- Car Reviews
What should I be paying?
The Countryman range currently begins at £28,815 for a basic Cooper and runs through the Cooper S at £31,290, the plug-in Hybrid at £36,600 and then the 300+bhp John Cooper Works at £39,375.
Then there’s Classic or Exclusive trims, plus a whole host of options floating about on the configurator, with Sport and ‘Untamed’ options on some cars. Yes, we found the JCW carbon fibre bits, though what practical advantage CF door mirror caps will have in reality, we shall never know.
Then there’s a Premium Plus pack that includes a panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming rear mirror, Harmon Kardon stereo and Comfort Plus pack. Which is obviously another pack. And that pack includes auto air-con, heated seats, an armrest in the front, comfort access, a rear-view camera and parking assistants.
Play too long on the options list and it can become less cheap than it looks, but because residuals are strong, Mini can offer good finance deals, and helpfully bundles the most popular options into the aforementioned packs. They’ll mostly see you right come trade-in time. There’s also the fact that Mini has always done good-value servicing deals - it’s called Mini Service Inclusive and covers your car up to its fifth birthday with pricing appropriate to the model - but generally you’re looking at about £17.99 a month. And insurance isn't too bad.
But among the launch range, you'll struggle to keep CO2-related taxes down. Depending on fuel, engine power, number of driven wheels and transmission, the range hovers between 144g/km and 160g/km, though heaviest of all is the JCW ALL4 with the big wheels, at 188g/km.
But if you really want to knock a hole in your company tax bill, and indeed make a genuine fuel saving if you plug'n'commute, then the plug-in hybrid with the battery and 1.5-litre three-cylinder is the one. It's rated at 40-43g/km and 148.7-156.9mpg in the particular conditions of the test cycle, as long as you both live inside a test laboratory and endlessly plug it in.
It also cracks 62mph in 6.8secs, which sounds like a cake-and-eat-it affair. But beware: to make room for the battery the fuel tank is just 35 litres. So long trips will be a rapid rhythm of fuel stops. As mentioned though, the best combination of Mini feel and cost is probably a three-cylinder Cooper with a manual ‘box and whatever options make sense to you, with the JCW if you want to frighten children/small animals.