Review Of Mini Clubman - So, imagine for a second, you love your MINI Hatch or Convertible, but you have a growing family, or perhaps you just want a bit more space? But, you think a Golf is too sensible and sharp handling is important, so you don’t want a high-riding crossover. That’s where MINI is hoping the new Clubman comes in. It’s the MINI which can be a practical family car, without losing all of its charm. It’s wider, longer and has a bigger boot, but still has a Sport setting for ‘go-kart handling’. Unlike the previous Clubman, which was essentially a stretched hatch with quirky doors, the new Clubman is much bigger. In fact it’s a whopping 270mm longer and 73mm wider than even the five-door MINI Hatch. You still sit in a low-slung driving position, but there’s far more shoulder room and knee room, and more space for your things. So, as an example, you now get these decent cup holders and spacious door bins, along with a full-size glovebox. Visibility is a bit of an issue, because the doors meet right in your rear view, but while it’s jarring at first, you do get used to it. And, it definitely has a premium vibe in here. These plastics look and feel expensive, and some of the controls are straight out of BMW models. But, you’d never find these bits like these optional illuminated door trims in a 1 Series, they look more like something from an 80s roller disco and add to its endearing personality.
This car is also fitted with a colourful neon ring, which changes colour when you change the temperature, drive economically or rev the engine, depending which mode you’re in. So, the MINI has always been notoriously cramped for people sat in the back, and the last Clubman had a small side door which opened into the road in the UK, so wasn’t ideal. But, how times change, and now the conventional rear doors make it easy to get in and out, and knee room, leg room and head room are all far better. Now, the Clubman’s most iconic feature is its twin boot doors, which must have given MINI a real headache to engineer, but really do set the car apart. They are spring loaded, so open with no effort, and actually give good access, just don’t park too close to the car behind. Luggage space is 360-litres, 20 less than a Golf, expanding to 1,250 litres, which is huge for a MINI. So we know it’s a lot bigger, but how does it drive? Well, if you’ve ever tried a MINI Hatch and thought it was too frenetic, you might rather like the Clubman. The steering is less hyper reactive, the suspension has been thoroughly re-designed to smooth out more bumps and it’s also billed as the most refined MINI.
Our test car is fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels, and despite a much smoother ride than the Hatch, the occasional jolt does get through, so smaller wheels would be better. But that’s not to say it has gone soft, the way the Clubman turns into corners is quick and precise, with good feel through the steering. The gearbox is very different to a Golf’s too, with a snickety feel, which can actually feel a bit too notchy at times. We’re in the 2.0-litre Cooper D, with 148bhp and a 0-62mph time of 8.6 seconds, and it’s probably the pick of the range, because it feels quick MINI says it can return 68.9mpg, and we’ve been getting between 50-55mpg. In fact, after driving this, we doubt most people would need the 187bhp Cooper SD high-performance diesel. Of course, you could go petrol instead, with either 134bhp in the Cooper or 189bhp in the Cooper S. The former feels well-suited to the MINI thanks to its zingy power delivery, while the Cooper S is verging on hot hatch territory and is the most entertaining Clubman to drive. We don’t get the basic Clubman One in the UK, so entry to Clubman ownership is the £20k Cooper, while the Cooper D is just over £22k. The Cooper S is just £500 more, while the SD is priciest at just under £25k. Of course, being a MINI, there are lots of desirable options.
Every car gets a 6.5-inch sat-nav, but this car is fitted with the £1,000 Media Pack with an 8.8-inch screen. The ‘Chili Pack’ will be popular too, bringing leather, heated seats, parking sensors, keyless entry and LED lights for £2,785. While you’ll either love or hate its looks, for those in need of a bigger MINI, the Clubman could be the more practical and – dare we say it – sensible car they’ve been looking for. That’s if you can call a car with a huge circular centre console, disco lighting and ‘go-kart’ handling sport mode sensible. Thanks for read Review Of Mini Clubman.