One of the best arguments for plug-in hybrids is that they’re one-size-fits-all vehicles, enabling owners to plug-in when they’re going about their normal weekday commute routine—keeping the miles all or mostly electric—and yet giving them the freedom to go well beyond where charging networks might easily permit on the weekends.
The Mini Cooper Countryman SE All4, as it’s called, hasn’t quite provided the toolkit needed for that lifestyle—in the U.S., at least—although EPA ratings released last week for the refreshed 2020 model may get it closer to the sweet spot.
As it was introduced for 2017, the Countryman SE plug-in hybrid could go an EPA-rated 12 miles once fully charged, and then return just 27 mpg in its hybrid mode after running through the charge. Its driving range, including the initial charge, was just 270 miles.
With this year’s upgrades, the system gets 18 miles of EPA range, with a 29-mpg rating without a charge. That boosts the total range to 300 miles.
For 2020, the Cooper SE Countryman All4 gets a bigger battery—now 10.0 kwh, versus 7.7 kwh before. Overall system output is unchanged at 221 hp, for this over-the-road hybrid system that incorporates an 87 hp electric motor at the rear wheels and Mini’s 134-hp, 1.5-liter inline-3 engine and a 6-speed automatic up front.
2020 Mini Cooper Countryman S E All4
Mini is reportedly aiming for an all-electric lineup sometime this next decade, and the 2020 Mini Cooper SE electric car is the first of that new charge. EPA range and efficiency ratings for that model, with a 32.6-kwh battery pack, haven’t yet been released.
The 2020 Mini plug-in hybrid starts at $38,750, including an $850 destination charge, and because of the bigger battery it’s now eligible for a federal income tax credit of $5,002—versus $4,001 previously.
After several underwhelming experiences with the previous version—including charges good for less than 10 miles of gentle mild-weather driving and a four-day, 240-mile test over which we averaged just 25.8 mpg, including 20 plug-in miles—we do look forward to seeing if this nice-sized PHEV hatchback makes more sense with a little more juice.