Mini Countryman hatchback driving position
Electric adjustment for the front seats is available and the optional sports seats are both comfortable and supportive under moderately hard cornering. Unsurprisngly, the standard seats are fractionally more comfortable, but it’s a shame that adjustable lumbar support is only offered as part of the expensive electric seat and memory pack upgrade.
The spring-loaded backrest is also tricky to adjust in small increments and the release lever is awkwardly placed.
The steering wheel has both reach and rake adjustment that, in combination with the seat, allows both very tall and very short drivers to get comfortable. The dials are attached to the steering column, making them easy to read, and a head-up display is optional. The toggle switches in the centre of the dash look good but are partially obscured by the gearlever.
Mini Countryman hatchback visibility
Although Mini calls the Countryman an SUV, it feels much more like a conventional hatchback from behind the wheel. It may have slightly raised ground clearance and a tall roof, but the Seat Ateca and Nissan Qashqai tower over you.
Forward visibility is pretty good, though, with that tall screen and the bulbous, rounded headlights making it easy to judge the edges of the car. Thick pillars front and back make it tricky to see over your shoulder when approaching junctions, though, and the small rear windows mean it can feel a little dark for those in the rear.
The good news is that rear parking sensors are standard, while front parking sensors are fairly affordable. Should you want even more reassurance, a rear-view camera is also available.
Mini Countryman hatchback infotainment
All versions of the Countryman get a DAB radio, Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB audio connection and sat-nav. While a fairly small 6.5in colour screen is standard, there is the option of a super-widescreen 8.8in touchscreen with a sharper display. This is standard on the Cooper SE plug-in hybrid. Both also get a rotary dial between the seats that makes controlling the infotainment easy.
If that sounds like BMW’s iDrive system, that’s because it is. That means easy-to-navigate menus and clear graphics. The top-spec system is certainly a good one with plenty of online functionality, but it’s an expensive option. You can also spec upgraded Bluetooth that can handle two devices at once, as well as also a beefier stereo.
Mini Countryman hatchback build quality
The old Countryman’s build quality failed to impress, despite the premium pricing. Things are much better in this generation; there are far more soft-touch plastics around the dashboard, tops of doors and other areas you’ll interact with regularly. Move further down and you will find harder, scratchier plastics, but for the most part they aren’t too noticeable.
The Countryman retains Mini’s trademark toggle switches in the centre of the dash. These feel impressively solid and look like they’re actually made of metal. The other switches aren’t quite as industrial, but they do click with a pleasing precision.