Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
The Mini Countryman is large by small SUV standards and makes good use of every extra inch. Its high roof and low seating position allow even the tallest of drivers to get comfortable, and its wide body means you shouldn’t be rubbing elbows with your passenger.
Two cupholders in front of the gear lever and a couple of small cubbies for loose items are pretty much all you get when it comes to storage space. The door bins are a reasonable size, but you won’t be able to fit huge amounts into the glovebox.
Compared to regular Countryman models, the hybrid has slightly less rear head room because its bulky battery pack is mounted under the back seat, but only the very tallest of passengers are likely to notice. Those over six-feet tall might brush their knees on the front seat backs in any model, though.
Isofix child seat mountings are standard for the outer two seats, but a centre armrest is an optional extra. Rear seat access isn’t too tricky, due to relatively large rear door openings, but the high-set rear seat means passengers will have to duck down more than in taller rivals.
Those who regularly need to carry taller passengers would be wise to consider an even larger SUV, such as a Skoda Kodiaq or Seat Ateca – either can be bought for the cost of a Countryman.
Seat folding and flexibility
The Mini Countryman’s rear bench splits in a handy 40/20/40 configuration, so it’s easy to carry long and narrow items such as skis and snowboards even with two rear passengers still aboard. Folding down the rear seatbacks is simple in the Countryman, although they do lie at a slight angle when folded down. One reasonably priced option that adds to versatility is a sliding rear bench that allows you to choose your own balance between boot space and passenger room. It’s not available in the Cooper S E, though.
Other rivals offer similarly flexible rear seats, while the larger Karoq goes one better with rear seats that can be entirely removed for maximum carrying capacity.
The Mini Countryman not only has significantly more luggage room than you’ll find in a Mini hatchback, but slightly more than you’ll find in a Nissan Qashqai.
Its fairly low load lip helps when loading heavy items, and you can add a lockable variable-height boot floor as part of the optional storage compartment pack – this provides a nice flat floor to help when sliding bulky items in and out, as well as adding tie-down hooks, straps and netting to keep loads secure.
The Cooper S E’s battery pack extends from below the rear seat to under the boot floor, and reduces luggage capacity noticeably. That said, there’s still more space than you’ll find in a Volkswagen Golf.