Mini Clubman Estate (2015) Review

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Mini Clubman Estate (2015) Quick Review

7.1
This is the score given by Car & Driving
  • 8 Depreciation
  • 8 Handling
  • 7 Insurance
  • 7 Economy
  • 7 Equipment
  • 7 Value
  • 7 Build
  • 7 Styling
  • 7 Comfort
  • 7 Performance
  • 6 Space

Short Review

The first modern-era MINI Clubman was launched in 2007 as the first truly practical MINI - but came with one key drawback: you couldn't have two rear passenger doors. This second generation model not only corrects that oversight but is also smarter, better equipped, higher-tech and more efficient. But can it set itself apart from the Hatch 5-Door and Countryman models in MINI's range? Let's see.

Mini Clubman Estate (2015) LeaseFetcher Review

Verdict

The Clubman is the estate version of the MINI with a unique six door design. (It includes two split boot doors that open outwards.) Thankfully, the interior offers more space than a standard MINI.

A firm ride gives the MINI Clubman a surprisingly sporty feel but it's also to account for the extra weight of the stretched estate chassis.

Practicality-wise, the car’s interior space is definitely bigger than the MINI Hatch but it doesn't feel cavernous in the way other proper estates do.

Style

The MINI Clubman looks like what it is — a stretched MINI. The only real differences (other than a slightly stretched looking back third) is a couple of doors on the back.

Seriously, it's the exact same.

Interior

Under BMW’s ownership, MINIs have always had good interiors and the current version is no different. The plastics are premium, the dials precise and the design is suitably high-end.

The dash features the trademark circular 6.5-inch screen with MINI Connected Service, which is actually a modified version of BMW iDrive. While the centre screen looks cute, it’s also very practical and fluid in terms of functionality and borrows all the best bits of BMW’s iDrive.

Okay, enough of the preamble. It’s time to talk about the most important thing: the roof. This is, after all, a convertible we’re talking about.

The MINI has a fully electric, fabric roof that folds flat in just 18 seconds. And, if you’re driving under 18 mph, you don’t even have to slow down to drop the roof! With the roof up, you’ll not notice much difference from the normal hatchback. It looks and feels secure, and there’s not a huge increase in road or wind noise — although that's not saying much!

Back in the cabin, you’ve got a DAB radio and Bluetooth as standard. Working via the iDrive system, services like Spotify have their own interface in the centre dash, which can be used rather than the app on your phone.

The MINI Connected service lets you use natural language to interact with the infotainment system and MINI FindMate allows you to tag a few items like keys to a Bluetooth tag, which, in turn, helps track the item in case you lose them.

So, all in all, the convertible bit gets a big thumbs up!

Driving

The MINI Clubman comes in two main models: Cooper and John Cooper Works (JCW) editions. The Cooper offers a 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engine while the John Cooper Works trim offers the 2.0-litre petrol only.

All engines above can be hooked up to a six speed manual or automatic. However, the John Cooper Works edition uses an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.

The all wheel drive allows dynamic distribution of power between the front and rear axles to improve driving behaviour in varied road conditions. That means that the Countryman is super fun to drive with excellent handling, precise cornering and sharp steering. It also has progressive steering which reduces the extent of steering rotations to turn the front wheels– turning corners in the Countryman is relatively easy.  

I think the driving position is excellent in terms of seat height and other adjustments but the A pillar does create a blind spot. The rear boot window wiper is not long enough and so is only able to clear a small section of the wide back windscreen.

Sadly, the Countryman continues MINI's tradition of wind and road noise. It's fairly loud and is just something you'll have to live with.

Because the Countryman is heavier than other MINIs, they've stiffened up the suspension, which leads to a fairly uncomfortable ride over unsealed or rough roads. There is variable damper control available as an option but it doesn’t necessarily give you a completely smooth ride.

Practicality

In terms of space, the Clubman is pretty good. There is good storage in the door bins, the centre console has a tray to hold phones (with USB charging), there's also two cup holders and a small space under the centre console for additional items. The steering offers telescopic and tilt adjustment options to find the optimal driving position.

Compared to other MINI models, the front and rear leg room is improved and actually quite comfortable. The rear portion of front seats are scoped to allow better leg room for the rear seated passengers. There are three independent rear seats for three adults which also offer adjustments to modify inclination and can be slid forwards or backwards to adjust leg room. They can even be folded to create more cargo space.

The spaciousness doesn’t end there. Boot space on the Clubman makes it very practical and several suitcases fit easily: there’s even additional space underneath the boot floor to stow away items out of sight.

Rear split doors can be opened using the handles, a push button on the key or by waving your foot underneath the bumper as part of an optional package.

Specification

The Clubman comes in two different models: Cooper and John Cooper Works. Standard kit includes MINI Connected Services, electronic push button brakes and a 6.5-inch infotainment system.

On top of all the standard kit, there's a bunch of customisation options, including colour options for interiors, wheel design, bonnet stripes, side view mirror caps and varied interior colour schemes for armrests.

An optional MINI head-up display can be installed on the dashboard to provide navigation and other driving details.

MINI's parking assist helps you automatically park in tight spots with limited driver input and the rear view camera helps you check blind spots.

An optional MINI driving assistant provides camera-based active cruise control that slows down the vehicle in face of obstacles and a pedestrian warning system and collision mitigation system that will activate brakes upon detection of collision danger. The city collision mitigation system responds to changes in traffic speed without driver intervention.

An interior light package is available as part of the MINI excitement pack to manage the mood inside the vehicle.

All in, the MINI Clubman offers a good blend of practicality and style with a good peppering of tech for good measure.

Mini Clubman Estate (2015) Gallery

Euro NCAP Safety Rating

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