Kia Niro PHEV vs MINI Countryman PHEV: interior and infotainment
The Niro is more comfortable and features better infotainment; the MINI feels a little more premium but has costly options
There's not a massive gulf in quality between these two; despite the MINI's premium image, both cars offer a broadly similar level of build quality. The MINI does feel more stylish inside, however, with its trademark retro touches, but the Kia runs the Countryman closer than you might expect when it comes to fit and finish. It also beats the MINI hands down in the infotainment stakes.
The MINI gets a 6.5-inch infotainment screen as standard that'll be familiar to those who have sampled MINI's other cars; the system works well and can be used to display hybrid-specific information as well as the usual combination of sat nav and Apple CarPlay. Android Auto is not available, however.
Most important to this comparison is standard equipment and technology – to get a rear-view camera, wireless phone charging or heated seats, you'll have to shell out for a number of option packs. The Niro gets all of this included in the asking price if you go for 3 trim; you'll have to spend more on the MINI to bring its kit list up to the same level.
We prefer the Niro's recently refreshed infotainment system, too; it runs on a crisp and clear 10.25-inch screen. Menus are easy to navigate and the standard sat-nav works well. Those without iPhones will welcome the inclusion of Android Auto alongside Apple CarPlay, while the wireless charger also helps sweeten the deal. It's worth noting that the lower-spec 2 model makes do without this and uses a smaller eight-inch infotainment screen.
Elsewhere, the Niro is the slightly more comfortable car, with its more relaxed nature and softer setup; the MINI retains a sporty edge that impacts on this slightly. Both have supportive seats all round and as specced, leather upholstery is standard.
In This Review
- 1IntroKia's practical and good-value plug-in hybrid family SUV takes on the stylish and sporty MINI Countryman S E ALL4
- 2Range & chargingThe Kia has the MINI beaten on pure electric range and efficiency, although charging will take longer due to its bigger battery
- 3Running costs & warrantyThe Kia is better value for money than the MINI and should cost a little less to run; its warranty is fantastic, too
- 4Performance & handlingThe Kia isn't as fast or as fun as the MINI, but still drives neatly. The MINI is the drivers' choice
- 5Interior & infotainment - currently readingThe Niro is more comfortable and features better infotainment; the MINI feels a little more premium but has costly options
- 6Space & practicalityThe MINI has a bigger boot, but the Niro is still a very spacious family car
- 7Safety & reliabilityBoth cars should be safe, but the Kia has a stronger track record with owners and better warranty cover than the MINI
- 8Verdict & specificationsThe MINI Countryman is a good car, but can't quite compete with the all-round package that is the Niro PHEV