The dashboard is unique to the Countryman but it’s still dominated by the oversized speedo and the new, optional high-definition colour screen in its centre, while the same chrome switches adorn the upright console. Unfortunately, the unfathomable switchgear layout has made it into the Countryman, with controls for the windows, locking and air conditioning clustered together.
A rail, to which you can attach sliding accessories, divides the front seats and extends right through to the rear cabin if buyers opt to lose the standard bench and go for two single seats. It looks funky, but its usability is questionable. Our test car had a sunglasses case attached which felt flimsy and was too much of a focal point, given its function. Having more storage cubbies would be better.
What the Countryman does very well is provide a decent amount of passenger space. There’s plenty of head and elbow room for four adults, and the sliding, 60/40 split rear bench is comfortable even for taller passengers, although fitting three across the back would be a squeeze.
The boot, however, isn’t quite so in keeping with the active family lifestyle. While capacity with all the seats in place is 350 litres (the same as a Volkswagen Golf), or 450 litres with the rear seats slid forwards and legroom severely limited, the 1170 litres available with them folded is below par next to the Golf’s 1305 litres. There’s a big step in the boot floor with the seat backs down, too.