2017 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman Review: The Premium Hot Wagon

– Detroit, Michigan

The Mini John Cooper Works Clubman is a bit of an oddball. For starters, it's got two “barn doors” instead of a regular hatchback, makes a bunch of noise, and comes loaded with quirks. Sure, the Clubman JCW is a very lovable car, but it’s a hard one to classify. The JCW has similar performance figures to a Ford Focus ST, but at an RS’ price, for example. It’s roughly three inches shorter than the Focus hatch, but 11 inches longer than the regular two-door Mini Hardtop.

So who is the Clubman JCW for? Well, maybe a person who loves the Mini brand (like myself), and wants more room for people and belongings. Or maybe the Focus ST just isn’t well-appointed or distinct enough for them. The way I see it, the Mini Clubman JCW is like an expensive-breed puppy: difficult to justify, but it won’t get confused with the neighbor's golden retriever.




Snap, crackle, pop. Under the hood of the JCW Clubman is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that produces 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque – not groundbreaking numbers, but they do a decent job at moving this wagon. The sprint from 0-60 miles per hour comes in a respectable, but not blistering, 6.0 seconds. But the Clubman JCW makes all the right noises to trick you into thinking it’s quicker. Give it the beans and you hear the turbo sing. Upshift and the exhaust snarls back. Downshift or lift off the throttle and you are rewarded with intoxicating backfire pops and cracks.

Puts a smile on your face. A...