Date:31 May 2008
2008 Mini Cooper Clubman
From behind the fat-rimmed steering wheel and upright windshield of the Mini Clubman, there is nothing to suggest that this Mini is anything other than, well, a conventional Mini. But the Clubman is 24 cm longer. And when we first glanced in the mirror, we were surprised to see a split rear window and a vertical joint where the two rear doors meet. According to the manufacturers, they’ve drawn on the brand’s historic styling references: the Morris Mini Traveller, Austin Mini Countryman, and the Mini Clubman Estate. (If we want to be picky, we’d point out that the name Clubman was created for the sharper front look regarded as an update of the curvy original – not for the wagon version.)
Rear-seat access used to be rather cumbersome on Minis. But now, thanks to a rearward-opening side-access door – Mini calls it a Clubdoor – hauling two extra pals is easy. Thanks to a cleverly articulated hinge design, the Mini Clubman’s rear doors swing out and away from the car, providing unrestricted access to the 260-930 dm cargo area. The doors must be opened in sequence – right, then left – with gas strut assistance to ease the effort.
Base Coopers get a 1,6-litre Four that produces 88 kW and averages 5,5 litres/100 km. The turbocharged Cooper S produces 128 kW – good for 100 km/h in 7,6 seconds and 6,3 litres/100 km. We recently tested the Clubman and original (new) Mini back to back. The two perform so similarly, we say go for the Clubman if you need the extra utility. And there are enough individual options to make sure you’ll never see another one quite like yours.