Mini Countryman long-term test: report 4

Our senior videographer needs a car that's frugal, practical and fun. Does the Mini Countryman plug-in hybrid fit the bill?...

Mini Countryman rotary dial

The car Mini Countryman Classic Cooper S E All4 PHEV Run by Kiall Garrett, senior videographer

Why it’s here To see if there's more to a plug-in hybrid small SUV than its short-term fuel economy

Needs to Take life as a high-mileage videographer's workhorse in its stride, with enough practicality to be easy to live with and a plush enough interior to enjoy every journey

Mileage 4791 List price £34,000 Target price £32,245 Price as tested £40,005 Test economy 44.0 mpg Official economy 156.9 mpg

14 August - Cold starts and warm ends

If there's one word that sums up the recent weather in England, it's probably 'changeable', but my Mini Countryman and its optional Comfort Plus Pack are helping me cope with the freezing mornings and boiling afternoons of a day spent shooting an outdoor video review for What Car? in British summer time.

Mini Countyman air-conditioning

I start the day sinking into the heated seats, and finish it sitting an inch away from full-blast low air-con; it’s been a great companion. The pack costs £1600, which might seem like a lot for heated seats and climate control, but it also gives you front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and even a self-parking system, along with keyless entry.

It’s a shame, though, that a heated steering wheel and heated windscreen aren’t also included in the pack; they're an extra £250 and £150) respectively.

Mini Countryman rotary dial

The fantastic infotainment system is standard, though, regardless of trim, and I think it’s a huge part of the Countryman’s appeal. Having a rotary dial makes it easy to fly through the menus on the move, and the interface is easy and, crucially, glitchless. The cable-free Apple CarPlay connectivity works perfectly while I wirelessly charge my phone, too.

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