Long-term test review: MINI Countryman PHEV

Final report: Electric tailgate has a mind of its own, but we’ll still miss our MINI Countryman PHEV

Verdict: Our MINI Countryman PHEV has impressed us during its time on the fleet, but it’s a shame you need better weather to benefit fully from the clever powertrain.

While our MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid may have retro-inspired looks, it is bang up to date under the skin, with enough essential gizmos to keep hardened technophiles happy.

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The phone holder is the perfect example of tech done right. Lift the armrest and there’s a space to put away your smartphone, out of sight and temptation. A charging pad is built in, meaning the latest generation of Apple and Android devices can be connected and powered up wirelessly.

The same goes for the pre-heater function. Set the timer inside the car and it will ensure the MINI is warm and defrosted when you’re ready to leave home in the morning, using power from the electricity mains rather than the car’s engine or battery. It could make de-icer and scrapers obsolete – just as long as you remember to set it.

The recent colder weather has had an impact on our energy use, though. Battery-powered vehicles are known to suffer in the winter and the MINI won’t switch to all-electric mode at all if the temperature is zero or below. That, on top of constant use of the car’s fans and heated seats, has meant we’re getting through more petrol, even on the shortest trips, and consumption has risen to 56.6mpg. Then there are the costs added to my home electricity bill by plugging the Countryman in every day.

Read more: AutoExpress

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