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2012 MINI Cooper Countryman Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 MINI Cooper Countryman was new.


Interior: 7.8

The 2012 Cooper Countryman is family-friendly, but it won’t be perfect for everyone. For example, it only seats four, which means bigger families have to shop elsewhere. However, for smaller families, the Cooper Countryman is a promising option, especially if you eyed the Mini Cooper in the past, but chose a different car because the Cooper isn’t family-friendly.

  • "Overall fit and finish is on par with what you'd expect in a Mini. No drastic changes have been made to the major touchable surfaces and the seats remain comfortable and supportive. The standard Mini toggle switches still continue to amuse and confuse, but we're happy the interior refinement has largely been left alone." -- Autoblog
  • "One downside is that the Countryman is less spacious than the models against which it is likely to be compared. And it only seats four while wagonettes like the Kia Soul seat five, and compact crossovers like the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson offer greater cargo capacity." -- Edmunds


Families with more than four members shouldn’t consider the Mini Cooper Countryman because that’s all it seats. Other than its limited seating capacity, test drivers are pleased with the Cooper Countryman’s cabin because it’s the most spacious one they’ve seen from Mini. A few even say there’s plenty of room for passengers who are 6 feet tall, which is a comment we don’t hear about the petite Mini Cooper Hardtop. Not only is there more room in the Cooper Countryman, but the driver also gets a more commanding view of the road.

The Cooper Countryman comes standard with faux-leather seats, but cloth and/or leather seats are optional. Heated front seats are also optional.

  • "If you're used to the Cooper hatchback's cramped quarters, the Countryman's generous passenger compartment will surprise. Two reclining bucket seats in the rear slide back far enough for the Countryman to accommodate 6-footers in both rows. If you've always yearned for a Mini but couldn't live without a usable backseat, the Countryman is your answer." -- Edmunds
  • "The rear seat has impressive headroom and legroom for 6-footers. Entry and exit are good unless front seats are pushed far back. The rear seats slide fore and aft and the seat backs recline." -- Consumer Guide
  • “It also has more ground clearance and a more upright seating position, which Mini refers to as a ‘semi command’ view of the road." -- Popular Mechanics

Interior Features

Mini gave the Cooper Countryman a lot of tech features. Unfortunately, many aren’t standard and will increase the Cooper Countryman’s base price considerably. Overall, most reviewers are impressed with the Cooper Countryman’s quirky interior design, but some are frustrated with its confusing interior controls and somewhat cheap construction.

The base Cooper Countryman comes with a leather sport steering wheel with mounted cruise control and audio controls, a tilt and telescopic steering column, push-button start, an auxiliary input jack, a one-year subscription to satellite radio and HD radio technology. Bluetooth, an iPod adaptor and a Harman Kardon sound system are optional.

In the center of the dashboard, you’ll find a speedometer. If you choose the optional navigation system, that’s also where you’ll find it. Navigation is paired with optional Mini Connected, a system that allows you to connect your iPhone and receive tweets, news, weather reports and email while you’re driving. You can even stream your Pandora Internet radio stations. Reviewers like this system.

  • "While many surfaces are molded plastic, the fit, finish, and material quality is exemplary." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "As in other Mini vehicles, the interior is made of a mix of hard- and soft-touch plastics, all of which feel high-quality and are well assembled. The cupholders are small and can eject anything bigger than small plastic water bottles. Interior illumination includes colored lights with adjustable hues in the door panels and center rail." -- Consumer Guide
  • “Quirky styling flourishes like its gigantic central speedometer are charming reminders that the Countryman is indeed a Mini. Unfortunately, the wagon also shares the regular Cooper's penchant for curious and sometimes frustrating controls that value form over function." -- Edmunds


The Cooper Countryman’s 16.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats in use is spacious for a Mini, but small in comparison with other crossovers. Rear space is optimized when the rear seats are folded, increasing cargo capacity to 41.3 cubic feet.

The Cooper Countryman also has an innovative center rail interior storage feature. This center console extends from the front seat to the back seat. It has removable storage compartments and cables for your iPod or cell phone. Not all test drivers are pleased with the center rail because it gets in the way of the parking brake and isn’t as useful as it looks.

  • "Countryman has an impressive amount of cargo room with the rear seat backs up. The rear seat backs fold, but don't lay completely flat. It has a cargo cover and large under-floor storage area. The load floor folds up and locks against the rear seat backs to allow storage and hiding of larger items." -- Consumer Guide
  • "What about the cargo area? Is it big? Not really." -- Cars.com
  • "While in most cases, we found the Mini rail system to be highly functional and an attractive feature, the parking brake tends to interfere when tall items are placed in the rail (i.e. an iPhone4 in the rail charger with a tangled power cord)." -- Road and Track
  • "The adjustable center storage rail is another disappointment. It seems neat in theory but in practice it offers little in terms of useful storage places." -- Edmunds

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