MINI Clubman (2016) Review
MINI Clubman (2016) At A Glance
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On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure
The MINI Clubman is the estate-car take on the popular MINI hatchback, designed to compete with premium products like the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake and Volkswagen Golf Estate, as well as premium hatchbacks like the Audi A3 Sportback. It builds on the previous generation but is a more practical proposition; it’s a much bigger car than before and has a bigger boot, even though it retains the two vertical doors from the original car. Offered with the typical range of personalisation options as well as a broad engine range, it brings a more sensible side as well as still being fun to drive.
It might still have two ‘barn’ doors for accessing the boot, but that’s about the only thing the new MINI Clubman has in common with its predecessor.
Instead of a quirky yet compromised estate, the new Clubman is more like a conventional small family car, with the added bonus of a luxurious interior.
In fact, despite the estate car styling the Clubman is actually around the same size as an Audi A3 Sportback. Being based on the bigger MINI five door hatchback gives it the longer wheelbase and bigger body to offer both decent rear seat space as well as a bigger boot; it might not be a serious load carrier but it’s a far more practical proposition.
One thing the Clubman has done is moved upmarket. It feels more grown up than the rest of the MINI range, with a different dashboard layout, subtle chrome details and unique vents.
There are also some really luxurious upholstery finishes, including the option of blue quilted leather that wouldn’t look out of place in a much pricier vehicle. It goes some way to justifying the MINI Clubman being pitched as a premium competitor to the likes of Mercedes and Audi.
Standard equipment is generous, with alloy wheels, navigation, Bluetooth and keyless start fitted to all cars. Being a MINI there are plenty of optional extras of course, including a wide choice of paint and roof colours, stripes, alloy wheel designs, interior upholstery finishes and bundles of extras including the popular Chili pack.
It’s easy to get carried away with the MINI configuration tool and to add thousands of pounds to the price of a Clubman, but somehow even examples with everything but the proverbial kitchen sink fitted manage not to feel overpriced.
The testament to the Clubman’s genuinely upmarket, luxurious and special cabin. Whether a fancy cabin and twin rear doors are enough to pull buyers away from the Audi A3 Sportback and Mercedes-Benz A-Class will come down to personal preference.
If you’re interested in a practical MINI then there’s also a chance you still want it to drive like a MINI too. The extra length and width means it’s not quite as agile as the regular hatchback, but there is still fun to be had. If anything, it rides better than the standard car as long as you choose the right suspension option, but it is still keen to turn into a corner and has a playful nature that is a big part of its appeal.
But if you've always wanted a MINI and found the rest of the range a little too tight for space, the Clubman is perfect.