Mini Clubman (2007 - 2015)
A good estate car isn't difficult to build. Take a large car, and then stick a large piece on the rear. Ensure that it has boxy shape, ample access and a flat loading floor. Your estate car is good to go.
Building a nice estate is a whole different story. Mini also started by extending the car, by 24 cm. After which, they concentrated on its usability and originality.
The rear seat is easily accessible thanks to an extra side door. On the right hand side of the car, there is a small door which opens against the direction of the traffic. Consequently there is no need for a b-pillar, leaving ample access to the rear seat. Unfortunately even with the extended wheel base of eight centimetres, the space on the rear seat is moderate.
Mini has chosen for only one extra side door due to the tank cap on the other side, the cost and the security requirements for the American market. Of course, this does make this construction very unique!
The luggage space is accessible via two cargo doors, which do hamper visibility in the rear-view mirror. Mini devised the cargo doors so that they can be opened with one hand, while the other is full of shopping. After the doors have unlocked, they open automatically thanks to a gas spring.
With 260 litres of space, the rear boot is considerably larger than that of other compact cars. As desired, the rear seat can be folded down in two separate parts. With all the necessary handles reachable from both within the main body of the car as well as the boot, this can be done in one easy movement.
With the rear seat folded flat, the luggage space measures 930 litres. This is smaller than your average estate car, but is still really quite useful. A large pram or a month's shopping easily disappears into the Clubman. Larger items such as a bicycle surfboard or a couch wouldn't fit in. The loading floor is perfectly flat, and underneath there is extra storage space. Because the Clubman features runflat tyres, there is no space requirement for a spare wheel.
The luggage space is equipped with toggles, brackets, 12-volt plug and a shopping bag that folds out. There are even storage compartments mounted in the rear doors. This may be the fun guy amongst estates; the Clubman is more intelligent than many of its competitors!
The average estate car drives nicely. However many modern cars are so comfortable that the driving pleasure is not always there. Mini has certainly not forgotten the comfort; however they have also retained the driving pleasure in the Clubman.
The steering is immediate and the road handling is unequalled in its class. Thanks to the longer wheel base, the Clubman feels more stable than the ordinary mini.
Sports suspension is optional whereby the car remains neutral for longer in turns and is thus faster. Over poor road surfaces, the sports suspension is extremely uncomfortable. Without this adaptation, the handling is already so good that the negatives don't outweigh the positives.
The MINI Clubman is available with a practical diesel engine (Cooper D) and an economical petrol engine (Cooper). The test driven Cooper S is the sporty model and delivers 175 pk/240 Nm, making this estate a first class fun machine.
The Clubman reacts aggressively to accelerator and wants nothing more than to play. At full acceleration, the power is even too great for the front wheels. Here it is a case of holding onto the steering wheel with both hands, otherwise the car starts to steer itself.
The 0 to 100 km/hr sprint can be achieved in 7.6 seconds, but even above this speed the Cooper S is still toxic. The Clubman is not only quick, but also gives a great sensation of speed.
The excellent performances are not detrimental to the environment thanks to Efficient Dynamics. Energy which would be lost in braking or coasting is stored in the battery. By feeding the electric components with this free energy, the Clubman is a true environmental miracle.
To save even more energy, the engine is automatically switched off when the car stands still and the clutch is released (consequently the driver still has influence over the system). By re-engaging the clutch, the engine starts. In reality this works so quickly that there is no delay. It just makes the car more economical. Finally a gear indicator shows the most economical moment to change gear.
Anyone who indulges oneself getting the maximum out of the car can consume around 8.7 litres petrol per 100 km. A quieter driving style costs 6.2 litres by 100 km.
There are enough functional estates for functional people. The MINI Clubman is the first bit of fun amongst estate cars. The Clubman is a roomy, well thought-out estate. It is more than just a lifestyle car.
Moreover the Clubman offers an abundance of driving pleasure. The steering and road handling are excellent. Thanks to Efficient Dynamics the Clubman is not only quick, but also exceptionally economical. Innovative, rebellious and merry; isn't that what you always wanted from a car?