The MINI Clubman has all the time suffered from an id disaster. The unique, with its single rear door that opened on the motive force’s facet, was quaint however odd. This second-generation automobile is a component hatch, half property and 4 years on from launch, it’s had a refresh.
That is it and on the floor at the very least, not a lot has modified. MINI has chosen to flippantly clean up the seems to be so the Clubman’s barely confused character stays. New lights and a bigger grille brighten up the entrance and there are new, squarer door mirrors, nevertheless it’s on the rear the place you’ll spot a facelifted Clubman from the outdated one.
The hind lights are actually full-LEDs and undertake the Union Jack design, first seen on the MINI three- and five-door. With their wider and slimmer form they’re arguably much less contrived than the Hatch’s design, however they continue to be a divisive function. They’re additionally a function you’re caught with, as MINI isn’t providing a extra generic halogen providing for individuals who don’t need to fly the flag. That wouldn’t be premium sufficient, says MINI.
Elsewhere it’s your typical mid-life refresh, so there are three new colors – together with this Indian Summer season Crimson metallic – new wheel designs and, as this can be a MINI, there are actually extra methods to personalise it. So there are extra contrasting roof colors and you’ll order Union Jack-style wheels and headrests, if you want. Extra non-obligatory extras, together with numerous expertise packs and Matrix LED headlamps, are added to the listing as nicely. However, unsurprisingly, all of them come at a hefty worth.
The modifications are equally minor on the within. There are seven new leather-based upholsteries in numerous colors, which can seize your eye, however that’s just about it. The usual of match and end stays extraordinarily excessive, however the Clubman continues to be outclassed by the now actually quite outdated Audi A3. The design, nevertheless, has an even bigger wow issue than the Mercedes A-Class, regardless of the MINI having been round for longer. There are nonetheless a great deal of cubbies to retailer issues, room within the again is okay for 2 adults, however not three, and the boot stays massive for a hatch however small for an property automobile.
As normal the entry-level Clubman Basic nonetheless get a 6-5-inch infotainment display with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, actual time site visitors updates, on-line search and linked companies, computerized lights and wipers, LED temper lighting and MINI emblem puddle lamps, however is now £700 dearer than earlier than. In the meantime, Sport carries with it a John Cooper Works bodykit, bigger alloys and bucket seats and Unique tops the vary as soon as once more with its leather-based and chrome options.
Regardless of all of the tweaks to the best way the Clubman seems to be, below the bonnet MINI has slimmed issues down. There’s now just one diesel – the 148bhp 2.Zero-litre Cooper D – and three petrols: a 189bhp 2.Zero-litre for the Cooper S, a 302bhp 2.Zero-litre John Cooper Works (70bhp greater than the outdated JCW) and a 134bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder for the Cooper. The One and One D have gone as has the Cooper S All4, with four-wheel drive reserved solely for the JCW.
The Cooper has lengthy been our choose and the bestseller of the vary, attributable to its interesting mix of efficiency and finesse. It’s additionally the mannequin that does the most effective job of differentiating itself from the MINI five-door Hatch, so it’s the engine we’re specializing in right here. The mid-life refresh has left the Clubman’s oily bits untouched so it goes, stops and rides like earlier than.
The 1.5-litre three-cylinder is a bit of gem; it’s punchy throughout the whole rev vary, and but has comparable refinement to that of the two.Zero-litre within the Cooper S – it’s by no means thrashy or boomy, even while you lengthen it in direction of the pink line. Our automobile was matched as much as a seven-speed double-clutch Steptronic gearbox (a six-speed handbook is normal and £1,600 cheaper), which is easy however by no means actually provides a sporty really feel when altering ratios and is extra arrange for relaxed driving. The identical goes for the trip – the Cooper has a delightful suppleness round city, which fortunately doesn’t translate to wallowy physique management on a rustic street.
Whereas the Clubman has all the time tried to be barely extra comfy than the Hatch, it nonetheless has a chassis that’s sometimes MINI. For a fancy hatchback-cum-estate automobile, it’s surprisingly responsive and feels extra agile than an A-Class or perhaps a BMW 1 Sequence. It’s only a disgrace then that the steering, whereas direct, by no means weights up prefer it does in different MINI fashions and feels only a bit too mild.