£19,995 - £30,085 Price range
42 - 68 MPG
The Mini Clubman is the largest car the firm builds and is meant to be an interesting alternative to well established models such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
The first generation wasn’t the success Mini was hoping for because with its single rear door that opened into the road and unusual styling, it was more of an oddball than a genuine class competitor. This new generation should address these shortcomings thanks to its four proper doors as well as a more spacious interior.
Inside, there are comfy seats that are also very supportive. The Mini Clubman dashboard can be personalised in many ways and is very distinctive for a family hatchback. Being the largest model in the range it is also the most spacious and has a big boot.
Out on the road, the Clubman still drives like a Mini should, but the softer suspension takes away some of the fun and engagement of the three-door model. The upside is it’s very comfortable over long distances.
Engine choices are similar to those in other Mini models with a range of three and four-cylinder petrols and diesels. Get the Cooper petrol if you mostly drive in the city or the Cooper D diesel for more pulling power and better fuel efficiency out of town.
The Mini Clubman interior mirrors the distinctive and stylish exterior and looks very different from what we’re used to from VW and Ford. The dashboard is dominated by a large screen that sits where the speedometer used to be in older Minis and can be 6.5 or 8.8 inches in size depending on the trim level. The controller on the central console operates most of the car’s systems so there’re less buttons to clutter up the dashboard.
The only negative we found on our 2016 test of the Mini Clubman was that the charming split rear doors limit visibility in the rear-view mirror. Essentially there’s a vertical line right in the middle of the rear windscreen – you get used to it but it could be annoying if you regularly commute through areas popular with cyclists, because one could be hidden by the join in the boot doors.
Mini Clubman passenger space
Being 270mm longer than the five-door Hatchback, the Mini Clubman is quite spacious. There is plenty of room for the driver and front passenger as well as two adults in the back. Three would be a bit of a squeeze, but the car’s added width means it won’t be as tight as it was in the old model.
Mini Clubman boot space
The 360-litre boot has plenty of space for family needs and if needed the capacity can be raised to 1,250 litres if you fold the rear seats down. It’s about the same as what you get in a VW Golf.
One of the key selling points of most Minis is they’re more engaging to drive and come with livelier engines than their rivals. The Mini Clubman is also agile and competent, but the focus here is on ride comfort. This is understandable given the main purpose of the car is to carry the whole family and their luggage in comfort and style rather than charge around corners at breakneck speeds.
The Cooper S is by far the most fun to drive, but it lacks the character of older fast Minis. You still get the heavy and direct steering, but the overwhelming opinion is that this Mini feels a little too grown up.
For the first time, the Mini Clubman is also available with four-wheel drive for excellent grip in slippery conditions. Called ALL4, the system can be fitted to Cooper S petrol and SD diesel models.
The Mini Clubman gets the same engines that are used in the other Mini models and they’re all advanced BMW-sourced units.
Mini Clubman diesel engines
The 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the Cooper D is the frugality champion with respectable fuel consumption of 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km. This means fewer visits to the pump and road tax of just £20. It’s no slouch either – 0-62mph takes 8.6 seconds or a tenth quicker with the auto and it won’t stop accelerating until it reaches 132mph. The SD uses essentially the same engine but with more power so expect an improvement in performance and a slight dip in fuel economy.
Mini Clubman petrol engines
The Cooper S is the most powerful petrol and produces 192hp from its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The 192hp it makes is good for 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds (7.1 with the auto) and it maxes out at 142mph. It revs freely and is a pleasure to drive, but that doesn’t mean it’s expensive to run. With the brilliant automatic gearbox it can return 48.7mpg and the CO2 emissions are 134g/km making it £130 to tax. With the manual those numbers are 45.6mpg and 144g/km, which bumps the tax up to £145 a year.
The three-cylinder Cooper is a sweet engine that is a very good choice for other Minis but feels a bit underpowered in the Clubman. It produces 140hp and accelerates from 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph. It can’t match the diesel on running costs and performance. Fuel economy stands at 55.4mpg and 118g/km CO2 emissions mean it is £30 to tax a year.
The six-speed manual is a sweet gearbox with short throws and a light operation that brings extra levels of engagement between car and driver, but the eight-speed auto is even better for a family oriented car like the Mini Clubman. It flicks through the gears with ease, makes urban driving effortless, reduces CO2 emissions and improves fuel economy as well. It’s highly recommended.
The new Mini Clubman is a huge improvement over the old model and addresses everything that was wrong with it – it now has the correct number of doors, it’s wider for more passenger space and has a proper centre console too. You also get some of the best engines in the class, better-than-average handling as well as an improved ride comfort. There are many reasons to buy the Mini, but most come from the heart. Not a lot of sensible-minded buyers will go for it over the less appealing but more accomplished VW Golf.