2011 Chevy Volt Can Learn From the Mini Countryman
February 16, 2011
"Note: Any photography equipment left in the trunk during a shoot will fly forward and hit the driver in the right arm." - Mike Magrath's caption for the above photo.
With a two-person back seat consisting of split buckets in front of a hatchback cargo area, this is going to be a problem. The Volvo C30 is another offender, but what about the Mini Countryman and its twin rear buckets?
Well, this certainly looks exactly the same as the Volt, but note the second picture.
The Countryman's cargo floor neatly pivots up and locks in place under the solid cargo cover, creating a sealed trunk that will prevent camera equipment from flying into the passenger compartment. I'd imagine there would be some noise suppression as well (the 5 Series GT uses something similar). You also gain some trunk depth by using this feature, though this is negated somewhat by the Mini roadside assistance kit and our particular Countryman's dog fence. Still, it's a smart solution that with some adaptation (spliting the cargo floor into two pieces since it's longer than the seatback height) could greatly benefit the Volt's cargo compartment.
There is something even better, though. The Porsche Panamera (below) has a central piece that plugs the seat gap with an armrest, something neither the Volt nor the Countryman have.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor