Mini is navigating into new territories. The BMW-owned British icon has more models than a subcompact car. With the Countryman, that we introduced a while ago, the Mini Family was already expanding. And now, in its third generation, the Clubman is the biggest Mini built ever, leaves a bigger footprint in the premium car segment. It is 30 cm longer and 12 cm wider than the previous model. Although grown, it is unmistakably Mini.
If you tightly stick to the numbers, you must classify the Clubman as a six-door wagon. The trunk is accessed by two small doors, that swing out one after the other. This visually cool design severely limits the rear-view. To me (and probably to many other observers) these doors are more a design expression than pure functionality. By pressing a button on the key fob, you can open the right wing automatically, followed by the left wing if you press again.
Our test car had a 1.5-liter, 3-cylinder, turbocharged engine with an output of 134 hp and a maximum torque of 162 ft-lb (170 lt-fb with overboost). With the Steptronic transmission, the acceleration (as per Mini) is 9.1 seconds. It (subjectively speaking) feels like a little bit underpowered. Not very surprising considering its weight of 1,433 kg.
On a sunny Sunday, driving from Burlington to Guelph using the not-so-busy Highway-6, we had a very comfortable cruise thanks to good sound isolation. The smoother suspension (than the conventional Mini) aids for a more refined ride.
Our average fuel consumption with a mixed mode of highway and urban driving was 8 liters of premium gasoline.
This is the Mini as you know. The dashboard is a retro design with the big central “circle”, rich in number of toggle switches and a steep A-pillar.
Our fully loaded test vehicle, had almost all bells and whistles driving the standard price of $24,990 to $ 35,280.
The seats are comfortable, access to the rear is easy and the leg and headroom in front and rear are spacious even for persons taller than 180 cm. Three adults in the rear will probably not make it from Toronto to Miami, but they will have more than emergency seats.
With a cargo space of 360 litres in the trunk, (and 1,250 litres when the rear seats are laid flat), you will not miss a Mazda Sport or a compact hatchback. With the optional 40/20/40-split for the rear our test car offers more versatility than the standard 60/40 folding.
Inspired probably by BMW, the mother company, each Mini comes with a choice of three driving modes, Sport, Mid and Green. With the rotary switch around the gear-shift lever you easily select these modes. This alters the steering and throttle response, and the shift points in the automatic.
The automatic transmission for the 1.5-liter version is the regular six-speed Steptronic found in other Minis, and it’s a $1,500 option.
The Clubman is easily connected to your phone. The central display screen, used as a navigation screen for those equipped with the $1,000 Navi option, is not touch-sensitive but operated with the i-Touch controller, successfully adapted from BMW’s iDrive.
See the bigger picture: As “stand-alone” luxury brands, BMW and Mercedes are not part of a mass manufacturer like Audi (of Volkswagen) or Lexus (of Toyota). In order to expand their volume and scale of production, they need to fill every niche and earn the loyalty of their customers. Mini, being part of the BMW Group must offer more alternatives, more models for varying needs of its customers. Whoever drives a conventional Mini at his or her youth, must get a suitable product under the same roof when he or she has a family with kids. And the Clubman offers a lot more space inside without losing the dynamic, go-cart like driving and design language. Keep your family and stay with Mini. (Unless you want to move to a BMW SUV or sedan.)
Base MSRP: $24,990
Essentials Package: $1,800
(Panorama sunroof, heated front seats, Front and rear fog lights, Front centre armrest, integrated visual display, MINI connected, Enhanced telephone prep screen, voice control)
Loaded Package: $1,800
(electric seats with driver memory, Sport seats, Comfort access, Auto dimming interior mirror, automatic climate control)
LED Lights Package: $1,150
(LED foglights & headlights)
Wired Navigation Package: $1,000
(On-board navigaiton, MINI Connected XL, Wired Package)
Style Package: $650
(MINI Your sport leather steering wheel, Chrome line Interior, Chrome Line Exterior, Interior Trim Piano Black
Cargo Package: $500
(Through loading system, storage compartment package)
Stand Alone Options:
Automatic Transmission: $1,500
17″ Black Net Spoke: $800
Metallic Paint: $500
Park Distance Control, rear: $500
Test Drivers: Varol McKars, Basak Mc Kars, Burak McKars
Pictures: Varol McKars, , Burak McKars
Test vehicle was provided by BMW Group Canada
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