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 8.8-inch screen at the centre of the dashboard is probably the first thing you’ll notice when you climb into a MINI five-door, and it's a decent upgrade to the older 6.5-inch item. 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.
For the facelift in 2021, the ambient lighting was updated, so instead of the surfaces being backlit there's now a gentle glow around the interior. The ring around the infotainment screen glows a different colour depending on the selected driving mode, while also responding as you interact with the menus. A new steering wheel was fitted, with piano black buttons that look better but are also quite easy to press accidentally while driving.
MINI is so keen to advertise option packs that you can forget the MINI five-door is generously 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, LED exterior lighting and a remote smartphone connection.
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 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 similarly priced. Sport brings an arresting bodykit, 17-inch 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. Along with adding bonnet stripes, owners can change the colours of the door mirrors and roof, while also upgrading the alloy wheels. A Comfort Pack adds climate control, heated seats and storage compartments, while a Navigation Plus Pack includes a head-up display, Apple CarPlay, real-time traffic information and wireless smartphone charging.
Having BMW as a parent company brings with it certain advantages, and the MINI five-door’s infotainment system is one of these. The 8.8-inch screen is easy to navigate, and sat nav and Apple CarPlay can be added 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.