Comfort and Quality » 6
QUALITY | 6 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The silly heater thumbwheels have been replaced by rocker switches.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
The MINI Cooper range, is, well, pretty mini. But don't let that make you think it's not well-suited to people of all sizes.
Why? Because it really is, at least in the front row. Head room is very good in all but Coupe and Roadster models, where the lower, sportier roofline does reduce space somewhat. Leg room is great up front in all MINI models, and there's more hip and shoulder room than you'd expect, too. In Cooper Hardtop (hatchback) and Clubman models, there's even a fair amount of cargo space in the back--particularly in the Clubman. Even the standard hatch back offers 23.3 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
Convertible, Coupe, and Roadster models of the MINI Cooper are much more limited in overall space, however, as the small trunk of the convertible and the lack of rear seat space in the Coupe and Roadster leave no room for expansion. The rear seats in any model, except the Clubman, are too small to be useful for long trips, but are more than mere vestigial appendages. In the Clubman, the rear seat is actually human-sized, if only just.
The Clubman's center-opening rear hatch and odd three-door passenger entry arrangement make it unique, if a bit unusual at first.
We continue to find ergonomics puzzling in the Cooper and Coupe lineups, and they're clearly cases of fashion over function. Some common-use items are located out of reach, or in odd locations; seat adjusters are on the inboard sides, for instance, and infotainment controls are placed low on the center tunnel. But once you're used to it, these models are quite functional.
Firm-riding and yet comfortable, sporty and practical, the MINI Cooper range provides a fun balance as a daily driver. Wind and road noise can intrude on the cabin experience, however.
The 2014 MINI Cooper offers good front-row space and comfort, but the back seat is small and ride comfort can be a bit choppy on sportier models.