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In-depth reviews

MINI Cooper - Interior, design & technology

Beautifully finished, the MINI’s cabin lives up to the premium supermini feel its price demands; the tech is impressive, too

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£23,110 to £42,500
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The good news is that the MINI Cooper SE feels every bit as premium as the MINI Countryman we’ve already been impressed by. The car we tested is in the most basic of the three style-led trim levels, Classic, yet while its woven dashboard texture is admittedly a little dark and dull to look at, it does a good job of feeling nicely engineered. Other, more expensive trim levels brighten up this finish, while still retaining the quality feel.

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There are soft-touch materials in many key areas, and even where there aren’t, the plastics and switches are high-grade and feel posh to the touch. This is absolutely a premium small car, just as the original modern MINI was – and feels how a premium vehicle should.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

MINI’s infotainment system is a straight carry-over from the Countryman, and in general that’s a good thing. The circular OLED display in the centre of the dash measure more than nine inches in diameter; it’s crisp and clear, and judging by the speed with which it throws around graphics and zooms in and out of the map during navigation, it has a suitably grunty processor at its heart.

The interface itself can be a little fussy, and we’re less impressed that you have to prod the screen once before getting access to the temperature controls. The voice command system, complete with its personal assistant ‘Spike’, can help perform functions like this, but it takes an age compared with twiddling a physical knob left or right.

Most functions are easy enough to use once you get used to the sheer number of graphics, icons, and on-screen buttons. It also helps that the system quickly responds to your inputs.

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Editor-at-large

John started journalism reporting on motorsport – specifically rallying, which he had followed avidly since he was a boy. After a stint as editor of weekly motorsport bible Autosport, he moved across to testing road cars. He’s now been reviewing cars and writing news stories about them for almost 20 years.

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