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2019 MINI Cooper SE Countryman PHEV: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

With substantial numbers of electric cars still on the far horizon, the dominant trend in the industry is toward gasoline-electric hybrids, including semi-sporting vehicles like the 2019 MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV.

P90240566_highRes_mini-cooper-s-countrThat’s a mouthful but no surprise because Britain’s MINI is owned by BMW, the Bavarian Motor Works, which has a habit of naming its vehicles with what look like technical job descriptions. An extreme example was the 2016BMW Individual M760i xDrive Model V12 Excellence THE NEXT 100 YEARS.

On the MINI, the ALL4 designates all-wheel drive, Countryman the model, SE the trim level and PHEV stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

Nomenclature aside, the Countryman PHEV qualifies as a crossover sport utility vehicle, built like a car with a unibody.  It is fairly large for a MINI, stretching nearly 16 feet long and weighing almost two tons.

P90240568_highRes_mini-cooper-s-countrWith 94 cubic feet of space for passengers and a cargo area of 17 cubic feet, it has as much interior space as a midsize car. But it also fits the government’s classification of a small station wagon.

It uses a 134-hp 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels and an 87-hp electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Together, the system makes 221 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque.

The power gets to the pavement through a six-speed automatic transmission for the front wheels and a one-speed direct drive for the rear wheels.

P90240747_highRes_the-new-mini-countryCity/highway/combined fuel consumption in gasoline-only mode is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 27/28/27 mpg. In hybrid operation, the mpg equivalent works out to 65 MPGe. As a plug-in, it can travel a maximum of 12 miles purely on electric power, but it takes a feather foot on the throttle.

With its BMW and British heritage, the MINI delivers good performance and handling but with some English eccentricities. It can nip off zero-to-60 mph stoplight sprints in about six seconds. But road noise intruded on some less than ideal surfaces.

Handling, especially in the Sport driving mode, is precise with the front wheels obedient to the driver’s steering wheel inputs. With the suspension system biased toward handling, the ride tends toward stiff rather than cushy. However, the John Cooper Works (JCW) sport seats, upholstered in “carbon black Dinamica/cloth,” are supportive and comfortable with solid bolstering for spirited driving in the twisties. They also are heated; a redundancy with cloth.

P90240708_highRes_the-new-mini-countryThe Countryman PHEV also came with a BMW-like base price of $37,750, including the destination charge. With options that included PHEV Sport and Special Edition packages, touchscreen navigation package and John Cooper Works appearance package, the bottom-line sticker price came to $45,750.

The JCW package also included a leather-wrapped steering wheel, synthetic suede headliner, a rear spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels. A PHEV Sport package included power folding outside mirrors and a panoramic sunroof.

P90240596_highRes_mini-cooper-s-countrA glance at the instruments shows a group of circular gauges, including the center touchscreen. The design harks back to the mid-20thcentury, when MINIs came with a giant center-mounted speedometer.

There was no missing the tested MINI on the road. It had a classy charcoal paint job, with outside mirrors and badges done up a sort of chartreuse color.

Two outboard passengers in back get plenty of head and knee room. But the center-rear passenger gets disrespected by a large floor hump, narrow and hard cushion, and intrusion from the center console. The power tailgate, part of the PHEV Sport package, provided access to the cargo area.

P90240656_highRes_the-new-mini-countryThe MINI came with an odd mix of equipment. It included a navigation system, automatic climate control, wireless smart phone charging and Apple CarPlay but FM radio without SXM satellite radio. An AM band could not be found. There also were no power seats. The seats up front had six-way manual adjustments.

Moreover, the sun visors did not slide on their support rods to adequately block sun from the side. And the sunshade for the panoramic sunroof was made of a perforated cheesecloth-like material that admitted too much sunlight. Sunshades should be opaque.

MINI Countryman sales in 2018 totaled 17,565, up 2,700 from 2017 at a time when total MINI sales declined by 3,421 to 43,684.

P90240573_highRes_mini-cooper-s-countrSpecifications    

  • Model: 2019 MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine/motor: 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline, turbocharged; 134 hp, 122 lb-ft torque; AC electric motor, 87 hp, 122 lb-ft torque; combined 221 hp, 284 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic front wheels; one-speed direct drive rear wheels.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 10 inches.
  • Height: 5 feet 1 inch.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 94/17 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 3,915 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 27/28/27 mpg. Gasoline/electric combined miles per gallon equivalent: 65 MPGe.
  • Electric only range: 12 miles.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $37,750.
  • Price as tested: $45,750.

Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

P90240672_highRes_the-new-mini-countryPhotos (c) MINI

 

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2019 Jaguar E-Pace and I-Pace: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

You’re forgiven if you haven’t figured out the 2019 Jaguar E-Pace and its sibling, the I-Pace.

Contrary to initial knee-jerk reactions, the E-Pace is not electric, and the I-Pace is not the ghost of past BMW i cars. Nope, in this case the I-Pace is the 100% electric and the E-Pace is merely the little brother of the F-Pace.

jagepace18myfirsteditiononroaddynamic13071702
2019 Jaguar E-Pace

In a sense, they are the offspring of the F-Pace, in 2017 the first luxury crossover sport utility from the storied British sports car manufacturer. Now they are three. Next thing you know Jaguar will come out with a big three-row SUV.

Wait. That likely won’t happen because Jaguar is the conjoined fraternal twin of Britain’s Land Rover, which specializes in luxury SUVs. Both are now owned by Tata of India.

Jaguar could hardly have done differently. Truck-based SUVs and car-based crossovers have become so popular across the board that even Bentley and Rolls-Royce build them.

jaguaripace19mysyulongwhite138
2019 Jaguar I-Pace

With these crossovers, the affinity of Jaguar with Land Rover becomes more obvious. The center-screen infotainment systems in both the E-Pace and I-Pace are similar in befuddlement to those in Range Rovers and Land Rovers. Also, the nomenclature of HSE for certain models now is common to both the Land Rover and Jaguar brands.

Because the E-Pace was introduced as a 2018 model, the I-Pace electric is the new kid in the family. It also is the most interesting, exciting and expensive of the three, and the less expensive main competitor to Tesla’s Model X75D crossover.

Jaguar I-PACE Global Drive, Portugal, 2018
2019 Jaguar I-Pace

The I-Pace’s power comes from two electric motors — one each for the front wheels and rear wheels, giving it automatic all-wheel drive. In easy cruising, it switches to rear drive for economy. The all-wheel drive is mainly important for foul weather than actual off-roading. There are numerous Land Rovers for customers interested in that sort of thing.

The two electric motors combined make 394 hp and 512 lb-ft of torque, or twisting force. Because electric motors deliver maximum torque instantly, the I-Pace rewards the driver with an exhilarating jump off the line, reaching 60 mph in slightly more than four seconds with its single-speed automatic transmission.

jipace19mystudioimage01031815
2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Of course, doing that habitually will cripple the manufacturer’s claimed range of 234 miles and a city/highway/combined consumption of 80/72/76 MPGe, or miles per gallon equivalent. But it might be worth it for some hot-shoe owners.

The I-Pace uses regenerative braking to help keep the batteries topped up. It is so aggressive in slowing the vehicle that it should enable so-called one-pedal driving, as with the BMW i3. But it cuts out at about six mph, so the driver still must use the brake pedal to stop.

Handling is sharp and the steering responsive, abetted by an air suspension system and brake-induced torque vectoring. But the emphasis on handling compromises the ride on rough roads.

jipace19mystudioimage01031817
2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Front seats are supportive but not plush and the outboard rear seats have plenty of head and knee room. The center-rear position is compromised by tight space, a hard cushion and big floor hump. Because of the sloped roof, there’s only 26 cubic feet for cargo, which expands to 51 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.

A negative comfort note: There’s a full panoramic sunroof that does not open and does not have a sunshade. It darkens in bright light but on bright sunny days the glass gets so hot it radiates heat uncomfortably into the cabin and defeats the air conditioning in some areas.

With a bottom-line sticker of $88,840 on the test car, the I-Pace is uncommonly well equipped with state-of-the-art safety and convenience equipment.

jagepace18myonroaddynamic13071714
2019 Jaguar E-Pace

But if you don’t hanker to sample the electric future and still crave a Jaguar experience, there’s the E-Pace, which has a $53,845 price tag and a sportier personality. It is a subcompact crossover, 14 feet 5 inches long and a shade over 5 feet tall.

Surprisingly, despite a tight back seat, it offers nearly as much passenger and cargo space as the I-Pace — a total of 117 cubic feet versus 122 cubic feet.

jagepace18myinterior13071701
2019 Jaguar E-Pace

Power comes from a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, a configuration that is taking over the motoring world. In this installation,  it delivers 246 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque.

Well-equipped, the E-Pace has the entertaining handling expected of a Jaguar, though its aggressive and erratic lane-keeping assist  should be simply turned off.

Oh, and by the way, it bucks the luxury cliché of perforated cheesecloth in favor of an effective, opaque sunshade for the sunroof.

jagepace18myonroaddynamic13071713
2019 Jaguar E-Pace

Specifications

  • Model: 2019 Jaguar E-Pace R-Dynamic HSE four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged; 246 hp, 269 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Nine-speed automatic with manual-shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 14 feet 5 inches.
  • Height: 5 feet 5 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 93/24 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,225 pounds.
  • Towing capability: 1,653 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 21/27/13 mpg (premium fuel).
  • Base price, including destination charge: $53,845.
  • Price as tested: $53,845.

 

HyperFocal: 0
2019 Jaguar E-Pace

*    *   *

  • Model: 2019 Jaguar I-Pace EV400HSE four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
  • Motors: Twin electric-powered; combined 394 hp, 512 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Single-speed automatic with all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 4 inches.
  • Height: 5 feet 1 inch.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 96/26 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,790 pounds.
  • City/highway/combined fuel consumption: 80/72/76 MPGe.
  • Range: 234 miles.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $81,495.
  • Price as tested: $88,840.

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review.

Jaguar I-PACE Global Drive, Portugal, 2018
2019 Jaguar I-Pace

Photos (c) Jaguar Land Rover

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

When you buck the automotive tide, like the classy 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake does, you’re either in the vanguard of a fruitful pursuit or on your way to a flop.

That’s because the Sportbrake is a station wagon — also called a hatchback by some — a body style that was long ago rejected by American buyers after the introduction of the minivan in the mid-1980s and, later, the advent of the sport utility vehicle and its car-based variant, the crossover.

jxfsb18myrsport20dsiliconsilver161017002-resize-1024x682SUVs and crossovers threaten to take over the market across the board, from economy to luxury. Ford announced recently that it was dropping conventional sedans to concentrate on those two configurations and its hot-selling pickup trucks.

Even ultra-luxury manufacturers are getting into the game. Bentley markets its Bentayga and Lamborghini has its Urus, both crossover SUVs with price tags starting around $200,000. And even Rolls-Royce reportedly will introduce a crossover starting at around $700,000.

Jaguar sells its compact two-row F-Pace crossover at a price just shy of $50,000, with options. But the Jaguar/Land Rover company has expertise in SUVs, large and small, so a bigger Jaguar crossover or SUV is likely.

jxfsb18myrsport20dsiliconsilver161017041-resize-1024x682A note about nomenclature: Generally, an SUV is a tall body-on-frame vehicle with rear- or four-wheel drive. Crossovers are built like cars, with unit bodies and front- or all-wheel drive. Most manufacturers (and the buying public) like to lump them together as SUVs.

The new Jaguar Sportbrake wagon — the S trim with all-wheel drive — is an outlier along with a few other marketplace entries: the new Buick Regal TourX, the Audi A4 Allroad, the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon and a few others.

In Europe, station wagons are often regarded as a step up from a standard four-door sedan. Enthusiasts like them, especially the sport-oriented models like the new Jaguar Sportbrake, because they look great, are practical and, best of all, handle like sports sedans. Most crossovers and SUVs, though they deliver satisfactory handling in daily driving, have higher centers of gravity that can make them feel tippy when pushed hard.

jxfsb18myrsport20pfirenzered161017067-resize-1024x670The Jaguar Sportbrake name is derived from what the British, back in the mid-20thcentury, called a Shooting Brake — usually a small two-door hatchback like a Volvo P-1800 or an MG-B GT.

With a stylish and streamlined profile, the tested Sportbrake S with all-wheel drive is impressive at first sight. It is 16 feet 3 inches long with ample interior room: 107 cubic feet of space for passengers with a cargo area of 22 cubic feet that expands to 67 cubic feet with rear seatbacks folded.

Comfort is first-class for the driver and three passengers, with good seatback bolsters in front to hold the torso in spirited driving. However, with a large center hump and a hard cushion, a fifth passenger in back gets disrespected. Outward vision to the rear is restricted by big back headrests and fat rear pillars, so outside mirror adjustment is critical even with the blind-spot warning.

jagxfsportbrake18my140617104accipadlargelowres-resize-1024x970The tested Sportbrake S with all-wheel drive gets its power from a 380-hp supercharged V6 engine that delivers 332 lb-ft of torque. The muscle gets to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted with paddles on the steering wheel. EPA city/highway/combined fuel economy is rated at 18/25/21 mpg.

Acceleration to 60 mph arrives in a claimed 5.3 seconds, with a top speed of 121 mph. There’s some minor hesitation off the line unless you keep the revs up before releasing the brake.

But the beauty of the Sportbrake lies in the precision steering and handling. Despite its stretched length, it responds quickly to driver inputs and changes direction like a smaller sports sedan.

jagxfsportbrake18my140617111acclowres-resize-1024x810Contributing to the handling is a rear air-suspension system and automated torque vectoring, which judiciously applies the inside brakes to move the Sportbrake more smoothly around corners and curves.

With a starting price of $71,445, this Jaguar is up in nosebleed price territory. But it includes full safety equipment, leather seating and such equipment as a panoramic glass sunroof, though the sunroof shade is one of those trendy, cheesecloth-like perforated fabrics that admit too much sunlight. Sun shades should be opaque.

Options included adaptive cruise control, Wi-Fi hotspot, surround-sound audio system, four-zone climate control and other luxury touches that brought the price up to $84,245.

jagxfsportbrake18my140617074acclowres-resize-1024x822Specifications

  • Model: 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD four-door station wagon.
  • Engine: 2.0-liter V6, supercharged, 380 hp, 332 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual-shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 16 feet 3 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 107/22 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,045 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 18/25/21 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $71,445.
  • Price as tested: $84,245.

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review.

jxfsb18myrsport20dsiliconsilver161017031-resize-1024x682Photos (c) Jaguar Land Rover.

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport HSE Td6: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

More than anything, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport imparts a feeling of superiority.

It’s not unlike imagining yourself in an episode of “The Crown,” with the trappings of Buckingham Palace. Or living in “Downton Abbey,” though more like Lady Edith Grantham instead of cook Beryl Patmore.

RangeRoverSportTd6048The superior feelings arise from the storied reputation of Great Britain’ s Land Rovers — and their Range Rover offspring — which are among the most capable passenger vehicles anywhere.

Obviously, there are others with the competences to evoke similar emotions, notably America’s Jeep. But Jeep produces workmanlike and middle-class vehicles, like the go-anywhere Wrangler and even high-performance versions of the Grand Cherokee.

Land Rover hews to the luxury side of the road in its modern iterations. It was not always so. After the company started in the wake of World War II, its vehicles were ubiquitous in rugged, road-less areas in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

RangeRoverSportTd6051Now you’re as likely to see a Land Rover or Range Rover parked next to high-end designer stores as negotiating the desert terrain of Moab, Utah.

Driven for this review was the 2017 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6, a midsize, two-row sport utility vehicle. It is the direct descendant of the Land Rovers of the 1950s and 1960s, including the 88 Series made famous in the movie, “The Gods Must Be Crazy.” The Sport can even be ordered with diesel power — a $1,500 option — like many of its predecessors.

RangeRoverSportTd6077Though it can be equipped with a winch like the one that hauled the movie’s 88 up into a tree, the new Sport is as well outfitted as any luxury car. Amenities include automatic climate control, perforated leather seats, power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, touch-screen infotainment interface with a navigation system, hands-free power tailgate, rear-view camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers and a panoramic sunroof.

With all that, the tested Sport likely is as capable off-road as any of its progenitors because it came with a powerful diesel engine and modern, computer-controlled off-road driver assists. Chief among them is Land Rover’s Terrain Response system, which adjusts drivetrain components with driver-selectable settings for normal use, snow, mud and sand.

RangeRoverSportTd6083There’s also hill-descent control, emergency-brake assist, hill-start assist, low-traction launch and trailer stability control. The Sport can tow a load that weighs more than 7,700 pounds.

As a high-end HSE model, the tested Sport arrived with plenty of standard equipment and a long list of options, including quad-zone climate control, blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, reverse traffic detection, lane keeping assist and adaptive headlights. All of this added up to a suggested delivered price of $86,445.

RangeRoverSportTd6103It is powered by a 254-hp turbocharged V6 diesel engine that develops a mighty 440 lb-ft of torque, or twisting force, that likely could pull an elephant out of a mud hole — if one could be found on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. Urea injection is used for pollution control.

Power gets to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift mode. A single-speed electronic transfer case apportions the power.

The main thing you notice about the Sport HSE Td6 is what you don’t notice: Cabin noise. Land Rover’s designers and engineers have so muffled the diesel engine sounds that most people would be hard-pressed to guess that it is a compression-ignition oil burner.

RangeRoverSportTd6111What it delivers — as most diesels do — is improved fuel economy. The city/highway/combined fuel consumption of the tested Sport comes to 22/28/24 mpg — exceptional for a bulky vehicle that weighs 5,335 lbs.

On the road, however, you barely notice the bulk. The Sport has a hefty feel from its electric power steering and tracks well in a straight line. The air suspension system soaks up road irregularities.

A few quibbles are in order. The panoramic sunroof has a cheesy, perforated sunshade that admits too much sunlight. Sunshades should be opaque. Also, the sun visors do not slide on their support rods to adequately block sun from the sides.

Visibility to the rear is restricted by large, back seat headrests, the collision warning sometimes voices false alarms and setting radio presets is needlessly complicated. On the plus side, if the driver forgets to shift out of “drive” when shutting off the engine, the transmission automatically shifts to “park.”

None of the quibbles, however, impinge much on the feeling of superiority.

RangeRoverSportTd6044Specifications

  • Model: 2017 Range Rover Sport HSE Td6 four-door sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine:0-liter diesel V6, turbocharged, 254 hp, 440 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 11 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 108/28 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 5,335 pounds.
  • Towing capability: 7,715 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 22/28/24 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $73,645.
  • Price as tested: $86,445.

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review.

RangeRoverSportTd6063Photos (c) Land Rover.

2018 MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

Upsized to the point where it rivals the interior space of a midsize sedan, the 2018 MINI Cooper Countryman offers a practical and sporting driving experience in a tidy package.

It also delivers luxury in the tested S model with all-wheel drive, a more powerful engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted with paddles mounted on the steering wheel.

P90240629_highResIn modern parlance, the Countryman ALL4 is classified as a small crossover sport utility vehicle. It is British in origin, assembled in the Netherlands and uses an engine built in Germany. It is based on the BMW X1, no surprise because MINI is owned by the Bavarian Motor Works.

The Mini dates to the 1960s in Great Britain, where it pioneered the use of a transverse-mounted engine and front-wheel drive. Though only 10 feet long, its two-box design enabled it to carry four adults, though comfort depended on their size.

After BMW bought the company, it resurrected the Mini in 2001 and named it the MINI Cooper, using a name that had been attached to performance-oriented models. Now the performance models are labeled “John Cooper Works.” Like the original, the MINI Cooper started as a two-door sedan.

P90240631_highResBMW is a company seemingly dedicated to plugging every niche in the market so nearly two dozen MINI Cooper variants eventually appeared, including convertibles, a four-door, the Clubman, Paceman and, eventually, the Countryman.

There’s no mistaking any MINI for anything else. All models bear a familial resemblance. But the Countryman, since getting stretched by more than eight inches for 2017, now has gotten pudgy looking, though not to the point of turning off the brand’s fans.

Inside, it retains vestiges of the original MINI, though with changes. The large circular screen in the center, which once held the speedometer, now is a multifunction location. The speedometer, tachometer and other mainstay instruments reside behind the steering wheel and move up and down with it. However, the steering wheel does not telescope.

P90240757_highResFor 2018, the Countryman has been modestly modified. The fuel gauge has been re-designed and a toggle switch controls the drive modes: Sport, Normal and Eco. Previously, the modes were selected by a ring at the bottom of the automatic transmission shifter.

With 97 cubic feet of space for the driver and up to four passengers, the tested Countryman offered plenty of headroom and ample knee room for four, especially in the outboard back seat positions. However, the fifth passenger relegated to the center-rear position gets shortchanged on headroom, foot space and comfort.

P90240747_highResA negative is the perforated cloth sunshade for the panoramic glass sunroof, a current fad among luxury cars that admits too much hot sunlight. Sun shades should be opaque. The motorized front section of the sunroof opens to the sky; the back is fixed glass.

Front seat comfort is improved for many drivers by a thigh support that is manually adjustable for length. The front seats also have substantial bolsters to hold the torso in place during spirited driving.

That sort of motoring is the Countryman S ALL4’s strong suit, specially in the Sport mode, which delays transmission shifts to higher engine revolutions for more rapid acceleration. The steering and suspension system are oriented toward sharper handling, though the firm ride is not punishing.

P90240662_highResPower comes from a 189-hp 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 207 lb-ft of torque, delivered to all four wheels through the snap-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted with paddles on the steering wheel.

The engine emits a satisfying growl under hard acceleration, though some drivers used to muted sounds might find it annoying. Zero to 60 miles an hour acceleration time in the Sport mode is in the seven-second range.

A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard. The 8-speed automatic is a $1,500 option. The tested Countryman had a base price of $32,550. With other options that included parking assist, head-up display, power front seats with memory, power tailgate and “Chesterfield” leather upholstery with “British Oak” tanning, the suggested delivered price came to $41,050.

P90240630_highResStandard equipment included dynamic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, the panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, SXM satellite radio, Apple Car Play, LED fog lights and 18-inch alloy wheels.

If people find the pudgy look endearing and the price is not daunting, MINI buyers will find a lot to like.

P90240627_highResSpecifications

  • Model: 2018 MINI Cooper S Countryman ALL4 four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine:0-liter 4-cylinder, turbocharged, 189 hp, 207 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic with manual shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 14 feet 2 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 97/18 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 3,671 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 22/31/26 mpg. Premium required.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $32,550.
  • Price as tested: $41,050.

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review.

P90240671_highResPhotos (c) MINI.

 

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