THE Mini Clubman is a retro-styled hatchback which looks very different from most in its sector, offering a more charismatic persona and outstanding driving dynamics.
With twin rear doors instead of a conventional lift-up hatch and its distinctive Mini ‘face’ which still has faint echos of its 1960s ancestors, the Clubman competes against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf and Ford Focus, and has strong appeal to those seeking something a little different in the crowded hatchback arena.
Available with petrol and diesel engines and with manual or automatic gearboxes, the Clubman is priced from €22,513 (£19,995) and it is the entry-level City version featured here. With a three-cylinder 1.5 litre 102 hp petrol engine and 6-speed manual gearbox, this model is well equipped and is aimed not just at families but at business users.
Top speed is 185 kph (115 mph), the 0-100 kph time 11.3 seconds, and average fuel economy is very respectable at 17.2 kpl (48.7 mpg). Emissions are 131 g/km.
Standard kit includes alloy wheels, sat-nav, digital radio, Bluetooth, connectivity features including Apple CarPlay, air-conditioning, cruise control, auto stop-start, rear parking sensors and auto lights and wipers.
Build integrity is high standard, as with all models in the BMW group, and the cabin has a top-quality appearance. The dashboard is dominated by a large central instrument dial, again echoing the original Mini, and the controls are well-placed for easy use. Cabin space is very good, with four adults easily accommodated and a fifth squeezed in if necessary.
Family hatchbacks are all about practicality and here, the Clubman scores well. The boot space is surprisingly capacious at 360 litres and when the rear seats are folded flat, space is boosted to 1,250 litres giving the car some small-business appeal.
On the road, the Clubman gets top marks for performance. The steering is very precise, handling beautifully poised partly thanks to a longer wheelbase than the standard Mini hatchback and partly due to well-balanced suspension which keeps the car composed on the corners while still delivering good ride comfort.
While the Mini Clubman isn’t the cheapest hatchback in the class, nor the most spacious, it arguably has the most cachet – a strong sales point in an increasingly image-conscious marketplace.
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Model: Mini Clubman City
Engine: 1.5 litre petrol
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Performance: 0-100 kph 11.3 seconds, top speed 185 kph (115 mph)
Economy: 17.2 kpl (48.7 mpg)
Emissions: 131 g/km