MINI 5-door hatchback - Interior & comfort
MINI is so keen to push its option packs that it’s easy to lose sight of how well the MINI 5-door is equipped in the first place
The MINI 5-door has the same cheeky charm and premium feel as the three-door car. The interior in the latest-generation MINI has been toned down from previous versions,, but it’s still very different to the rest of the supermini class. The brand is often criticised for its long and expensive option lists, but the MINI five-door actually comes pretty well equipped as standard – the highlights being air-conditioning and DAB digital radio.
MINI 5-door dashboard
The 6.5-inch circular screen at the centre of the dashboard is probably the first thing you’ll notice when you climb into a MINI five-door. The brochures tend to show it with the larger optional sat nav screen fitted, but as standard it displays the radio station you’re listening to and little else. The MINI’s dashboard is like no other. It’s curvy, cute and compact, with controls all grouped logically and the sort of build quality you’d expect from a brand owned by BMW.
MINI is so keen to push its option packs that it’s easy to lose sight of how generously the MINI five-door is equipped in the first place. In addition to the standard kit already highlighted, the MINI comes with electric windows all round – very useful when you have children on board. Other standard items that rivals tend to offer only on high-spec models include automatic headlights, ambient interior lighting, electric heated door mirrors, front foglights and a service indicator.
Log on to the MINI website and you’ll be bombarded with invitations to design your MINI exactly the way you want it. The process was made far simpler in 2018 with the introduction of three trim levels: Classic, Sport and Exclusive. Classic is the default option – effectively the entry-level model. It's far from spartan, though, and includes features that were were previously part of the optional Pepper and Chilli packs, which have now been discontinued.
You even get little touches like projectors that illuminate the ground with the MINI emblem when you open a door, so Classic trim will suffice for many. For a sportier or more luxurious character, though, you can upgrade to the Sport or Exclusive, both of which are identically priced. Sport brings an arresting bodykit, big alloy wheels and a racy interior with sports seats and a dark headlining, while Exclusive brings its own design of alloy wheels, subtle chrome exterior trim and a leather-lined interior.
As ever, there are additional packs that give you extra scope to personalise your MINI. The Navigation Plus pack included Apple CarPlay 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 Navigation Plus pack turns the dashboard circle into an 8.8-inch infotainment screen that you can operate using a touch controller by the gearstick. Of all the MINI five-door options, this is one of the best. There's also a Comfort Plus pack, bringing heated seats, climate control, a rear-view camera, folding door mirrors and technology to make parking easier. You'll also find a long list of individual colour and trim options to add that extra custom touch.
Having BMW as a parent company brings with it certain advantages, and the MINI five-door’s infotainment system is one of these. The standard 6.5-inch screen brings just Bluetooth, DAB radio and music streaming options, but you can upgrade to an 8.8-inch version and add sat nav and Apple CarPlay as an option.
This latter system is essentially a reworked version of BMW’s excellent iDrive infotainment setup, so inputting sat nav destinations couldn’t be easier, while the spoken directions feel more ‘human’ and less robotic than almost any other system on the market.
Route guidance is clearly displayed, while if you go for the optional HUD (head-up display) option you don’t even need to look away from the road to follow directions. The self-parking system is more of a mixed bag. It works well, but setting it up is a bit of a hassle that involves several steps.