MINI Clubman (2016) Review

MINI Clubman (2016) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The MINI Clubman competes well with the competition on price and standard equipment. It’s good to drive, comfortable and practical enough for a family. In fact we think it's the best of the current MINI crop.

+Now a proper estate with two rear doors, more upmarket interior than standard MINI hatch, good sized boot has plenty of room for a pushchair.

-Top models are very pricey.

New prices start from £21,985
Contract hire deals from £215.30 per month
Insurance Groups are between 17–30
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. 

Ask Honest John

Should I trade in two cars to buy an electric vehicle?
"I’m recently bereaved and I find I’ve got two cars, a 2017 MINI Clubman and a 2016 Audi Q3. I don’t need both cars and I could buy an all-electric car/SUV with a 250-mile range. I’m prepared to put £10,000 - £15,000 to buy outright. What can you suggest I do?"
If you think your mileage will suit electric motoring, consider trading both in for an electric vehicle. To get the best from an EV, you'll need to be able to charge at home (i.e. have private parking with access to electricity where you can install a home charger). The Volkswagen ID.3 is a really good introduction to EVs, and the standard model starts from around £30k (after the Plug-in Car Grant). This can officially travel up to 250 miles on a charge, while the pricer Tour model can travel up to 336 miles. If you regularly travel 250 miles in one go, though, you might find that a diesel alternative is a better option.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I change my MINI Clubman for a Volkswagen Polo?
"I have a 2016 MINI Cooper S Clubman and I'm thinking of changing it. Any suggestions? I don’t want to end up regretting changing. I'm thinking of a Volkswagen Polo or Golf as they have good visibility but they're not as nice inside."
The latest Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI is a very good small car. Not as plush as your MINI inside, but less harsh on the road due to its softer suspension. The Polo will match your Clubman for bootspace, with 355 litres on offer:
Answered by Dan Powell
Can I swap my back tyres, which wear slower, with my front tyres?
"Can I rotate the wheels (from front to back) on my MINI Clubman without having to change the TPMS. The front tyres always wear faster than the rear. As the rear now need changing, I want to switch them to the front with new tyres."
You can rotate the wheels yes, but you'll need to reset the TPMS. Check the handbook for details on how to do this. Just be mindful of a few things. One: manufacturers don't recommend this. Two: the more worn the tyre is, the more prone it is to punctures so you're increasing your chances of a blowout on the rear tyres (assuming you're not on run-flats). Three: Because of the stresses and strains on making front-wheel drive cars do both the driving and the turning, your front tyres will have experienced very different wear patterns to the rear. Swapping them over could worsen the ride quality and grip levels.
Answered by Keith Moody
My car is older than was stated when I bought it. Do I have any recourse for the extra costs I'll incur?
"I took ownership of a MINI Clubman on a four-year PCH on 28 August 2017. I recently discovered the car was pre-registered on 30 March that year. The lease company did not inform me of this. This means the car is five months older than stated, resulting in extra MoT and extended warranty costs - particularly from March to August 2021. Do I have any recourse? They don't seem to be interested in my complaint."
It sounds like the car was misrepresented. Make a formal written complaint with the leasing company and, if you're not satisfied with the response, consider opening a case with the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association).
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a MINI Clubman (2016) cost?

Contract hire from £215.30 per month