MINI USA Makes the Rear Bench Seat Standard on 2013 Countryman

(Updated – MINI USA isn’t entirely killing the buckets but is making them an option rather than standard).

If there was one universal complaint on the Countryman when it first hit US dealers it had to be the inability to order a rear bench seat. The reason for the delay was due to a NHTSA having a minimum width requirement for an automaker to offer three seats across. Thankfully for MINI that minimum was changed and the five-seat Countryman (in the US) was born. And as expected it went on to be so successful that rear buckets all but disappear from dealer lots. And starting with 2013 production, they will officially disappear as the standard configuration.

For 2013 MINI USA is making the rear buckets an optional extra on the Countryman. This change along with the elimination of the flat load floor requirement for the bench will give lower the price of the five seat Countryman by a $250 dollars.

From the beginning we were staunch supporters of the rear buckets even ordering our long-term R60 with them. But after 12 months and 12,000 miles they simply didn’t make as much sense as the much more versatile bench. Would we have ordered differently? Strangely no. And perhaps that’s a testament to how cool and surprisingly usable the buckets were.

Written By: Gabe

  • slow


    • Lemelou

      Man of few words.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.stephenson Kevin Stephenson

    Interesting decision but will probably make for a lot more satisfied customers in the long run even if they thought they wanted the bucket seats.

  • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

    NNOOOOOO. We are waiting for the 2013 Countryman to go live and we want bucket seats. We have no intention of ever having more than 4 people in the car. Us and another couple, max. God dammit

    • Dr Obnxs

      Read the article. You will still be able to have your buckets. It’s just not the default option.

      • http://www.about.me/sohrabosati Sohrab O.

        The story has changed since it was originally published :)

        • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

          True. It’s our fault.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.knolla Susan Knolla

    I have a 2012 w/ rear buckets & I like it that way! Very disappointed to hear this. I think maybe people assume you’ll get “more” out of a traditional bench seat, but given size constraints, I don’t think that’s the case. I have a child seat that fits properly back there in the bucket seat (I had it inspected; it’s properly installed), and I could easily get another in the other bucket seat. But bench seat or no, there is no way to fit 3 kids back there if you are using child seats & boosters correctly & safely (most full sized sedans have a difficult time accommodating 3 with proper, safe usage). And you would have to find 3 very petite adults to go back there. I understand Mini has to sell to meet customer demand, but aside from possibly keeping my 75# Boxer from sticking his head between the seats, I see no practical gain from demanding the bench seat.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      100% agree with this btw.

    • Chris Underwood

      We have only one child seat but my wife prefers to have it in the center of the back seat, believing it to be safer in case of a side impact. Can’t do that with buckets… Had they been able to offer the bench when the Countryman debuted (when we were looking for a car for my wife) we’d likely have one in our driveway right now.

      From my perspective, the big plus to the bench is that it gets rid of some of that stupid center rail – the one thing I really don’t like about the Countryman.

  • tortuga337

    Everybody here seems so disappointed but I am buying a new Countryman and only wanted it with a rear bench seat.

    • http://bridger.us/ Gabriel Bridger

      You’re in the vast majority from what I’ve ward via dealers.

  • http://www.mynameisjay.com/ Jay

    Seems they are dumping a lot of options for 2013. They are also getting rid of voice-control option for some reason. How does that (dumb) center rail thing work with a bench? Does it just stop short?

  • Aurel

    Will this carry over in the Paceman as well? Or will that have buckets exclusively?

  • Liz Higham

    Rear bench seat is standard for 2013 and no longer requires the flat floor option Rear buckets seats will still be available with option code 4UG

  • TheWuWu

    Relax people. The rear bench seat is standard, but the rear buck seats will be a no cost option.

  • MINIMe

    The bench should have been the standard from the start.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Eaves/100002517570191 Scott Eaves

    “For 2013 MINI USA is the rear buckets an optional extra on the Countryman entirely. This change along with the elimination of the flat load floor requirement for the bench will give lower the price of the five seat Countryman by a $250 dollars.”

    Proofread much? I think you had that written a couple of different ways before posting, eh Gabe? lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nathan-Fong/100000353101204 Nathan Fong

    I made sure ours was bucket all the way.

  • Robert Smith

    Why are not the rear bucket seat head rests built into the tops of the seats so that they can be lowered so not obstructing the rear view when no rear passengers on board? Bob Smith

  • Kev50027

    Kind of disappointing, I thought that was one of the unique things about the Countryman, and if the bench seat feels anything like recent BMW rear bench seats, it’s stiff and uncomfortable, while the buckets are really nice.

  • ooogly

    Can anyone here confirm that the flat load floor is no longer a requirement for the bench seats?

    I’m trying to order a 2013 and my MA says the flat load floor is required (charging me $250) with the now standard bench seats. Seems kind of silly to tack on a requirement for a standard option…

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