We are now well into the maturing adolescence of the plug-in hybrid.
The days when it might have been acceptable to find significant compromise to passenger or cargo space in return for a partly electrified powertrain – when these cars were built on older, adapted platforms rather than new, purpose-built ones – are now gone.
The Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 asks for only a few small and quite palatable sacrifices on the altar of technological complexity.
So while the ‘regular’ Mini Countryman makes a practical and quite unusual alternative to a normal family five-door, this one does, too.
You lose 10 percent of the boot’s volume (450 litres falls to 405) but the space is still about as large as most medium-sized five-doors have. The back seats are mounted slightly higher than in other Countrymans and the option to make those seats slide fore and aft to trade leg room for boot space is no more.
Here, as with head room, what the Cooper S E All4 leaves you with is still perfectly respectable by class standards.
Ahead of the driver is a fascia that’s little different from any other in the Countryman range. The Cord Carbon part-leather trim of our test car lifted its ambience a little above that of the Cooper D we tested, but it’s not exclusive to the hybrid.