Comfort and Quality » 7
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
The silly heater thumbwheels have been replaced by rocker switches. Seat adjusters are unassisted but that's consistent with the lean and mean Mini theme.
Style-conscious buyers are likely to love the refreshed Mini's key, which must be pressed into a slot in the dash before pushing the 'Start' button, but we wonder why it's not using a simple proximity sensor instead.
Despite the Mini Cooper's small size, the front seats are surprisingly spacious. There is no shortage of headroom or legroom and the cabin feels extraordinarily airy.
The convertible's soft-top opens partially like a sunroof, or it can open fully as a conventional convertible top would. There's also a standard Openometer that tracks how much time you've driven with the top down.
The audio controls have been consolidated under the large center speedometer, and all secondary controls are now finished in matte black rather than silver, as are the steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls.
Car and Driver
Passenger space is fine for the front seats, with even six-footers finding plenty of room and support. The back seats, as with any true compact, are a different story: almost no leg room and poor access make them almost unusable for full-size adults. Scoops in the back of the front seats attempt to improve conditions, but don't find much success. Occasional rear-seat riders will be fine, but don't plan on packing four adults in the car on a repeat basis.
The convertible worsens the situation, stacking the top behind the rear passengers' shoulders. In the hatch, cargo space is fair at 23.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down, and there's a pass-through for larger objects in the Convertible. Cargo space in the hatch with the seats up is a limited six cubic feet, but a two-position shelf helps make the best use of what's available.
Visibility can be a problem, however, as the beltline and rear passenger headrests are high and seating position low. Even in the Convertible, it's an issue. In the hatch, the small rear window adds to the problem.
We've driven more than a dozen MINIs over the years, and most examples have exhibited creaks, squeaks, and groans even under the 10,000-mile mark, though this experience isn't universal among other reviewers. Wind noise and road noise, on the other hand, are common complaints.
The 2011 MINI Cooper should be considered a place for two adults maximum, as the rear seats remain too small for serious use; build quality likewise could use some attention.