It’s fair to say that all Minis come with the same retro styling that has defined the brand since its takeover by BMW back in 2000 – with the brand tailoring the look to five markets in the meantime.
From the front it certainly looks like the standard Hatch, but the Clubman is a more practical offering, with the extended wheelbase allowing for a larger load space behind the rear seats.
But can the additional bulk be integrated easily and mean the Clubman is as fun to drive as the ‘go-kart-like’ Hatch, which always manages to impress? We take a look…
Under the bonnet of our Clubman was the Cooper SD unit – a diesel-fuelled, 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine developing 188bhp and 400Nm of torque. However, that unit is now not on offer from Mini unless you go for a used option. Paired to the All4 four-wheel drive system and a six-speed automatic, it was capable of 0-60mph in seven seconds flat and a top speed of 138mph.
For customers now, Mini offers the Clubman with five engines – three petrol and two diesels – with the most performance coming from the Cooper S petrol that develops 190bhp and 300Nm of torque from its 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine, meaning it can do 0-60mph in 7.1 seconds and reach 141mph. The most popular option is likely to be the Cooper D, which offers the best compromise of performance and fuel economy.See Available MINI Clubman deals
Ride & Handling
Mini fans will be glad to hear that not only is the Clubman good to drive, it feels on par with the Hatch despite the extended wheelbase. When attacking a series of corners, the Clubman offers lots of grip – with the four-wheel drive enhancing that – while the steering offers plenty of feedback and is well weighted so you can place the car on the road easily.
With the punchy diesel on-board, cruising along was no problem at all and the automatic transmission offered smooth changes and allowed for economical driving. The ride was also quite cossetting, allowing for refined driving both in and out of town, but the suspension setup means that it corners flat and has limited body roll.
Interior & Equipment
Our test car was in an older specification and cost just over £36,000 – but there is no need for you to spend that much. Fitted with leather upholstery, a head-up display and a Harmon Kardon sound system, the Clubman offered a premium feel – but you’re able to find that with much less fitted to the car.
Space-wise, the Clubman is definitely larger than the Hatch, offering space closer to that of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus. The 360-litre boot – bigger than the first generation – has a flat floor and can be easily loaded and accessed by the split doors. If you need the extra space, the 60/40 rear seats can be flattened, but it does leave a sloped floor for the 1,250-litre space.
For taller passengers, space is much better over the Hatch and getting into the rear seats is very easy indeed. Fitting in five will be a squeeze and is unlikely to be comfortable over longer distances, but considering the low-slung roof headspace is actually quite impressive.
Three trim levels are offered with the Clubman – Classic, Sport and Exclusive – with each coming with a good base spec. As standard the Clubman gets autonomous emergency braking, daytime running lights, manual air conditioning, multi-function leather steering wheel, a 6.5-inch central display in a circular housing with LED surround, Bluetooth, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, satellite navigation and speaker system.
Prices for the Clubman start from £19,210 for the City One version – which is aimed more at business and company car drivers due to its Benefit in Kind offerings. As mentioned before, the model we tested cost £36,070, but that was one that was fitted with plenty of additional equipment packs that in reality aren’t necessary for most drivers.
The most economical unit is the base City One D which offers 68.9mpg and 109g/km CO2, with the Cooper D not far behind with 65.7mpg and 112g/km CO2. The base petrol Cooper offer 48.7mpg and 131g/km CO2.
You need to think of the Clubman as a hatchback rather than an estate, and then you can definitely consider it as a more than practical family model. With a well-sized boot, interesting styling and decent level of equipment from the base level, the Clubman is a good option if you want an alternative the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf – both of which seem more obvious to go for due to their popularity.