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Mini Hatchback interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

On-board comfort is reasonably good in the Mini, despite its overall firm setup. The front seats hug your body tightly through hard cornering, and lots of soft-touch materials leaves a premium impression. Adjustable lumbar support is only available on mid-range trims and up, however.

Your view out is acceptable but not outstanding in the Mini. The front window has an oddly short, letterbox like appearance although it's clear enough to see out of once your seat is correctly adjusted. Like most its rivals, over-the-shoulder visibility isn't great, and you'll need to find a model that's been equipped with parking sensors or a reversing camera, as they're not included as standard.

Standard equipment

You'll find three trim levels for Mini Hatchbacks – Classic, Sport and Exclusive – although the equipment they get depends on the engine equipped.

Classic cars include alloy wheels on Cooper engines and above, and add sporty front seats for Cooper S cars. You'll find air conditioning along with automatic lights and wipers as standard.

Sport mainly adds some mean-looking styling features to stand out. These include larger alloy wheels, a sporty body kit and sports seats, plus cruise control.

Range-topping Exclusive trim adds even posher alloy wheels and extra chrome details for the exterior, along with special leather upholstery in the cabin.

Beyond the standard trim levels, lots of equipment is available as option packs, so used-car shoppers should pay close attention to the kit list that comes with the particular car they're looking at.

Electric Mini Hatchbacks also have three trim levels – Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The former includes alloy wheels, sat nav and cruise control, while Level 2 includes rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, heated front seats and part-faux-leather upholstery. Range-topping Level 3 adds front parking sensors, the Harman Kardon upgraded stereo, a head-up display and a panoramic glass sunroof.

Infotainment and audio

We like the way Mini has integrated the Hatchback's screen into the central round pod, lending the dashboard a unique look. That said, the screen's overall small size does mean some buttons and graphics can be hard to read at a glance, and even trickier to hit with your finger while driving.

Unlike many rivals, however, Mini is one of the few to retain a control knob in the centre console. This lets you interact with the infotainment system without using the touchscreen, so it's easier to make adjustments on the fly. This also includes shortcut buttons placed around the knob, which reduces the presses needed to jump between functions.

The standard stereo is unlikely to disappoint casual music fans, but an optional Harman Kardon system can be equipped to make the listening experience more exciting.

Rear seat space

It's tight back there. Three-door Hatchback models only feature a pair of rear seats but even these are small by the standards of the class. Access is tight, squeezing between the B-pillar and the folded front seats and, once back there, your legs will be touching the front seat backs, even if you're not especially tall. Narrow, fixed side windows also lend the back seats a gloomy atmosphere.

You might think that stepping up to the five-door Mini would fix these problems, but it only goes part-way to rectifying them. Five-door Minis won't leave your knees brushing the front seat backs as much, but it's still a lot tighter than cars like the Volkswagen Polo or Honda Jazz. You get three rear seats in five-door models but, considering how narrow the car is anyway, your centre-rear passenger won't want to stay there any longer than they have to.

Boot space

The Mini's boot is towards the smaller end of the spectrum, even within its own class. Cars like the SEAT Ibiza and Ford Fiesta both outperform the Mini here. There's enough space for a weekly shop or a couple of cabin suitcases but anything larger will necessitate dropping the rear seats.

You do have the option to fold the rear seat backs to an upright 90º angle. This means you can still – just about – fit people in them, while giving you a slightly squarer load area. However, this is simply another compromised choice to add to the already compromised boot layout.

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