Mini Countryman Electric

The countryman has a genuinely well-resolved interior, which could prove to be a stand-out feature against the growing ranks of similarly sized electric SUVs. Our Exclusive-trim test car was bright and spacious, with a minimalist design complemented by retro flourishes. 

Mini’s designers have used the extra space the platform offers to good effect, so both front and rear occupants will find decent leg room and won’t feel hemmed in.

The feeling of space is accentuated by excellent use of materials, many of which are partly recycled or recyclable. The fabric that covers the dashboard felt warming and inviting, and nicer than the ‘sporty’ touches of Sport trim, as we saw on the John Cooper Works.

As with the John Cooper Works model, the bulk of the controls are operated through a round OLED touchscreen that dominates the dashboard.

Our test car also featured an optional head-up display, and that’s an option box you would do well to tick, given that all of the information usually seen behind the steering wheel has been shifted to the top of the touchscreen.

The infotainment system offers eight ‘Experiences’, selected via a pleasingly tactile toggle beneath the touchscreen (there are also retro-styled physical controls for the gear selector, start/stop button and volume control), that all have an introductory sound and adjust the look and layout of the screen.

There are other changes from the ICE version, too. Pick Timeless mode and not only will your touchscreen become a recreation of an original 1959 Mini speedo but also the motor noise will take on a subtle new tone reminiscent of a four-cylinder petrol engine.

Again, it’s a bit of a gimmick and won’t be to everybody’s tastes, but it’s understated enough to be just the right side of cheesy.

As in the JCW, we encountered the odd infotainment glitch, and how much you enjoy any Countryman might depend on how touchscreen-tolerant you are.

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