MINI Countryman hybrid reliability & safety

The Countryman has a good safety rating and all the essential equipment, but it’s too early to say how reliable it'll be

The MINI Countryman Cooper S E ALL4 is the company's first plug-in hybrid. So, does that relative inexperience mean you should be a bit wary of it? Well, not really. After all, MINI is owned by BMW, which has extensive experience with this sort of technology.

In that sense, we’re encouraged by the amount of effort that has gone into the Countryman’s safety. Again, it'll have benefitted from the knowledge of BMW, but the five-star performance in official tests is reassuring.

MINI Countryman hybrid reliability & problems

The MINI Countryman is too new to have been included in our sister title Auto Express' 2018 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but it was disappointing to see the MINI hatchback finish well below average there. It’s particularly a worry, as the two models share a number of engines and other key components.

It's also a shame that the Countryman PHEV's battery is only covered by the car's standard three year warranty, when many rivals offer a much longer battery warranty.

Still, the brand’s parent company, BMW, has spent huge sums on research and development and already used the technology in models like the BMW i3 and i8. There's no reason that the MINI should be any less reliable – generally or in terms of its battery longevity – than key PHEV rivals.

Safety

The Countryman achieved the full five-star score in Euro NCAP crash tests, with individual results of 90% for adult occupant protection and 80% for child occupants.

It's a shame that you can't have a space-saver spare wheel, as the batteries take up the space in the boot. You also have to pay extra for a reversing camera, adaptive cruise control, traffic-sign recognition and lane-keeping assistance.

Still, there are eight airbags as standard in addition to the compulsory anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. Also standard are autonomous emergency braking and a bonnet that pops up slightly in a pedestrian collision to help cushion the impact.