MINI Clubman estate
Price £20,105 - £27,410
- Well equipped
- Fun to drive
- Some won’t like styling
- Options can be expensive
- Still has unusual boot doors
At a glance
“With its unconventional styling and twin boot doors, the MINI Clubman offers an appealingly left-field alternative to the traditional family hatchback.”
When the original MINI Clubman launched in 2007, its unusual styling marked it out as something of a niche proposition, while having only one rear-hinged back door limited its appeal further. Unsurprisingly, MINI sold few examples and it remains something of a curiosity.
For the new Clubman, MINI has played it relatively safe. True, the boot still has a pair of split-opening ‘barn doors’, but the rear doors are now hinged conventionally and there are mercifully two of them.
Those unique boot doors can be opened by hand, or by an optional system that detects your foot being waved under the bumper, and once opened, they reveal a well-shaped boot. But while it's nominally an estate, the Clubman's 360-litre load capacity means cars like the Skoda Fabia Estate and SEAT Ibiza ST dwarf it for outright load capacity. The Clubman's true rivals are really conventional five-door premium hatchbacks like the Audi A3 Sportback and Mercedes A-Class, as well as the family-focused Volkswagen Golf SV.
On the road, the MINI Clubman has softer suspension than the five-door MINI hatchback, although it's still been designed with driver involvement as a priority. This is a winning combination, as you’re well insulated from poor road surfaces and potholes, yet the Clubman remains enjoyable to steer along twisty backroads.
The Clubman is offered with a range of petrol and diesel engines. The cheapest model is the 136bhp 1.5-litre petrol Cooper Clubman. This returns 55.4mpg, costs just £30 a year in road tax, and can go from 0-62mph in a reasonable 9.1 seconds. If you’re after more performance, the 192bhp 2.0-litre petrol Cooper S Clubman returns 45.6mpg and leaves you liable for a road-tax bill of £145, but its 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds means it's fast, offering near sports-car performance.
The entry-level diesel model is known as the One D Clubman and comes with a 1.5-litre engine that's capable of 74.3mpg and is road-tax-exempt thanks to its low CO2 emissions. Despite being the most economical model in the range, it's still capable of 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds. Stepping up to the 150bhp Cooper D Clubman sees the engine grow to 2.0 litres and the 0-62mph time drop to 8.6 seconds, while fuel economy is 68.9mpg and road tax costs just £20 a year.
The most powerful diesel model is the Cooper SD Clubman. This has the same basic 2.0-litre engine as the Cooper D, but produces 187bhp and can go from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds. Fuel economy of 62.8mpg and road tax of just £30 a year means it's still relatively cheap to run, despite the performance on offer.
If you’re after some extra grip, MINI offers the top-spec Cooper S cars (both diesel and petrol) with ALL4 four-wheel drive. While some may find a four-wheel-drive MINI estate appealing, fitting this system sees fuel economy drop by about 4mpg and road tax rise a band (£110 for the diesel, £185 for the petrol), while the higher list prices are likely to limit appeal further.
Inside, the MINI Clubman will feel familiar to MINI customers. That means you get a quirky and well built dashboard with a large central dial for the sat-nav and infotainment systems dominating proceedings. The entry-level car gets a leather steering wheel, sat nav, a DAB radio, cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.
In terms of options, the Chilli Pack adds heated part-leather seats, keyless entry (which includes the hands-free-opening boot doors) rear parking sensors, LED headlights and a host of interior and exterior trim upgrades. While it's expensive at £2,785, the Chilli Pack remains popular with buyers as it adds a lot of useful equipment that’d be a lot more expensive if ordered individually. Note that if you get too carried away (particularly with the more powerful models) the prospect of a £30,000 MINI Clubman is easy to realise.
In terms of safety, the MINI Clubman scored four out of five stars in its Euro NCAP crash tests. While the testing regime has become more strenuous lately, car buyers are increasingly expect the full five stars these days, meaning the Clubman is slightly out of step with the competition.
Owning a Clubman should be an enjoyable affair. While it's too new a car to have featured in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, the MINI hatchback (with which it shares many components) came an impressive ninth out of 200 models.
The MINI Clubman One D is the car 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
The 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