Mini Countryman rear seat center rail

When Mini first introduced the Countryman, it only came as a four-seater, with a center rail between the two seats that could house things like cup holders and could be slid back and forth. Buyers could even opt for a full-length center rail that ran from just aft of the gear shifter all the way back between the rear seats, like we did in our long-term 2011 Cooper S Countryman All4, shown above.

Shortly after the Countryman's launch, Mini was able to offer the vehicle with a proper rear bench seat; the company could not offer this at launch due to NHTSA guidelines that governed the minimum vehicle width for three-person seating, but those rules were changed. And now, we've received official confirmation of something we reported last year: the Countryman is losing its center rail and four-person seating arrangement altogether. Moving forward, buyers will only be able to spec a Countryman with the bench seat, and a cup holder will be affixed to the back of the forward cabin's center console.

The larger-but-smaller Paceman will also be losing the center rail between its rear seats, but the car will remain a four-seater, instead having a console between the two rear seats that houses a cup holder, an iPod cozy and a 12-volt outlet, according to USA Today.

These changes affect all 2014 model year Countryman and Paceman models, which will go on sale later this summer. Both models will also have a $100 price increase (thanks to now-standard heated mirrors and washer jets), and the Cooper and Cooper S models can now be had with a John Cooper Works appearance package. Scroll down for the official release from Mini.
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Lineup Equipment / Technology / Pricing Changes

Production of MY2014 MINI vehicles begins July 1, 2013.

The only models that will have a price increase for the MY2014 are Paceman and Countryman; however, for the $100 increase, all variants of those two models will come equipped standard with heated mirrors and washer jets.

There will only be one premium package moving forward, which will include the dual pane panoramic sunroof, rain sensor / automatic headlight control and automatic climate control. The cost for this option package is $1,250.

A new package, called City Pack, will be offered on all models and will include the alarm system, power fold mirrors, heated mirror and wash jets, auto dimming rear-view mirrors (interior and exterior), rear park distance control and comfort access. The cost for this package will be $1,250.

Specific Option Changes by Model

Countryman and Paceman

The Center Rail in Countryman and Paceman vehicles will be replaced by standard double cup holders in the rear seats.

- The Countryman's cup holder will include a 12V charging / power outlet.

- Paceman's cup holder will also include a 12V outlet as well as an iPod holder.

Countryman's rear doors will have a padded arm rest and a bench seat will be standard (a bench seat is the only rear seat configuration available for Countryman).

Paceman will be equipped with Comfort Suspension as standard, and the Sport Suspension will be a no-charge option.

Beginning in MY 2014, MINI will offer both interior and exterior John Cooper Works Packages for Paceman and Countryman models, so Cooper and Cooper S owners can opt for the sportier design cues and color combinations, even if they don't choose to upgrade the performance.