Roadshow Video Reviews
Mini's Connected dashboard's biggest annoyance is ergonomicThe software and hardware powering the Mini Countryman's dashboard are quite good, but awkward ergonomics keep us from loving it.
[MUSIC] Today we're taking a look at the tech in the dashboard of the 2018 Mini Cooper SE Countryman ALL4. Now, this is the plug-in hybrid version of the crossover, but pretty much everything we're going to talk about today applies to all Countryman models. So, without further ado, let's start with the things that I like. And that's gonna be this mini-connect infotainment system in the center stack. It uses a six and a half inch ultra wide aspect ratio display, and it's basically based on a rescanned version of BMW's iDrive interface. Now if you like iDrive as much as I do, you're gonna love this system. It's very responsive and it's very easy to find everything that you need in this hub menu where you get the things like navigation, your audio source, you've also got shortcut buttons down here on this rotary controller that you use to control the system but we'll come back to that in a moment. Now what I'm really digging is this re-skin. It's very colorful, and it's got these really fun animations that make it just a pleasurable system to use while you're driving. It also features voice command which doesn't do a great job of understanding me with this vehicle's level of road noise. But I did find that when I parked and used the voice command The accuracy went way up. You'll also notice as I click around the interface that this LED ring surrounding the display is sort of changing to adapt to what's happening on the screen. It sort of harkens back to those big dinner plate speedometers that many used to have. But now it sort of serves as a secondary gauge. You can tie it into the car's techometer and watch the revs rise as you drive or Look it up to the per distance censor and see it turn from green to red as you get closer to obstruction. What's really nice about this is that it's big, it's colorful, and is bright. So you don't really have to look directly at it to see it, which means you get to keep your eyes on the road while getting the alerts that you need. Now let's talk about some of the things that I don't like. I do dig this rotary controller. It's laid out well and easy to use, but it's way down here on the center console. You'll notice that it's a bit of an odd reach for my natural driving position. I have the same issue with these buttons down here. Any time I want to turn on my heated seats or toggle between drive modes, I've got to look down here, I've got to find the right button, and then reach to touch it. Now, I know what you're thinking. Poor Antoine, he's got to reach all the way down there to touch a button. But the problem with that is that every time I do so, I have to take my eyes off the road to orient myself. Which means that there's a very long moment where I'm looking all the way down here and not watching the road, that's not very safe. Now you'll notice Up to this point a lot of my nitpicks have been ergonomic in nature and that's because I think the Country Man is a much taller vehicle than some of the other minis in the lineup. Mini didn't really redesign the dashboard when they redesigned this car. And that means that a lot of those controls which kind of fall naturally to your hand, in things like the Coupe or the Clubman are just way down there relative to your seating position. It would have been nice if [UNKNOWN] would have put a little bit more thought in to designing this dashboard.Lets hope they do in the next generation [MUSIC]