Basically just a Mini but with more space, the Clubman seats four adults, drives well, has great resale values and a comfortable ride. The rear door is situated on the “traffic” side and as with on the hatch, you have to pay for options that should be standard. Impractical in general, even though it has a nice size.
The engine does best at high rev, but in general it is willing and smooth. With the six-speed gearbox having short ratios, it zips through town, but the top gear is tall, causing a slower pace on motorways.
The wheelbase is 80mm longer on the Clubman that on the three-door, and the revised settings of the suspension change the handling of balance a little. Corners are not as sharp but it handles bumps well and is fun to drive.
The smooth and cultured engine shines even when working hard. Wind and road noise are not an issue.
Although it really isn’t practical, the Clubman has more room than the three-door mini. Resale values will stay high due to desirability.
Well put together for the most part, the switchgear and certain plastics aren’t quite part of the premium image that BMW was aiming for. The 2012 JD Power survey showed that Mini owners are happy overall and a reasonable mechanical reliability rating was earned.
Euro NCAP gave the Mini five stars for crash test ratings. All models come with cabin length head airbags, as well as side and front. There is also stability control and ISOFIX mountings for child seats. Also included on the Mini are the majority of BMW parts for security that make it difficult to steal.
Both the steering wheel and the seat are fully adjustable, and the padding is thick in the seat. However, they tried to add in so many features that the cabin seems awkward, contrived and fussy.
Space is reasonable for four adults and their combined luggage for a weekend. Instead of a tailgate, there are two doors at the rear, and there is a strange rear-hinged door on the offside behind the driver’s door.
Tons of options are available but only remote central locking, a CD player and power front windows come standard. Even alloy wheels are an option.
This little machine is a real thrill-ride for fans of previous Minis. They will feel at home, with a comfortable sense of recognition of being in one of their favourite cars, because BMW have really done an excellent job of replicating what was once a very popular machine. If you’ve never driven a Mini, try the Mini Clubman, and you’re sure to pick up very quickly on what all the fuss was about.
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