Interior Comfort and Ergonomics
The MINI Cooper Coupe is designed for two people and some luggage. While it has a deeper trunk than a standard Cooper, you lose the upper space of the regular hatchback. There is a little bit of storage space behind the two seats, but that space is not very well utilized by the designers. They could have put a bit more thought and created more useful storage arrangements.
The seats are very supportive and fairly easy to adjust like on other Coopers. The gigantic center dash-mounted dial for the speedometer is hard to miss but not very useful for the driver. I tended to focus on the digital speed readout in the LCD part of the steering column-mounted tachometer dial to know how fast I was going.
I like the unique MINI flip switch designs, they’re a nice touch. But MINI is not consistent throughout, with some controls being push button and some being flip switches. And the design details can get a little overwhelming at times and make the entire interior appear too busy.
The user interface of the MINI Connected in-car entertainment/Navigation system is not all that intuitive, and the joystick controller of the tester was not super sensitive, often requiring pushing repeatedly before the system would register an action.
I downloaded the free MINI Connected iPhone app, which promises connection to Facebook, Twitter, web radio, RSS feeds, Google Local Search results, etc., but found it extremely hard to use. The connection via the USB iPhone/iPod cable was not tight and required constant jiggering, and the functionalities are not always working. It is very gimmicky and looks better on paper than how it works in real life.
With an MSRP of $31,200, the tester MINI JCW Cooper Coupe’s long list of options quickly took it to a total suggested retail price of $38,450. With that kind of money, one can choose from a plethora of sports coupes on the market with equal or better performance. Most of these other cars are even rear-wheel drive and have more creature comfort options than the MINI JCW Cooper Coupe. None of them, however, are as fun to drive as the go kart-like MINI or as quirky as the MINI.
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