What is it?
It’s funny, isn’t it? The Mini Countryman has been around since 2010 and we know that Minis aren’t mini any more, but when you park up somewhere in deepest Hesse, mid-west Germany, and someone perks up with an honest comment of “That’s part Mini and part tank”, you do wonder about just how far the brand is pushing the envelope.
Or perhaps that comment merely reflects the somewhat aggressive looks of this facelifted Countryman, which wears its restyled bumpers, grille and de-chromed ‘brightwork’ like a young tyke looking for trouble.
All the latest Countrymans – the petrols and diesels, as well as this PHEV – now have LED headlights, a new digital instrument panel and a smartened-up infotainment system; the software is as before, but there are new touch-sensitive buttons that give it a cleaner look.
If you’re wondering why Mini chose to give us our first taste of the revised model as a PHEV, it’s probably because sales of the plug-in are climbing steadily, from 8% in 2017 to a quarter of the model’s UK output so far this year.
It may also be because the PHEV has changed the most mechanically. It has lost a few BHP (now 217bhp, for which you can blame WLTP emissions tuning) but, as a plus, emits less CO2 and has a better official electric-only range: around 30 miles.