MINI hatchback review - more tech, more efficient, but still fun - Interior and technology
Fashionable supermini retains its sense of fun, with improved practicality and economy
Interior and Tech
At a glance, the latest Mini’s interior will be familiar to existing owners. Most notably, a large circular element dominates the centre of the dashboard, though this no longer contains an equally large speedometer. Instead, this is now housed on the top of the steering column – and it’s much easier to read as a result.
Instead, the speedo’s previous home now houses infotainment system details and on applicable models, the car’s satellite navigation system. An improved iDrive-style controller replaces the old joystick switch and once familiarized, it’s possible to skip through the menus without much thought.
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The rest of the interior is similarly improved. All models now receive well-designed, well-trimmed and supportive seats – not always a given in previous cars – which adjust endlessly for the ideal driving position. Quality has also improved and make continuing Minis like the Countryman and Paceman feel a generation behind.
Those relegated to the back row finally get something approaching usable legroom. Greater still is the increase in boot capacity, while NVH levels are low and visibility, aided by the car’s upright windscreen, is surprisingly good.
Special mention has to go to the Mini’s driving mode selection, achieved via a rotating collar at the base of the gearlever. It’s far easier to use than fiddly buttons or a touchscreen, though the system’s promise of ‘Maximum go-kart feel’ when Sport is selected feels a little patronizing. There’s a head-up display on some models, though drivers opting for a low-set driving position might find it nearly out of their sight line.