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QUALITY | 8 out of 10
Cooper is much roomier inside than people expect
You get 6 cubic feet of [cargo space] in the 2009 convertible whether the top's up or down
Cooper S felt solid and showed no signs of rattles squeaks or cowl shake
Anyone who steps inside a 2009 MINI Cooper Convertible for the first time will likely be surprised by just how large the cabin is. That said, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that MINI's 2009 model is comfortable only for two, as backseat comfort and space is more of an afterthought on the MINI Cooper S Convertible and its brethren.
The 2009 MINI Cooper Convertible is a two-door runabout with a maximum passenger capacity of four. Reviewers tend to love the seating arrangement up front, where Automobile Magazine finds that "the cockpit is really comfortable," but the back is a whole other story. Autoblog reports that the convertible "is a bit more snug" in the rear than the hatchback, which means that, "with the front passenger seat pulled forward, a small-framed passenger can fit, if only for short trips." If there's a full-sized pair of occupants up front, however, then you can forget about trying to squeeze anyone into the back. One of the only complaints about the front seating arrangement comes from ConsumerGuide, where reviewers feel that "the convertible's wide center console restricts knee space for taller drivers," although they approve of the fact that the "seats are firm and supportive."
The folding convertible top of the MINI 2009 drop-top lineup utilizes an unconventional arrangement: The top doesn't fold into the trunk but rather sits atop the rear of the car. The downside here is that rearward visibility is restricted whether the top is up or down, but on the positive side, the 2009 MINI Cooper Convertible's trunk is always free to hold a suitcase or two. Edmunds reviewers note the fact that "you get 6 cubic feet of [cargo space] in the 2009 convertible whether the top's up or down," which is a major improvement over the previous-generation MINI convertible. Cars.com points out that the MINI Cooper S Convertible's versatility can be increased even further, since "the backseat can be folded to increase volume to 23.3 cubic feet," which is also a gain compared to last year's model.
Although the current 2009 MINI Cooper Convertible lineup is manufactured in MINI's ancestral home of England, the brand is owned by German automaker BMW. That might explain why the materials inside the MINI seem so high-end; ConsumerGuide reports that the interior features a "distinctive, complex blend of colors, shapes, and textures, all with solid workmanship," a phrase that could be used to describe any vehicle from the BMW stable. The MINI Cooper S Convertible is nearly identical to the base model in terms of interior materials, but moving up to the John Cooper Works trim brings a few extra goodies. Automobile Magazine notes that the 2009 MINI Cooper Convertible JCW's interior is "top-of-the-line, and includes an alcantara steering wheel, sport seats, JCW floor mats, and a glossy piano black dashboard finish." Along with the top-notch materials, reviews read by TheCarConnection.com unanimously agree that MINI Cooper Convertibles are assembled with impeccable attention to detail and build quality.
Road noise is very well suppressed when riding within the comfortable confines of the MINI's cabin. Autoblog reviewers report that their MINI Cooper S Convertible "felt solid and showed no signs of rattles, squeaks or cowl shake." TheCarConnection.com's editors also find that conversations at freeway speed are very manageable with the windows up, as the aerodynamics of the MINI Cooper Convertible keep wind rush from entering the cabin.
Don't be fooled by the rear seatbelts—the 2009 MINI Cooper Convertible is, for all intents and purposes, a two-person vehicle.