High Life in a Hybrid

on 08 August 2018.

high life in a hybrid

TOWNSITE™ test drives the MINI Countryman

The last MINI I drove was straight out of The Italian Job, distinctive and stylish but you had to fold yourself in half to drive it and every time you hit a bump at speed your head met the roof. But that was more than 30 years ago and since then both MINIs and I have got larger. Nevertheless, high life in a hybridI was expecting the contemporary version to still be a bit, well, cramped. As for speed, my only reference for electronic vehicles was a milk float, so I had no great expectations.

The shiny MINI Countryman I collected from Dick Lovett in Hungerford looked compact enough on the outside but when I climbed in there was space all around. The footwell more than accommodated my long legs and above my head was a reassuring bump-proof gap. Over my shoulder I could see that the MINI had 3 proper seats in the back and would easily hold a few child seats and attendant paraphernalia. A Tardis in other words.

But first I had to investigate if the MINI met my minimum criteria: cup-holder, check; room in the boot for shopping, check; room in the boot for dog, check; room in the boot for shopping and dog, check. So far so good. Like any woman of sound mind, the first thing I did on my test drive was visit a friend for coffee and show off the car.

Driving in auto mode which allows the car to decide when to use the petrol engine and when to switch to electric, I bombed along the A4 to Marlborough and was astonished at the way it picked up speed. Far from its hybrid

high life in a hybrid

properties making it slow, the battery kicks in to actually increase acceleration. Smooth and responsive, I made use of the long straight road to play with the controls which have a central dash console with touchscreen function. I easily and instinctively worked out the built in Sat Nav, radio and other media options.

Out the other side of Marlborough I was into crop circle country and flew cross-country with stunning views until I reached my friend’s studio where she paints large canvasses. We properly put the MINI through its paces by loading several big paintings in the back and had room to spare. It didn’t look as though it should be possible. But it was.

high life in a hybridPerhaps it was the gloriously sunny day but driving the MINI was a lot of fun. It has a youthful feel: high-design aesthetic, great technological features and with a range of 26 miles on electrical power alone, as environmentally friendly as they come. Initially I found the MINI Countryman’s hybrid technology unnervingly quiet but quickly adjusted. When I drove my diesel Golf again it felt like being in a lorry. Depending on the driving mode selected, the MINI Countryman uses anywhere from 48-83 mpg and can be purchased for less than £300 per month. It’s an economically and environmentally sound car purchase which looks very groovy into the bargain.

Check out the MINI Countryman offers here

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