MINI Cooper Interior
The 2007 MINI Cooper receives fair reviews for its four-seat interior, based on the small amount of cargo and rear seat space and sometimes complicated cockpit controls. But, "For such a small car the MINI makes the most of its available interior space," says Kelley Blue Book. Other reviewers agree, but still heavily criticize the MINI's cramped rear seat. However, interior positives outweigh the negatives, with reviewers raving about the high-quality cockpit materials and endless combinations of unique interior options.
New Car Test Drive says, "For a car that has the smallest exterior of any four-passenger car on the road, the MINI is surprisingly spacious inside. Even a six-foot, five-inch driver will be comfortable in the front seat, and the three manual levers, controlling height, rake, and front-rear position, allow both driver and passenger to find a comfortable sitting position."
But reviewers are still less than impressed with the car's rear interior space.says, "And if the MINI name hasn't clued you in on the available interior space, just ask the prisoners in back, whose dignity depends on the space-sharing mercy of those up front. The front seats will accommodate bodies of basketball-dunking height, yet the car remains a virtual two-seater by adult standards." The agrees, noting, "My 6-foot-4-inch frame had no problem wedging into the driver's seat and the front passenger seat. But as for those two back seats ... puh-leeze! Two squirrels would develop claustrophobia within minutes."
Reviewers appreciate the new MINI's high-quality interior, but the redesigned cockpit controls still remain a point of contention. Changes for 2007 include a much larger central speedometer to make room for the car's radio controls and display. Many of the controls have also been relocated, and the center stack has been narrowed to provide roomier foot wells for the front seat. Edmunds praises the interior, commenting, "Overall, the hatchback's interior boasts a cleaner, more upscale look."
But others don't hide the fact that they find the controls difficult to use. Automobile Magazine comments at length, "It must be one of the least logical cabins in a current production vehicle. The central speedometer has grown. Looking at it is like watching a film from the front row: Your eyes have to focus on the area of interest, and that just isn't very helpful in a passenger car. Then there's the new center console: the heater controls work well enough, but the remaining switchgear appears to have been placed in a small bag, attached to a small incendiary device, detonated, and then glued in place where the pieces landed. There are fiddly little buttons everywhere."
Some reviewers are more lenient regarding overall functionality but still gripe about specifics, such as the new oversized speedometer, which measures a full 8 inches across and is located in the center of the dash (rather than on the driver's side). AutoWeek says, "Our only gripe is the dinner plate-size central speedometer, sized to accommodate the optional navigation screen, but so huge that it overpowers the cabin."
The 2007 MINI Cooper's well-equipped list of standard items includes push-button engine stop/start, AM/FM/CD stereo with six speakers and MP3 capability ("There's an audio source for every two feet of car," TechnoRide says), air-conditioning, six-speed manual transmission, color-adjustable interior lighting, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and power windows and mirrors.
For those who want more out of the interior, the MINI offers seemingly endless combinations of interior options. However, TechnoRide cautions buyers to add on options sparingly. "Just don't go overboard: A fully optioned MINI costs almost twice the base price."
Stereo and Entertainment
Buyers can upgrade the stock audio system by choosing the optional Audio Package, which comes with a 10-speaker audio upgrade, HD radio, and lifetime subscription to SIRIUS satellite radio. But note that the reviewers at CNET are impressed even with the stock sound system, commenting, "It is certainly not the best we've ever heard, but the speakers produce a strong, rich sound. The separation and range are both very good, especially for a stock system."
The 2007 MINI Cooper's Navigation System is available as an individual option and features voice control functions for hands-free instrument control, and a real-time traffic information system. TechnoRide cautions, "I'll hazard a guess and say navigation won't be a MINI Cooper strength. MINIs use the same Siemens-VDO technology as BMW, where it has been criticized by users for its stiff learning curve and has helped drag down BMW's reputation in some J.D. Power surveys. To be fair, it's pretty good once you've got directions programmed in."
The Car Connection praises the MINI's wide range of options, which allows drivers to tailor the car to match their unique tastes. "Some 60 percent of owners choose details from racing stripes to flags on the hood of the car to special side view mirrors to seat upholstery," the reviewer says. "And fortunately MINI has one of the most entertaining build-your-own-car sites on the Web."
One optional feature that reviewers widely comment on is the dual pane panoramic sunroof, which covers over 60 percent of the roof's surface. Front and rear panels tilt up in a partially open position. However, some find it impractical. "When closed, it is still covered by a thin perforated blind that lets in a lot of heat. Fine up north, I suspect, but in Florida, it turns a MINI parked in the sun into a little oven," says the.
The MINI's cargo space totals 5.7 cubic feet under the cargo hatch -- which is low compared to similar vehicles, but understandable given the MINI's small size. For better cargo room, the 50/50-split rear seat folds down to expand cargo space to 24 cubic feet. New Car Test Drive compliments this flexible configuration, noting that it's "more than enough for luggage space for two passengers for a two-week trip."