MINI Countryman Cooper S E All4 interior & comfort
We like the well-built interior of the regular Countryman and it’s the same story with this hybrid version. It has the same decent perceived quality and characterful round central infotainment display.
Look closely, and you can spot a few reminders of the hybrid technology, such as the bright yellow stop-start toggle switch you press when you want to get going. The instrument cluster gets a slightly different display, too, replacing the traditional rev counter with a gauge that also shows how much power is left in the battery power and how much energy is going back into it.
It’s pretty comfortable inside, too. The seats are a touch firm and the standard manual adjustment is awkward to use sometimes, but the seats are generally comfortable and most drivers will be able to find a natural-feeling driving position. The Countryman's ride comfort is a bit firm (an Outlander is more comfortable), but it's not crashy or intrusive – especially if you add the optional adaptive dampers. Likewise, although there's some wind noise at motorway speeds, it's unlikely to bother occupants.
MINI Countryman S E All4 dashboard
Anyone who’s driven a modern MINI will immediately recognise the massive, round central dial that features right across its range. It’s surrounded by an LED light ring that responds to how the car is driven and 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 shine on the speedometer if a fault arises. 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 get used to.
Equipment, options and accessories
You can choose from three different style grades for the Countryman PHEV – Classic, Sport or Exclusive – but the equipment grade is essentially the same as the Cooper S, which is the highest specification in the range. So it comes with plenty of goodies, from all the chrome detailing dotted around the body to its 17-inch alloy wheels, the engine scoop on the bonnet and all the luxuries inside.
That includes air-conditioning, sat nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio, but there’s also a lot of stuff that you might assume is standard that actually costs extra, including climate control so that you can set a specific temperature on the air-con, and the sliding rear seats and central armrest in the back. It's actually not difficult to see the MINI's price creeping up towards £40,000, and of you tip over that price then it also costs you more in road tax.
Of those options, you could well be tempted by the Navigation Plus pack, which adds a larger display screen, enhanced sat nav and wireless phone charging for around £1,300. The Chili Pack enhances the upholstery and adds features like climate control, LED exterior lights and 18-inch wheels for just over £3,300. The MINI Tech Pack includes a reversing camera, Harman Kardon stereo and head-up display for around £1,100. Keyless entry and a powered tailgate are other additional extras that family motorists might be interested in.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
Standard kit includes the MINI Visual Boost radio, with a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, complete with displays that show you how the plug-in hybrid system is operating even more clearly. Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth and DAB digital radio are all also standard.
As on all Countryman models, 4G connectivity is standard. Dubbed ‘MINI Connected’, the system offers a concierge phone line service, real-time traffic information and improved integration with smartphones, including the ability to send sat-nav information to the car and even operate functions such as the door locks. The Countryman Cooper S E All4 extends this connectivity to hybrid-specific features, including a charging timer and charging-station search function.