Funky Clubman builds on Sixties’ rear barn-door set-up With a unique side arrangement to allow easy access for those in the back. Attention to design and engineering detail is true to original car’s revolutionary concept.
MINI may have got its history a little confused with the name, as the Clubman is the spiritual successor of the Traveller and Countryman. As with its classic predecessors, it provides a different take on the MINI experience.
Like the Sixties original, the Clubman is bigger than the standard car on which it’s based. It is 240mm longer than the hatchback, and comes with an 80mm increase in its wheelbase. This means there’s more rear legroom and luggage space – but don’t be fooled, because the Clubman wasn’t conceived as a spacious family car. It simply offers a bit more flexibility.
The unique reverse-opening back door makes it easier to climb into the passenger compartment, while the long windows mean occupants get plenty of light. At the rear, the MINI’s designers have stayed true to history and the neat barn-style doors hark back to those of the original. From behind the wheel, the view out the rear is just the same, although the difference in size between the two cars is remarkable.
The MINI’s back doors represent far more complex engineering than in the Traveller’s day, though. Precise cut-outs are designed to accommodate the tail-lights, which are fixed to the back pillars. Crucially, just like the original, the Clubman provides an undiluted MINI driving experience: it handles and drives just like the hatch.
In this review
- 1IntroductionWe rank and rate the best and worst in exclusive 12-car shoot-out.
- 2Ex-Works Monte Carlo Rally MiniMonte Carlo Cooper was specially kitted out for endurance rallying, and boasts additional dials and controls. It still wears competition stickers with pride.
- 3Original Mini Minor (1959)Superb packaging gives space for four adults, although seats are tiny. Practical touches have become design classics, while on-road experience is sheer fun.
- 4MINI Cooper MkI (2001)With comfortable, well equipped cabin, 2001 car is a world away from original, although its retro styling both inside and out remains faithful to forebear.
- 5MINI JCW World Championship 50Special-edition JCW 50 pays tribute to F1 title-winning team of 1959 and bears the signature of racing legend John Cooper. It also features raft of racy upgrades.
- 6Clubman Mini 1275 GTReworked Mini GT clubman has boxy nose, 1,275cc powerplant, a more luxurious cabin and fresh instruments.
- 7Mini Clubman - currently readingFunky Clubman builds on Sixties’ rear barn-door set-up With a unique side arrangement to allow easy access for those in the back. Attention to design and engineering detail is true to original car’s revolutionary concept.
- 8Mini TravellerMinimalist, Colour-coded interior and dependable if diminutive engine give estate all the charm of the standard mini, but Traveller’s larger boot and barn-style rear doors ensure added practicality and versatility.
- 9MINI GP WorksHigh-performance Works gp ensured the first-generation new MINI went out in style, thanks to sporty body mods, stripped-out cabin and potent powerplant.
- 10Mini MkII (1967)It may have been touted as all-new, but 1967 MkII still features spartan principles of its predecessor, including sliding windows, simple door handles and a basic dash
- 11Mini MigliaEye-catching Miglia racer’s low ride height and super stiff suspension give it incredible cornering ability. Inside, carbon fibre dash and modern race instruments provide a touring car feel.
- 12Rover Mini CooperModel shares the same cramped driving position as the original, and familiar Cooper badging ensures it looks the part.
- 13ERA Mini TurboWith potent engine and sporty modifications, ERA MINI Turbo had all the ingredients for success, but appeal of fastest classic variant was hit by recession and sold in small numbers.