Mini Countryman vs Audi Q2 and Seat Ateca
Mini has boosted practicality in the latest version of the Countryman. So does it now mix function and looks better than its small SUV rivals from Audi and Seat?...
What are they like inside?
All three cars will accommodate a 6ft-tall driver and front passenger easily enough, although it’s a shame that adjustable lumbar support costs £1020 (as part of an electric seat package) on the Countryman and £250 on the Q2; it’s standard on the Ateca. If you don’t want to fork out for electric seats, finding a comfortable driving position is most difficult in the Countryman. Adjusting the seat backrest angle is fiddly and, depending on your leg length, you may find the pedals awkwardly angled.
The Mini’s dashboard layout is the most confusing, too, although you may well prefer its retro chic design over the drab-looking, function-first approach of the Ateca. The Q2, meanwhile, strikes a sensible but happy medium.
It’s in the back where the differences are the most obvious. The Q2 is the pokiest here, offering the least head and leg room; taller adults will probably find their knees touching the front seatbacks. To put this in perspective, the Audi A3 Sportback (on which the Q2 is based) is actually slightly roomier. The taller roofs and taller doors of the Ateca and Countryman also make leaning in to reach child seats easier than it is in the Q2.
A tall adult will be comfortable sitting behind a driver of similar height in the Countryman, plus it’s the only car here that offers the option of sliding rear seats (£300). However, the Ateca’s rear seats are even roomier, providing the most head room and the most shoulder room when you need to squeeze in three people sitting side by side.
All three cars have folding rear seats. These split 60/40 in the Ateca and Q2, rather than the Countryman’s more convenient 40/20/40 arrangement. The Countryman’s boot is usefully square in shape and a good size, with some handy underfloor storage as standard. However, it won’t carry as much as the Ateca’s, which also has the widest opening of our trio.
It’s just a shame that a height-adjustable boot floor is a £115 option; it comes as standard on the other two cars. The Q2’s boot is the smallest here, but it can still swallow a pair of large suitcases. The Ateca is easiest to see out of, making it the easiest to park in a tight spot – despite it being the largest car here. The Countryman has annoyingly chunky rear pillars and a narrower rear window, but the Q2 has the worst visibility, because its roof slopes down more at the rear and it has even thicker rear pillars.