality

The Countryman is the practical model in the MINI line-up and offers seating for five. The rear seats are split 40:20:40 and when they are upright, the boot can swallow 450 litres – increasing to 1,390 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.

The high sided design of the car means there is lots of headspace inside the vehicle and you don’t feel quite so cramped as in smaller MINI models.

There are plenty of storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin too, including a lockable glovebox, a central bin under the front armrest with a charging pad, front and rear door bins with space for a bottle to be stored, seat back pockets and some practical trays. 

Wide opening rear doors make this an ideal car for transporting young children and anyone with mobility issues would find it easy to get in and out of.

When it comes to charging, the MINI Countryman PHEV can be boosted from zero to 80 per cent in less than two-and-a-half hours from a domestic wallbox, or 3.8 hours from a three-pin plug.

In addition, the car can be remotely pre-heated or cooled before any journey via the MINI app.


 

Ownership

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Running Costs

Our MINI Countryman started out costing £38,450 although the final price crept up to £42,555 with a number of optional extras added.

According to official figures, it can deliver a combined 156mpg, although this would only be achievable in real world driving if the car was regularly used in EV-only mode and also charged frequently too.

However, the low carbon emissions figure of 42g/km would result in financial gains with free-of-charge first year Vehicle Excise Charge (or road tax as it was previously known). This would increase to £145 after 12 months.

But owners of hybrid cars with a list price above £40k pay an extra £150 for the first five years – this is less than the £335 fee for petrol or diesel-powered vehicles. With that in mind, it would be wise to watch options don’t creep above that threshold like on our test car.

The insurance group rating for the test car is 27.


 

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Quality & Reliability

When it comes to quality and reliability, MINI enjoys a very decent record and frequently scores well in customer satisfaction surveys.

Although it is owned by the BMW Group these days, the MINI is still regarded as a British treasure. However, it now gains all the German expertise that BMW brings to the table, including solid build quality, durability and reliability.

It maintains its fun and funky character with the traditional circular readouts and toggle switches, and the upholstery on the Shadow Edition test car looked really upmarket too.

The Countryman comes with a standard MINI three-year, unlimited mileage warranty. But there are options to add extra policies to the standard warranty as well as including roadside assistance.


 

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

Safety & Security

When it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating back in 2017, the MINI Countryman was awarded a maximum five stars, scoring 90 per cent for adult occupant safety. This PHEV version keeps that same score.

Safety features on the test car include automatic emergency braking, dynamic stability control, dynamic traction control with electronic differential lock control, anti-lock braking with cornering brake control, driver and front passenger airbags, cruise control with brake function, automatic wipers and lights, plus a rear park distance control.

An acoustic warning system alerts pedestrians that the car is there which is essential if it is running in near-silent electric mode. 

And the MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition is fitted with a Thatcham Category 1 alarm system and immobiliser to deter thieves.

Summary

MINI Countryman Plug-in Hybrid Shadow Edition (2022 - )

The MINI Countryman has been met with mixed views since it first arrived on the scene. Yes, it ticks all the practicality boxes, but does it still feel like a MINI? Whatever your opinion, there’s no disputing the fact that this MINI is packed with charm and character, fun to drive and brings EV-only motoring to the mix too.


 

Secure your test drive today
Request a MINI Countryman test drive
By Maxine Ashford
Feb 23, 2022

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