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In-depth reviews

MINI Cooper review - Interior & comfort

“The MINI Cooper might be rather pricey, but its interior has character and quality in spades”

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Interior & comfort Rating

4.5 out of 5

The MINI Hatch was always one of the most upmarket small cars available, and the interior design of the MINI Cooper continues this trend and then some. It really does feel rather special, even in the most affordable Classic trim, thanks to finishing touches like a woven dashboard covering and lots of soft-touch trim. 

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Even the plastics you aren’t meant to interact with look premium and well engineered, and the switches dotted around the cabin feel suitably expensive too, which is a relief considering the Cooper isn’t exactly cheap. Not only does the cabin feel premium, but it’s also very airy and calming thanks to that uncluttered dashboard – go for the optional panoramic sunroof and it’s airier still.

By far its most attention-grabbing feature is its circular OLED display, positioned proudly in the centre of the dashboard – it’s also fairly high up so you can glance at it very easily whilst driving. Measuring more than nine inches in diameter it’s one of the best-looking screens we’ve seen, with colourful and crisp graphics.

Key features

Classic

  • OLED display
  • 16-inch alloy wheels
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Rear-view camera
  • Cruise control
  • Sat-nav

Exclusive 

(Classic plus…)

  • Heated front seats
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • LED headlights with high-beam assist
  • Wireless smartphone charging
  • Head-up display

Sport

(Exclusive plus…)

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Exterior body kit
  • Gloss-black exterior trim
  • Cord upholstery
 

Is the MINI Cooper infotainment and sat-nav system easy to use?

As mentioned above, the OLED screen is a good size and responds snappily, so it must have a hefty processor powering its numerous menus. It’s certainly attractive, but we were a bit less impressed with its interface from a usability standpoint. For a start, you have to prod the screen to be able to change the cabin temperature, which is a step backwards from the physical controls of the old car. There’s a personal assistant called Spike who can listen to your voice commands and carry out tasks like adjusting the climate control, but it can seem like quite a bit of work for simple actions.

Is the MINI Cooper well equipped?

MINI trim levels can be a bit of a minefield, so if you really want to dig into what personalisation is offered, the configurator is a good place to start. However, it’s handy to know that even standard Cooper models get LED headlights, a heated steering wheel, a rear-view camera, cruise control and sat nav. Cooper SE versions also add heated front seats, high-beam assist, a head-up display and a wireless smartphone charger.

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Following this, there are ‘Levels’, which are essentially option packs that add things like an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system, bigger wheels and a glass roof. 

There are also three trims that affect how the car looks, with Classic serving up four body and two roof colour combinations, 16-inch alloy wheels and some choices for the interior too. Exclusive adds a further roof colour, makes the wheels slightly bigger and brings a brighter interior design, while Sport again adapts the exterior colour palette, sees exterior trim finished gloss black and ushers in 18-inch alloy wheels. 

What options should you choose on the MINI Cooper?

Unlike a lot of new cars where you simply pick the trim level with most of the kit you want, MINI still offers a high level of personalisation. This has the benefit of making it possible to get exactly the car you want, but it’s also easy for the price of extras to spiral.

Packs include the £2,000 ‘Level 1’, adding features like adaptive LED headlights, keyless entry, folding and auto-dimming door mirrors, heated front seats, auto high-beam and a head-up display. The ‘Level 2’ is double the price, but also gets driver aids, a Harman Kardon stereo, a panoramic sunroof and exterior glass with a sun protection layer.  

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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