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#17

in Affordable Compact SUVs

MSRP: $22,100 - $34,950
Invoice: $20,330 - $32,155
MPG: 28 City / 35 Hwy
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MINI Cooper Countryman Interior

Test drivers say the 2014 Mini Countryman doesn’t stray much from Mini’s trademark retro styling and most find the design charming. Though materials are mostly plastic, reviewers say the overall fit and finish makes the cabin feel upscale. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, auto writers note, and rear seats offer ample room. However, the chic interior emphasizes form over function and the odd placement of things like the speedometer leaves some reviewers baffled. They dislike that the infotainment display isn’t a touch screen and requires turning a knob when toggling between navigation and audio, which critics say is distracting. Cargo space is small compared with most other compact SUVs’ cargo space, but reviewers say that's understandable given the Countryman’s small size.

  • "The Countryman and Paceman interiors are as charming as those in other Minis. There's the big round speedometer in the center, plus a bunch of small switches and buttons, a round tachometer, round air conditioning vents, round door pulls, more round things here and there - it's certainly distinctively Mini." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Again per Mini tradition, the Countryman cabin mixes hard- and soft-touch plastics with stylish shapes and textures to create an upscale "designer" ambience. Most materials look quality, but some fittings feel low-buck flimsy." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Overall fit and finish is on par with what you'd expect in a Mini. No drastic changes have been made to the major touchable surfaces and the seats remain comfortable and supportive. The standard Mini toggle switches still continue to amuse and confuse, but we're happy the interior refinement has largely been left alone." -- Autoblog (2011)
  • "While many surfaces are molded plastic, the fit, finish, and material quality is exemplary." -- Automobile Magazine (2011)

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Seating

The Countryman comes standard with faux-leather seats, six-way manually adjustable front seats with height control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel that tilts and telescopes. Options include heated front seats, leather-trimmed seats and adjustable lumbar support. Last year, the Cooper Countryman’s standard seating capacity increased to five, thanks to a new three-seat rear bench. Test drivers say the Countryman’s front seats are comfortable and supportive, and especially like  the optional leather seats. Visibility is good, they add, and the telescoping steering wheel makes it easy to find a good driving position. They’re also impressed with the amount of headroom and legroom, saying the rear seat is surprisingly spacious for a Mini.

  • “On the plus side, the sightline are superb, affording an excellent view of the road ahead." -- Left Lane News
  • "The tall, boxy body furnishes ample head- and legroom for larger adults despite fairly high-set seats. That seat positioning combines with good-size doorways to make entry much easier than in the smaller, lower-slung Minis. The available leather seats are comfortable and do a good job of holding occupants in place around fast turns. Long seat tracks and the standard tilt/telescopic steering wheel help tailor a basically upright driving position." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • “If you've always yearned for a Mini but couldn't live without a usable backseat, the Countryman is your answer." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "At their most rearward setting, the rear seats offer generous legroom and an uncharacteristic- for a Mini - amount of headroom." -- Kelley Blue Book (2012)

Interior Features

The base Mini Cooper Countryman comes standard with a six-speaker CD audio system, an auxiliary input, HD Radio, Bluetooth, a USB/iPod adapter, push-button start and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. Available upgrades include satellite radio, a Harman Kardon sound system, a voice-controlled infotainment system with a 6.5-inch hi-def display screen and navigation. Additional options include a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors and a universal garage door opener.

Test drivers say the Mini Countryman’s gauges and audio controls take some getting used to and aren’t very user-friendly. They say the speedometer is hard to read and they’re disappointed that the audio display isn’t a touch screen, saying that toggling between navigation, audio and phone settings with a knob can be cumbersome. Reviewers like the real-time traffic data on the available navigation system and appreciate that you can connect the car with a compatible smartphone. Several test drivers mention that the window switches have been moved from the dashboard to the doors, which they say is more convenient for passengers to reach.  

See the full 2014 Mini Cooper Countryman specs »

  • "The cabin is marked by MINI's quirky control layout, which is highlighted by a speedometer mounted in the center of the dashboard. Secondary controls are arranged in a whimsical but not always logical fashion. …" -- Left Lane News
  • “After a chorus of criticism, Mini has finally relented and placed the switches where you expect to find them: in the door panel." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "The central speedometer is huge but hard to read without leaning inboard, though the standard tachometer includes an easy-read digital speed readout. However, the available information screen shrinks the main speedometer needle to a small speck. The screen is small enough and low enough to require a long glance down from the road. Worse, it operates not by touch but by a small knob ahead of the shifter, so cycling among navigation, audio, and phone functions is tedious, as well as distracting." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The available navigation system for the Countryman is saved from mediocrity by its integrated traffic data. Phone and audio systems are good, but don't reach for technical nirvana." -- CNET (2011)

Cargo

The Mini Cooper Countryman comes standard with roof rails, rear bike rack mountings and has up to 42.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded and 16.5 cubic feet with the rear seats in use. That’s a lot less space than most rival compact SUVs offer, but more than the Nissan Juke has overall. Some test drivers say the smaller cargo hold makes it less practical than a traditional crossover. Others point out that there’s enough room for a week-long trip and that the Countryman is more practical than other Minis. For 2014, Mini has done away with the center storage rail that divided the rear seat in previous models.

  • "The underfloor bin is nice, but the jack steals quite a bit of the space. Small-item storage around the driver is stingy; the little tray at the base of the center stack is nearly useless." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "If you have always wanted a Mini but your daily driving responsibilities require a more practical vehicle, the 2012 Countryman's … cargo space might be the answer you were looking for." -- Kelley Blue Book (2012)
  • "… there's even enough luggage space for a week in the country.” -- Popular Mechanics (2011)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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