Estimated reading time:5 minutes, 1 second
FEATURED TRIM $42,100…MSRP $33,450
I once read that you can configure a MINI Cooper in over 50 different variations! From different roof color to body combination, to varying different colored mirror caps, engine options, # of doors, convertible, hardtop, etc., the gamut runs deep. Definitely something for everyone or many for one! Our tester was an automatic (STEPTRONIC – it is a BMW after all), 2016 MINI Cooper Clubman. It was delivered in “Melting Silver Metallic” with “Leather Pure Burgundy” interior and Piano black trim. To my eyes a great combination, although I would say the interior seats/doors was more of a dark mocha. On the outside, it looked like a stretched 4 door MINI Countryman. The increase in length allowing for more interior accommodations. Engine-wise there is a more potent version, the “S” variant with a turbo 4 cylinder in place of the turbo 3 cylinder.
Our model came with the standard turbo 3 cylinder driving the front wheels, it is also available as the ALL4 “S” version for now – all wheel drive version. This particular unit produced 134hp / 162 ft/lbs. Don’t let the 3 cylinder fool you, this little power plant has some go. I was pleasantly surprised by the mid range acceleration. The optional turbo 4 cylinder makes do with 189hp / 207 ft/lbs, no slouch for a vehicle of its size.
The MINI Clubman was quite optioned out. Including, Technology Package/Navigation ($1750), Wired Package, 17″ Net Spoke Wheels ($750), STEPTRONIC Automatic Transmission($1500), Sport Seats ($300, well worth it), Heated Front seats ($500), Panoramic Moonroof ($1000), MINI Yours Fiber Alloy ($400).
Standard and Safety features are pretty standard fare you’d find on most modern BMW’s. EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution), DSC (Dynamic Stability Control), ABS, etc. On the comfort and convenient fronts, was Push button Start (or rather, a cool toggle switch to start/stop the engine), USB connections, Enhanced Bluetooth connectivity which paired seamlessly with my Iphone. Sirius XM satellite radio, Dual Zone Automatic climate control, Cruise Control, Multi function Sports leather steering wheel, plus a host of airbags as is expected. In keeping with MINI’s “playfulness”, there were interior LED lights that reacted to climate control adjustments, volume adjustment, braking, acceleration, driving modes (Green, Mid and Sport). You could also adjust the ambient lighting to a myriad of colors, I think I counted about 6!
The fit and finish was very good, the doors closed from the outside with a solid reassuring “thunk”. The Piano Black trim was high gloss and didn’t look like cheap painted plastic. Seats were firm but supportive, with adjustable thigh extensions and manual lumbar adjustments for both driver and passenger. The interior was surprisingly spacious. I had on one occasion to cart a few coworkers for lunch and with the front seats in a comfortable position for an adult, there was still ample head and legroom for the rear passenger. One notable departure from the previous Clubman was the “half door” on one side. I can only imagine the contortions one would have to make getting in and out of the rear accommodations, bravo MINI!
Coming to the rear there are now barn style double doors, This makes loading cargo very easy no lifting a tailgate or trunk lid, just press a button on the inside of the handles and the doors swing open wide, storage pockets adorn their insides as well. If I had a gripe, it would be with the aforementioned rear doors. By design they do reduce rearward visibility a bit through the rear view mirror. Thankfully, all 3 rear headrests do fold down to aid a bit in that aspect. There is additional storage under the floor in the trunk, rear seats fold down allowing for more storage. There is a privacy shelf you can pull to secure your belongings from prying eyes.
Finally! The drive is as expected for a MINI, known to have go-cart like handling. This one does not disappoint! I would guess it is probably more compliant than other shorter MINI versions. The Clubman soaked up bumps nicely and would be a comfortable cruiser for those weekend trips or longer. Steering was pretty sharp with hardly noticeable numbness on center feel, expected on electric power steering designs.
Surrounding the lower portion of the gear selector are your driving modes; “Green”, “Mid” and “Sport”. “Green” is the gas miser option, shifts start off in a higher gear and slowly build up. Not bad, plus you get the LED’s surrounding the center console and screen lighting up in bright green LED’s. Thus, visually reminding you for doing your part in saving the earth for your progeny. “Mid” is exactly that, good for everyday driving in my opinion. It was slightly more aggressive than “Green”, also appeared to be the default setting once you power back on the vehicle.
“Sport” option greets you with red LED’s and like the others, animation to let you know the mode you are in. Without question my favorite mode. Throttle response is more immediate, gears are held longer. You could get off the line and get up to speed quite nicely. My gas mileage was easily reflective of the mode I was driving in. On a favorite road, I thoroughly enjoyed tossing the Mini Clubman around off camber and decreasing radius turns, only a manual shifter would have further added to the enjoyment.
Honestly, I would see no reason for anyone to dismiss the “base” engine of the Clubman, it is more than adequate, has decent fuel economy and you would be hard pressed to really feel that you are missing the extra performance the “S” provides, unless you are some track junkie? The MINI Clubman’s extra doors, interior room,fit and finish, amenities and comfort rank for this reviewer, as a good choice for most families. And when you are not playing daddy/mummy chauffeur take it out on your favorite winding road – to borrow MINI’s own tagline, “Lets Motor”.
- Price as tested: $33,450
- MSRP: $24,100
- HP: 134HP
- Fuel economy: 25/34
- Vehicle Provided by MINIUSA