MINI Countryman hybrid interior, dashboard & comfort
Well designed and with good infotainment, the Countryman's interior is comfortable and solidly built; although the infotainment is beginning to show its age
We like the well built interior of the regular Countryman and it’s the same story with the hybrid. It has the same perceived quality and characterful round central display. As part of a recent update, the Countryman got the five-inch driver's display from the MINI Electric. It’s not the most configurable, but it shows all the key information exactly where you want it.
The seats are a touch firm and the standard manual adjustment is awkward to use sometimes, but the seats are generally comfortable and most people will be able to find a natural-feeling driving position.The Countryman's ride is also a bit firm, but it's not crashy or intrusive – especially with the optional adaptive dampers. Likewise, although there's some wind noise at motorway speeds, it's unlikely to bother occupants.
MINI Countryman hybrid 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 various car settings, and houses the infotainment system. The dashboard will be broadly familiar to existing MINI owners, but in the Countryman it takes on a more upright design that's more befitting of an SUV. Heater controls sit below the central screen, while a set of toggle switches sit below these, operating a few key functions. The largest of these is the acid-green starter button that’s the only real hint of this car’s electrified status.
Equipment, options and accessories
The plug-in hybrid Countryman Cooper S E ALL4 comes in four trim levels – Classic, Sport, Exclusive and the special-edition Untamed. Note that Sport isn’t currently available, but it’s a staple part of the range so should be back in the line-up once MINI has overcome the car industry’s parts shortage problems.
Standard kit across the range includes an 8.8-inch infotainment screen with sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Bluetooth connectivity, plus piano black interior trim, automatic wipers and lights, cruise control, rear parking sensors and keyless go.
Classic cars get 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth seats, while Sport models add racier exterior styling, 18-inch alloys and a range of interior changes including sports seats. Top-spec Exclusive gets 18-inch alloys and a more luxurious interior, with leather upholstery and different sports seats. Meanwhile, the Untamed gets bold exterior decals and new alloy wheels, plus green upholstery and exclusive trim. A dark-themed Shadow Edition has previously been available.
As this is a MINI product, these basic trims are just jumping-off points: a number of paint colours, upholstery and option packs are available to further customise your Countryman. Highlights include the Comfort Pack (which adds features like automatic air-con, heated seats and a front centre armrest) and the Driving Assistant Pack (which brings active cruise control and a range of other active safety features).
On top of these packs, a long list of options is offered, including adaptive LED headlights, a head-up display and a Harman Kardon audio system, along with a huge colour palette and various contrasting trim and decal options. It's very easy to rack up thousands of pounds of extras on top of the list price, so proceed with caution.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
The previous Countryman's standard 6.5-inch infotainment screen was replaced in 2020 by a superior 8.8-inch version. The system works well and features Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth and DAB radio, as well as sat nav. MINI's Remote Services and web-based ConnectedDrive also feature, offering the ability to send sat-nav information to the car and even remotely operate functions such as the door locks and charging.
The infotainment system is still housed within a large round binnacle in the middle of the dashboard – operated either via touch, or using the familiar wheel on the centre console. The graphics are starting to show their age a little and it doesn’t offer the breadth of functionality you might find in one of the MINI’s more modern rivals, but it’s so simple to operate. That counts for a lot when you need to change the radio station or input something into the sat nav on the move.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe MINI Countryman plug-in hybrid is not only pretty cheap to run – particularly for business drivers – it’s desirable and good to drive, too
- 2MPG & CO2 emissionsA useful 30-mile range and low CO2 emissions make the Countryman competitive; real-world fuel efficiency will vary
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe MINI Countryman hybrid will be cheap to run, especially for company-car users, but comparable rivals are a bit cheaper
- 4Performance, engine & driveThe Countryman remains one of the best plug-in hybrid SUVs to drive, although the ride is on the firmer side
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingWell designed and with good infotainment, the Countryman's interior is comfortable and solidly built; although the infotainment is beginning to show its age
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe MINI Countryman hybrid is one of the more practical plug-ins and should be big enough for small families
- 7Reliability & safety ratingGood crash-test results and low fault rates bode well, but you'll have to pay extra for extra safety systems