ONCE the bastion of affordability, Mini could offer a plug-in hybrid later this year.
A business case for the Countryman Hybrid is being undertaken by the Australian Mini operation.
The hybrid version of the Countryman is powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, supplemented by an electric motor at the back of the car powered by a battery pack installed under the rear seat.
Pure battery power is good for about 35km.
Charging the battery to 80 per cent takes just over three hours.
It has three modes; to run exclusively on battery or petrol, or a combination of both.
Compared to the standard Clubman, boot space is down 45 litres to 405 due to the battery. The additional components means weight, and the hybrid is about 125kg heavier than the all-wheel drive equivalent.
Given is still evaluating its suitability for Australia, there is no estimate on price. The Countryman small SUV range currently starts from $41,300 plus on-roads and tops at $58,900 for the racy John Cooper Works version.
The famed marque also has plans for a plug-in hybrid version of its smallest derivative, the Mini Cooper hatch.
Mini has evolved into a niche prestige brand under the guardianship of parent company BMW.
While the three-door version remains (starting from $25,800), Mini also offers a Clubman wagon and the Countryman SUV derivatives.
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