After a few days spent behind the wheel of the MINI Countryman, the only thing we could say about the interior is that it's perfectly balanced. It has the basic things to make you feel comfortable but, if you think you deserve more than the standard equipment, almost any feature you'd like is available on the options list.
But even so, the Countryman Cooper S we tested, although not in top-of-the-range configuration, made us feel like a bunch of white Persian kittens playing in fur. The model was equipped with an optional package actually, so we also received a couple of extras such as textile – leather upholstery, leather wrapped sport steering wheel, Antracit Dark center console, sport front seats and adjustable front passenger seat.
The interior is not at all luxurious, but it spoils you enough to make you criticize any other car models besides Bentleys, Rolls Royces or Ferraris. OK, not that much, but trust us, MINI managed to do on the Countryman the same great job it did on the other cars, offering a pleasant mix of original and traditional MINI features with new innovations and advanced technology.
Don't judge the car after the five minutes you step inside! It might seem unhandy, uncomfortable and totally opposed to the principles of ergonomics, but it's not. The old-school buttons, the power windows controls mounted on the center console and not on the doors, plus the big speedometer on the console are actually classic and modern at the same time. Add to this the three-color interior lighting and you'll get some sort of a retro disco facelifted for the year 2010.
It's a MINI, but interior space is not at all a problem. It's not a living room on wheels, but still. The interior however, can be customized depending on everyone's options. The Center Rail configuration depends on the type of rear seats: if the buyer chooses two individual seats then the rail starts at the center console and ends at the rear. In case a bench is fitted in the back, the rail stops between the two front seats. Either way, the system is pretty smart for a storage device, allowing easy manipulation and configuration.
In the end, the Countryman's interior can't be criticized too much, although there were people who said that the plastics used on the doors and on the dashboard have a very cheap and kitschy appearance.
Last but not least, this is the first MINI that lets you go shopping or leave on a longer journey without being forced to make a compromise between interior space and trunk volume. The boot has a volume of 350 liters (12.3 cu-ft) but, thanks to the implementation of the run-flat feature, you get an extra 20 liters (0.7 cu-ft) through the removal of the spare tire cover. Of course, with the rear seats folded the storage capacity goes way beyond what you'd expect from a MINI: 1170 liters (41.3 cu-ft).Continue reading