MINI Clubman estate
Price £19,995 - £25,970
- Well equipped
- Fun to drive
- Some won’t like styling
- Options can be expensive
- Still has unusual boot doors
At a glance
"The MINI Clubman offers an interesting and exciting alternative to the more common upmarket family hatchbacks."
The first-generation MINI Clubman was a quirky small estate car, with just the one rear-hinged door to access the back seats and unusual, boxy styling. It didn’t sell terribly well and was always more of a curiosity than a genuine class contender. This all-new MINI Clubman is a different story, however. Although it's still technically an estate and retains the original Clubman's ‘barn doors’ for accessing the boot, it has four normal passenger doors and it looks more like a familiar hatchback.
The Clubman is 270mm longer and 73mm wider than the five-door version of the regular MINI hatchback, as well as having 100mm more between the front and rear wheels, which boosts interior space. On paper, its most obvious rivals are the Audi A3 Sportback and Volkswagen Golf SV – similarly large and practical versions of upmarket family hatchbacks.
Unlike those rather soberly styled offerings, however, the Clubman looks as distinctive as anything to have come out of MINI's Oxford factory in recent years. Unmistakeable round headlights, plenty of chrome trim and almost endless personalisation options give this car a lot more character than your average family runabout. Inside, comfy leather sports seats and a freshly redesigned version of MINI's trademark centre console continue the theme.
You can open the boot doors by hand, or specify a system that opens them for you when you wave your foot under the bumper. The Clubman can take 360 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place, or 1,250 litres when they’re lowered, which is about on par with the VW Golf.
On the road, you can feel how the Clubman has been given different, softer suspension settings than the regular three and five-door MINI hatchback. Although you can feel a difference, it would still be a stretch to describe it as 'comfortable' – driving fun is still the primary aim.
Trim and engine options are familiar from elsewhere in the MINI range, although there are no basic One or One D versions here.
The range kicks off with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol Cooper making 136bhp and also includes a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol Cooper S with 192bhp and an efficient 2.0-litre turbodiesel Cooper D with 150bhp. The latter is our top pick. You also have the option of an eight-speed automatic gearbox that reduces CO2 emissions and improves fuel economy compared to what you get with manual transmission.
In terms of safety, the Clubman is slightly disappointing. The Euro NCAP safety experts only awarded it four out of a possible five stars, which means it lags behinds most of its rivals that have five stars.
The MINI Clubman Cooper D is the one to go for if you want maximum efficiency
Lively MINI Clubman Cooper S is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, but more sensible Cooper D is a good performer, too
Typically for the brand, the new MINI Clubman offers a distinctive interior with lots of equipment and gadgets
New MINI Clubman is more conventional – and therefore more practical – than its quirky predecessor
Up-to-date technology should ensure the new MINI Clubman is both safe and dependable in the long run