The jokes about Mini are done because this time the automaker is back with its new Countryman, and there's nothing “mini” about it anymore. The second-generation Countryman is wider, longer and rides on a stretched wheelbase. The plug-in hybrid is the first electrified Mini since the Mini E last seen in 2010.
By adding 8.1 inches of length and 1.3 inches to the width, the Countryman is easily the biggest Mini ever built. As a key-carrying fan of Mini's older pint-sized models, this is a disappointment. But the size increases pay dividends in the cabin, making this effectively the first Mini that won't result in assault charges for forcing passengers to ride in the back. The 2.9-inch stretch in the Countryman's wheelbase contributes to a hefty 3.8-inch jump in second-row legroom, and there's around two inches of extra shoulder room in both rows. There's a bump in cargo volume, too. Trunk space increasesby 1.1 cubic feet with the second row up, and 5.4 cubic feet with the back seats folded down. That cargo space is easy to reconfigure, too, with a 40/20/40 split in the seats and up to five inches of fore/aft movement. So yes, the Countryman is an annoyingly large Mini, but it's inarguably the most versatile and family friendly vehicle ever built by the British brand.
We've got the first ever hybrid Mini, called the Cooper S E Countryman All4. Mini paired its excellent 1.5-liter, turbocharged three-cylinder with a 7.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery and an 87-horsepower electric motor for total output of 221 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque, which is enough for a brisk 6.8-second run to 60 miles per hour. Fully charged from the plug on the driver's side front fender, the latest electrified Mini can cover 24 miles at up to 77 miles per hour. We like that kind of balance.