The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The driver's seat in the Mini is comfortable and has a wide range of adjustment as standard. The controls can be fiddly, though, particularly the lever that alters the angle of the spring-loaded backrest. Shorter drivers might struggle to slide the seat far enough forwards to comfortably push the clutch all the way down. You can’t have adjustable lumbar support with base Classic trim but it is available as part of an optional seat upgrade on Sport and comes as standard on Exclusive and JCW models.
The space restrictions of a compact interior mean that the three pedals sit a little off centre. They’re also quite close together so big shoes can end up getting caught on neighbouring pedals – drivers with larger feet will need to exercise a delicate touch. Analogue dials are standard and we wouldn't bother with the digital display that's added with the Navigation Pack as it doesn’t show a great deal of extra information. The head-up display that comes with the Navigation Plus pack is clear and puts useful info in your line of sight, though.
Compared with the dashboards of more conventional rivals, the retro-themed one in the Mini looks rather higgledy-piggledy. There are a few quirky features that take time to get used to, such as the engine start toggle at the base of the centre console. Thankfully, other important controls, including those on the steering wheel for media adjustment, are conveniently positioned and easy to use.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The three-door Mini has reasonable all-round visibility – including a decent over-the-shoulder view thanks to fairly slim rear pillars – and its compact shape means it’s easy to judge the car’s extremities. As such, it’s not difficult to park, although rear sensors are only standard on Sport trim and up, and the front windscreen pillars are rather chunky. Front parking sensors and a rear-view camera come as part of the Comfort Plus pack, as does an automatic parking system that will steer the car into a space for you.
Bright automatic LED headlights and rear lights in a Union Jack design come as standard, and adaptive headlights that dip automatically when another car is approaching can be added as an option on all trims. Auto wipers are standard fit on all models.
Sat nav and infotainment
The Mini gets an 8.8in colour screen as standard, with Bluetooth, a DAB radio and a couple USB inputs. The screen is controlled either by touch or with a rotary dial and shortcut buttons in front of the gear lever. It’s easier and less distracting to use the dial on the move, and something its rivals don't offer, although the touchscreen is handy when you’re stationary.
Sat-nav and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring come as part of the Navigation Plus Pack that’s optional on all models, making it a box well worth ticking. Indeed, it makes the pricier Navigation Plus Pack look rather pointless unless you’re desperate for wireless phone charging or the head-up display.
Regardless of the amount you’ve spent on the infotainment, you’ll get sharp graphics, menus that are easy to understand and quick responses to your commands. In fact, with the Navigation Pack or above, it’s the best system available on any small car.
The Mini has a premium image and the interior lives up to that, with plenty of soft-touch plastics on the dashboard, and knobs and switches that have a substantial feel. It looks great, too, with a cheerful design that has some special touches, including extensive ambient lighting on Sport trim or above that you can customise to offer almost any colour in the spectrum.
All in all, it’s the plushest interior in the small-car class, managing to beat even the Audi A1 for quality. There are a few areas where the plastics feel a little cheaper, though, such as lower down the doors, with some sharp edges around the seat adjustment switches. Still, you’ll find more unyielding material in every one of the Mini’s rivals.
Brilliant to drive and a thoroughly good all-rounder
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