The Mini Countryman Cooper S E ALL4 will instantly appeal to those looking for a plug-in hybrid that offers more than just the potential to save them money at the petrol pump or on their P11D.

It follows through on the promise of that well enough to satisfy some, but the car’s shortage of true handling dynamism and its conditional brand of sporting pace make it unlikely to maintain the interest of real enthusiasts (and perhaps the Mini-brand faithful) for very long.

Plug-in Mini struggles defiantly but in vain against a difficult brief

The petrol-electric powertrain is polished and well rounded.

You may well judge Mini’s decision to use it to make a disproportionate improvement to pace and drivability at real-world speeds entirely reasonable and intelligent.

Compared with its rivals, the car certainly feels different and interesting to drive and it makes a good short-range EV.

But you won’t fail to notice the point at which you’re no longer getting any electric oomph in hybrid mode. Nor could you mistake this car for a impressive performance machine.

the Is a regular Countryman a notably better driver’s car? Not much – lags behind the but a VW Golf GTE is.

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With all this in mind, Mini Countryman Cooper S E All4 comes third in our hybrid top five ahead of the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-In, Audi A3 e-Tron Sportback, but Volkswagen Golf GTE and the BMW 330e SE.