MINI Countryman SUV - Interior & comfort
Great materials and characteristic brand style cues make the MINI Countryman interior very attractive
While the MINI Countryman’s exterior treatment could be accused of stretching the MINI philosophy to breaking point, the interior is far more like the MINIs UK buyers have grown so fond of. Established MINI design features abound, but quality has improved noticeably, with interior materials now a pleasure to touch.
In fact, we reckon the Countryman now runs Audi close for interior build quality and this is backed up by logically arranged controls and switchgear whose function isn’t marred by its form. If you raid the options list, the interior can be jazzed up still further with various multi-coloured ambient LED light sources throughout to lend atmosphere and a sense of occasion.
MINI Countryman dashboard
Regular MINI drivers will immediately recognise the massive, round central dial as a key part of the brand’s interior character. It’s surrounded by an LED light ring that responds to how the car is driven. On all models, it houses a 6.5-inch colour screen that displays radio and music settings and journey information.
Unlike MINIs of old, the speedometer is mounted directly in front of you, flanked by a slim rev counter. The fuel gauge takes the form of an LED strip to the right of the dashboard and warning lights show on the speedometer if a fault should arise. Generally, the instruments are clear and easily understood. although some of the minor controls – those on the steering wheel, for example – may take a while to fathom.
Every MINI Countryman is well equipped, including sat nav – a feature that was an optional extra on the previous version. Apple CarPlay is also standard as of March 2018, along with a built-in 4G internet connection. This works with a MINI Connected smartphone app, allowing owners to check on their car, send destinations to the sat nav and even lock its doors remotely.
The standard Classic trim level is generous, with Bluetooth, cruise control and the Emergency E-call system as standard, with 16-inch alloy wheels and rear parking sensors also provided. If you want a racy look, Sport trim adds a muscular John Cooper Works bodykit and special alloy wheels, as well as supportive sports seats and a dark-coloured headlining. If you prefer comfort and style to sportiness, Exclusive trim might be to your taste. It has a simpler but no less attractive alloy-wheel design, subtle exterior chrome and a leather interior. Whichever trim level you choose, you can have any of the engines.
The 6.5-inch colour display does a fine job of presenting radio and navigation information clearly, but the optional Navigation System XL is even more impressive, combining touchscreen intuitiveness with the MINI’s proven and effective rotary controller next to the handbrake. It also incorporates a SIM card, enabling real-time traffic data to influence the advice the navigation system issues. Note a range of tech updates in summer 2017 means if you order your MINI Countryman now and specify the Media Pack XL or MINI Tech Pack, you should get Apple CarPlay thrown into the mix.
A fun feature is the MINI Country Timer, which automatically registers any journeys the car makes on sloping, uneven, badly surfaced or snow-covered roads and tracks. It’s a bit of a gimmick, but it’s entertaining watching your Countryman progress – you start out with a ‘street cruiser’ icon and this changes into a MINI monster truck once you’ve achieved ‘cliff champ’ status.
MINI wouldn’t be MINI without a wealth of personalisation options and the latest Countryman lives up to that maxim. There are many different alloy-wheel upgrades, exterior paint finishes, seat upholsteries and interior surface treatments to choose from.
The MINI Yours pack is fairly indulgent, bringing 19-inch alloys, leather ‘Lounge’ seats and LED illuminated Chestnut, British Oak or Piano Black dashboard treatments. The 8.8-inch Navigation Plus Pack is definitely a worthwhile upgrade and there’s a Harmon Kardon stereo upgrade for music fans.