Minimalism has always been at the core of MINI’s design. The MINI Countryman is a car most would recognise, but it is not particularly meant for those who want the latest automobile technologies.
The MINI Countryman Cooper S JCW Inspired (which we tested) is the top trim variant of the MINI Countryman. The technology here is not what you would call “top of the line".
That said, this one isn’t meant to be about technology—it is, after all a MINI with its Cooper rallying heritage. Inside, you get BMW’s iconic iDrive controller—a rotating dial placed next to the driver, which lets you navigate the system.
The Countryman’s 8.8-inch screen is touch-enabled now, something that MINI took a while to adapt. However, with the iDrive controller at hand, you don’t have to reach out and touch the screen when driving.
There’s also a head-up display, which shows the driver information such as speed, navigation markers, etc. The Countryman connects to phones via Bluetooth, and does not support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay—these are optional extras that you can pay to enable in markets outside India. MINI, however, will want you to use its own interface but it does simplify things.
MINI’s native navigation system is decent for big cities, but can’t replace Google Maps. It often can’t pinpoint the more obscure locations you might want to navigate to.
The Countryman has a good audio system. While it does not match some of the more expensive luxury cars out there (or even a similarly-priced Volvo XC40), the 12-speaker Harman Kardon (HK) audio system (lower variants have 8-speaker configurations) sounds crisp, and can get really loud.
But the real attraction with MINI has always been the colourful lights, retro toggle switches and the overall circular displays.
Almost everything—from the ignition switch to the driving mode toggle—is done via physical toggle switches, which is something that those with a penchant for the old school will enjoy.
The interior is lit up with LEDs around the central console, doors and so on. When you unlock the car, the iconic MINI logo is projected on the ground on either side, a nifty gimmick that many would like.
The central console’s LED backlight changes colour based on what function you’re on, and even as you switch driving modes. To sum up, if you’re a fan of the MINI, the Countryman offers you as much technology as you can get from the brand.