Bigger is Better in the Case of the Mini Clubman: Review
When is a Mini not so Mini? When said Mini is actually a Clubman. Pretty much just a bigified version of the standard Mini, the Clubman has two more doors and a nifty rear hatch that opens horizontally opposed to vertically. #Cool. It’s been on the market for almost 10 years, believe it or not. But with age it only seems to get better. Mini gave me a brand new Clubman S in the journalist special beige exterior with black wheels—automatic transmission though. RELATED: See Photos of the Mini Clubman Concept from 2014
The thing that should draw you in immediately is its quirky personality. It’s no standard Mini, but it’s not some lumbering thing like the Countryman either. It’s very stereotypically a wagon, of sorts, considering it competes in class with cars like the Volvo V60 and Volkswagen Golf SportWagen.
Unlike the V60 or SportWagen, though, something about the Clubman’s design just…works. It’s very fluidic, meaning it doesn’t seem like it started life as one thing and ended up as another. That’s part of the charm with the Mini, and why people snag them up like they do opposed to other less-than-stellar looking wagons and hatches.
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Another aspect of that charm is the way it drives. It’s so much fun. Under the hood of the Clubman S I was driving is a 189-horsepower turbo four that keeps Mini's zippy personality in check. It was paired to an eight-speed automatic that does a well-enough job, though, I would have preferred the six-speed manual because enthusiast.
The interior is overly-quirky, as it should be. The center speedo is gone, in its place a large-enough screen with all the options you’ll ever need. Flip the driving mode switch into Sport, and the phrase “Let’s motor hard!” pops up on screen. I’ll let you write your own jokes for that one.
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Most of the time I was indeed motoring hard. Or, as hard as that Clubman would let me. The steering is inertly quick and makes you want to believe you’re still in a standard two-door Mini, until you realize there’s two people and a dog in the car with you. The engine is definitely punchy, but not all that powerful. Opt for the JCW version if power is what you’re looking for.
Everything said, the rear hatch(es) is what truly makes this car as appealing as it is. Two rear doors open horizontally, and use hydraulics to ensure sure you don’t hit anyone or anything while opening them. There’s enough room for two or three bags, a cooler and a beach bag, a small human body—but definitely not a german shepherd. A small oversight that we can ignore.
The Mini Clubman really is fun, fun, fun, fun, fun! Though, it would be even more fun with a 300-horsepower JCW spec attached. For now, the standard Clubman will do, starting at $24,950, slightly more at $28,500 when in S spec.
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