Mini Countryman: driven - What's it like inside?

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  • Our verdict on Mini's crossover
  • Price: £16,000 to £20,810
  • On sale: September
Mini says 80% of all Countrymans (or is that Countrymen?) will be sold to people who've never owned a Mini. That means it needs to do something very different to the firm's other cars – and that something is space. Proper space, the sort a family can use. Good job, then, that the Countryman is by far the biggest Mini yet – 40cm longer than the hatch and 16cm longer than the Clubman.

This means good rear legroom: move the sliding rear seats back as far as they'll go, and you get more rear kneespace than in some family saloons. Headroom is also generous, so four tall adults will feel spoiled for space.

It's the first Mini to offer five seats, too, but the middle seat should be reserved for only occasional use – it's hard and narrow, and there's nowhere near enough shoulder room to comfortably accommodate three in the back.

Cabin width is less of an issue if you specify your Clubman as a four-seater, an option that's available at no extra cost.1

What about the boot?
So, the cabin is roomy enough for a small family, but is the boot big enough to cope with the clutter that inevitably follows a family around? Well, things start positively. Slide the rear bench to the middle of its 13cm travel, and you get a Golf-equalling 350 litres of space. There's also a false boot floor that can divide the space into two parts – handy.

However, set the bench for maximum legroom, and boot space shrinks to 220 litres – that's less than you get in a Clubman. Sliding the seats all the way forward gives you 442 litres of cargo space, but then legroom is cut to uncomfortable proportions. Not ideal.

The driving position is higher than existing Mini drivers will be used to, but you get a good view of the road and there's a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help you get comfy. The dash design is unique to the Countryman, but like all Minis, the retro styling puts aesthetics before ease of use.

Mini Countryman: driven - What's it like to drive?

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