New doors open up MINI Clubman’s appeal
- Credit: supplied
MINI has taken a more conventional approach for the new Clubman and it's more practical and appealing, says Matt Kimberley.
MINI has gone back to the drawing board with the Clubman, finally ridding it of the confusing single rear side door on the wrong side for British roads. The new model is longer, wider and more practical.
Under the bonnet you'll find the latest turbocharged BMW Group engines, based on 500cc cylinders, with 1.5-litre three-cylinder options and 2.0-litre four-pots in both petrol and diesel.
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Looks and image
The front is great – all curvaceous bonnet and cute round headlights. Move around to the sides and you'll find the two normal doors on each stretched-looking flank. The back is very different, with huge light clusters integrated into the doors.
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Space and practicality
MINI is quite proud of this car's 360-litre boot – the Clubman makes the three-door hatchback's boot seem like a small handbag. The seats can be angled forwards, making them vertical, before resecuring them on brackets. That raises the potential to carry larger objects or increase that 360 litres to a level that at least equals the best in class and you can still use the Isofix child seat mounts.There's also an adjustable boot floor.
Behind the wheel
Navigation is standard, and you get the very impressive screen and iDrive interface, but the stereo, upholstery and wheels all benefit from upgrades if you can afford it.
The steering is very quick, and seems to get faster after leaving the straight-ahead. This Cooper S model is plenty quick enough thanks to its smooth, incredibly flexible 2.0-litre engine.
The seats are supportive and comfortable but visibility isn't the best, especially when the head-up display is active, but, with lots of headroom, you can raise the seat for an better view.
Value for money
At the basic on-the-road price the Cooper S looks something of a bargain but add the options you want – or need for residual value's sake – and the cost rises.
With a light foot you could see 60mpg on a 50mph cruise. but it plunges if driven enthusiastically.
Who would buy one?
The twin boot doors have one or two advantages for practicality over hatchback rivals, and recesses in the front seat backs make sure there's enough room for four average-height adults. It could be a useful – and stylish – car for any two-child family.