2014 Mini Cooper: Still Good Form, But Better Function
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor on October 2, 2015
You're looking at the interior of the 2011 Mini Copper. I hated it. It seemed as though a number of decisions on placement of controls prioritized form over function. Our 2014 Mini Cooper, on the other hand, is much more practical and still manages to look cool in in the process. Here's how.
The green arrow indicates where the window switches used to be. Yes, they looked cool and reminded you of airplane toggle switches, but they were hard to find while driving. A plastic divider made them even trickier to reach.
The 2014 Mini moved its window switches to the door — like a normal car. Not as trendy, but far more useable.
The yellow arrow in the first photo shows the climate control on the 2011. I really didn't have a problem with it, but the three-dial setup on the 2014, shown below, is more straightforward. It features dual-zone climate control and looks more upscale, too. Notice that the toggle switches are still there in the bottom row, but aside from the start/stop button, they're reserved for functions that you won't frequently use.
The red arrow in the photo of the 2011's interior shows the old dinner-plate speedometer and the vaguely-labeled audio controls. While the center-mounted speedometer was a nod to the classic Mini, it wasn't really the best place to display that information. Now it's in front of the driver.
Removing the speedometer has allowed Mini to use that real estate as a larger screen. Notice how the buttons are clearly labeled and easier to use at a glance.
Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor