2017 MINI Clubman Reviews
Cars.com Expert Reviews
The Mini Clubman Cooper S is quirky and fun, but you can get a lot more in a car this size for this price.
Versus the competition
The Clubman’s growth spurt puts it in competition with lots of hot-hatch compacts, many of which offer more power, more speed and more safety equipment for the same money — or less.
The Mini brand has developed a devoted following thanks to quirky styling, genius marketing and the constant addition of new models and variants to the lineup. Selling small cars when SUVs are hot and gas is cheap is no easy task, but Mini continues to soldier on, probably in part because its cars aren't so small anymore.
Take the new Clubman, which is essentially an extended version of the four-door Mini Hardtop. It's fractionally bigger than a Volkswagen Golf, weighs more than an Infiniti QX30 and has more cargo room than a Mercedes-Benz GLA250. This Mini isn't so Mini, which makes you wonder if it's kept the magical driving experience that early examples of the reborn brand delivered nearly 16 years ago. Does it still have the go-kart-like handling, the darty dynamics, the diminutive dimensions and the quirky design of last decade's Minis?
Clear Heritage Design
On the outside, it's easy to tell this is a Mini, as nothing else really looks like it. From the big round headlamps to the floating roof, the iconic styling of the original 1960s Mini has been updated steadily and successfully. This is the Clubman model, meaning it has four doors and a wagon-style back (or "estate" as the Brits would say). But it's not a five-door, as cars with liftgates are often called — it's a six-door, with tiny twin side-opening "barn doors" that split the rear window vertically.
Like a Volkswagen Golf R, for example, which is pretty much the exact same size inside and out and has an adjustable suspension, all-wheel drive and nearly 100 more horsepower for the same price as this loaded Clubman Cooper S All4. Or, if you can forgo all-wheel drive, a front-drive Volkswagen Golf GTI features all the benefits of the Golf R's size and shape but with better handling than the Mini Clubman — and more content, as well, for 2018.
My personal choice would be a Golf R over a Clubman, as I prefer driving fun over styling statements, but for folks who view the Mini as a fashion accessory, only the quirky will do.