mini countryman hybridBusiness Insider/Danielle Muoio

One thing is perfectly clear with the MINI Countryman: this is not an ordinary SUV.

It has bug-eye headlights and way too many embellishments for a traditional ride in New Jersey’s suburbs. But you don’t buy the Countryman for a normal SUV experience, you purchase it to have some fun.

As my colleague Matt DeBord notes, the Countryman arrived in 2011 to offer some extra space in a legacy brand known to be so tiny, it borders on uncomfortable. To be clear, this is still small by big-league SUV standards; a Toyota RAV4 would eat this gray vehicle. But it has a surprising amount of space for a MINI, and it will get the job done for families with no more than two small kids, especially city dwellers.

Size isn’t really the biggest factor when reviewing this Countryman, though. We took this puppy out to get a feel for its hybrid drivetrain. Scroll down to see what we thought:

Behold! It’s the MINI Countryman, plug-in hybrid. Can you believe this qualifies as an SUV?
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio
For comparison, here’s the Kia Niro hybrid. I thought this hatchback was pretty small, but it looks like a giant compared to the MINI! The Niro is 171.5, compared to the MINI at 169.8 inches.
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio
Truth be told, the MINI plug-in hybrid is a bit fussy. It has big wheels — SUVs have no choice — and a lot of flourishes, like this yellow “E” symbol on the cover of the charging port.
Business Insider/Danielle Muoio
See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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