Learning from previous Clubman mistakes.

Introduction

MINI has owned up to getting it wrong with the previous Clubman. A curious layout had two and a half passenger doors that forced too many big compromises. This version has been enlarged to compete in a more mainstream family car way, with four doors for passengers and a larger boot, while maintaining the unique Clubman twin side-hinged doors at the tail.

 

Body Style: 5dr Hatchback           Seats: 5                           MRP from £19,090 - £29,345

 

Did you know? The original 1969 Clubman was simply a front-end restyle of the earlier Mini, marketed as a more upmarket product

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Verdict:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Moving more into the mainstream has boosted the MINI Clubman’s appeal massively. It was a bit of an oddball but now it serves as a legitimate and logical next step up from a five-door MINI Hatchback. Don’t imagine it’s big, though: It’s the most spacious MINI yet, but it’s still more cramped than many of its rivals and has lost some of the brand’s cuteness in the lengthening process. It’s more functional, certainly, and has charming petrol engines, but it’s rather expensive and struggles to justify the price.

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Pricing

★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10)

 

2017 Mini Clubman

We Like

Extra boot space

Four large passenger doors

Characterful petrol engines

We Don't Like

Twin boot doors

Awkward rear styling

Expensive prices

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Design & Exterior:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

2017 Mini Clubman

MINI had to keep the Clubman’s roof low to avoid treading on the toes of the high-riding Countryman crossover model, but in doing so, the extra 270mm in length over the already strangely elongated five-door MINI Hatchback makes the Clubman look rather like a sausage dog; longer in the middle than it should be, and a little out of proportion as a result. It still has a cute face, though, with silver grille accents on Cooper models.

The front end is a more or less identical copy of the nose on the iconic Hatchback, but the back is less well resolved. An odd number of letters in the name Clubman doesn’t help, leaving four letters on one door and three on the other, while the rear light clusters are truly huge and not especially pretty. The circular elements both seem to be looking out sideways from the car, giving the rear a wide, cross-eyed look.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Interior & Comfort:★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

2017 Mini Clubman

A longer chassis means less fore-aft pitching over bumps for greater overall stability. It’s a good deal more planted than the shortest three-door MINI hatchback and feels noticeably more grown-up. Comfort is taken care of with a suspension system that’s unique to the Clubman; a compliant but well-controlled setup that absorbs the worst of the road’s imperfections.

The interior is a fundamentally stylish place to be, even in base models where a lack of trim embellishments leaves it feeling more Spartan than it really is. It’s surprising how little bigger it seems from the driver’s seat compared to the smaller Hatchbacks, with the steep windscreen still feeling close to you, but the real improvements are in the boot and for rear passengers, finally giving them adequate legroom for once in the MINI range.

Practicality

There are positives and negatives associated with the two boot doors. On one hand, they act as a useful break against wind and lines of sight, potentially affording a little privacy for changing out of beach wear, for example. It’s also easy to simply open one door, throw your bags in and be done with it.

But on the other hand, reverse-parking into bay spaces often makes it impossible to open the doors at all, and even if there’s enough room behind the car to open them, there usually isn’t any space to bring trolleys around because the doors are blocking the path. It’s a design that either totally works for you or totally doesn’t.

Boot space

Min: 360 litres
Max: 1250 litres 

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Technology & Connectivity:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Mini Clubman

The Clubman is the first MINI to employ an eight-speed automatic gearbox borrowed from parent company BMW. The chassis is now big enough to accommodate it, and it’s a wonderfully refined unit. It’s only available on Cooper D, Cooper S and Cooper SD models. Also new to the Clubman range are an electronic parking brake, full electric seat adjustment and trendy coloured interior ambient lighting.

All models get standard satellite navigation within the circular Mini console feature, which is very welcome. Lower grades have a 6.5in screen while more expensive versions have an excellent 8.8in upgrade. There’s Bluetooth connectivity to go with the screen, plus the awfully-named MINI Excitement Pack, which just includes basic interior ambient lighting and a downward projection of the MINI logo onto the ground when getting in and out of the car.

Many buyers add the Chili Pack, which adds tech like heated front seats, parking sensors, climate control and LED headlights. It turns the spec list into a much more impressive thing in one fell swoop, but it’s not a cheap addition at £2785.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Performance & Handling:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Mini Clubman

Unlike the MINI Hatchback, which has its own turbocharged 1.2-litre powerplant, the One Clubman uses a detuned version of the Cooper Clubman’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder. All the engines in the range are tuned to give a disproportionately large amount of torque in the first quarter of the accelerator pedal travel, so they all feel immediately willing and lively, and none feel particularly weak.

It’s a noticeable step up in performance between One and Cooper models, and from Cooper to Cooper S. The same goes for the diesel versions, which offer up to 190hp at the top of the range. The pick of the bunch from either fuel is at Cooper level, where there’s plenty of power without costing too much. The three-cylinder petrol Cooper Clubman has bags of charm, too.

It’s easy to overuse the torque in these engines because it’s so much fun to do so, and although it hurts fuel economy it contributes to the car’s extra character over the many competent but boring alternatives.

Handling is good. The Clubman feels like it has a particularly long wheelbase and it does, pushing the wheels as far out to the corners as possible. That gives it great stability and helps improve suspension control, but there’s sometimes a sense that the front and rear are a little too far apart to communicate as well as you might like. The rear, particularly, can often feel disconnected from the experience.

Recommended engine: 1.5 136 manual

0-62 MPH

9.1 seconds

Fuel economy

55.4 mpg

Emissions

118g/km

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Safety Features:★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (6/10)

2017 Mini Clubman

Six airbags is a general industry standard but in this class several rivals offer a knee airbag as well. A curious oversight means that not all EU markets have a passenger-side airbag off-switch, which is one of the reasons why the Clubman only scores four stars in Euro NCAP testing instead of the five clocked up by most of the rest of the class. Adult occupants shouldn’t worry about their own safety, though - the Clubman scores well for that.

Stability and traction control systems are standard, including software to measure feedback from the tyres and shift braking force to the wheels with more grip during emergency stops. An irritating feature is the central ‘pillar’ of the two rear doors, which hampers rear visibility a bit too much.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Specs and Trim Levels:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Mini Clubman

Colours

Naturally, this is a MINI, so there’s no shortage of colour options. Just like the smaller hatchbacks, Moonwalk Grey metallic is the standard colour, with four optional flat colours and a further seven metallics available for £515 each. Pepper White is an off-white solid option that looks permanently grubby and is best avoided.

Chili Red, another solid, can only be added if you also add the John Cooper Works Chili pack and run-flat tyres for a total extra bill of over £4600. Volcanic Orange and Lapisluxury Blue round out the flat shades.

The no-strings metallics are Midnight Black, British Racing Green, Deep Blue, Blazing Red, the classy Pure Burgundy, Digital Blue and Melting Silver. It’s a fantastic range of attractive colours with a few more muted options for people who want to keep things sober.

Trim Levels

There isn’t as great a difference in raw spec between Cooper and Cooper S models as you might think. There are bigger wheels and sportier suspension, sure, but the actual spec upgrades come down to how much a buyer is willing to spend on options. The more compliant Cooper and Cooper D models have plenty of poke and their cheaper list prices leave more room to add options packs.

The range starts with the One Clubman and One D, which have some important trim highlights like satellite navigation and air conditioning that are shared by the models above them. The Cooper Clubman and Cooper D Clubman bring more power, then it’s the same thing when upgrading to the Cooper S and Cooper SD Clubman, although the Cooper S Clubman has an option to add four-wheel drive.

Out on its own is the John Cooper Works Clubman, which is a performance-focused halo model with special trim, more standard equipment and the sportiest drive, although it’s not much fun compared to direct rivals that are often cheaper.

Size and Dimensions

It looks a lot longer than it is, partly because the roof line is unusually low for the class. It’s actually not so long at all. That means it certainly won’t violate any height or length restrictions any time soon, although the body is marginally wider than most. Fortunately the stubby mirrors overlap the bodywork a lot and don’t add much to the overall measurement. In fact, including mirrors, it’s narrower than many rivals.

Length

4253 mm

Width

1800 mm (1932 mm)

Height

1425 mm

Max towing weight without brake

From 680kg (1.5 petrol) to 750kg (all 2.0-litre ALL4 models)

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Running Costs & Fuel Economy:★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

2017 Mini Clubman

MINI’s engines are capable of vastly efficient driving if they are handled in the necessary way. Building speed briskly and then cruising at a set speed with minimal throttle inputs and lifting off as early as possible ahead of roundabouts and junctions is the best method to get near the official figures. The thirsty Cooper S ALL4 and John Cooper Works models aside, 45mpg is the minimum official figure in the range.

Turbocharged engines are highly sensitive to driving style, so harder acceleration and rough, frequent changes in speed will hurt the Clubman’s fuel economy badly. With careful control, 40-50mpg should be achievable in a mix of driving in the petrols, but the MINI’s fun engines don’t exactly encourage outright sensibility.

The diesels are much more capable when it comes to fuel economy. The One D’s official figure is 74.3mpg, aided by small wheels and high-profile tyres. You’re not likely to get anywhere near that on average, but figures in the 60s are achievable. The Cooper D is about 10 per cent less efficient, with the SD another 10 per cent back.

Reliability and servicing

MINI’s reliability record as a brand is quite poor. For reliability the hatchback, the only model to feature in the 2016 Driver Power survey, placed fourth from bottom of the 150 models that received enough responses to qualify.

Minor

12 months or 10,000-15,000 miles - £175 est

Major

24 months or 20,000-30,000 miles - £310 est

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Pricing:★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆ (5/10)

2017 Mini Clubman

At £21,475 for a Clubman One D the pricing structure is eye-opening. Add the Chili pack, alloy wheel upgrades and a different metallic paint and that price soars way over £25,000, which is expensive even when you consider the excellent residual values. A petrol Cooper is £1270 cheaper than a One D when specified the same way, but a Cooper D with the same popular options hovers around £26,500.

As for the desirable SD, with its 190hp diesel engine, common packs and extras can see it nudge £30,000, but at least at this level buyers tend to be less budget-conscious. It’s hard not to see the Clubman as an extremely expensive small family car, but its styling will make it irresistible to some people regardless.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing

Recommendations

Car Enthusiast

2.0 231 John Cooper Works – the fastest and most exclusive Clubman gives hot hatchback pace

Company Car Buyer

2.0 150 Cooper D – powerful engine, high fuel economy and upmarket looks make an excellent company car

Cost Conscious

1.5 102 One – the cheapest Clubman brings with it a very flexible engine and space to upgrade

 

Rivals

Volkswagen Golf

Superb all-rounder with high interior quality, low starting prices and enviable everyday usability

BMW 1 Series

The more fun alternative thanks to rear-wheel drive and powerful engines, but can get expensive

Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Sporty styling is a hit with buyers, and there are excellent turbocharged engines to choose

Infiniti Q30

A left-field choice but a stylish one with lots of standard technology and modest pricing

Lexus CT

The clear choice for reliability and dealer backup also has a highly refined hybrid option for increased urban efficiency

What others say

Auto Express

“The Clubman moves on from its gawky predecessor with extra practicality and comfort, but remains a funky, unconventional choice in the class.”

The Telegraph

In most ways the Clubman does a successful job of expanding the MINI’s appeal into a bigger, more family-oriented car that’s still fun and frugal to drive.”

 

Be part of something big

2017 Mini Clubman