MINI Clubman review
The MINI Clubman is a fun, small estate that's well-built and powered by a great range of engines – but it's not that practical
The MINI Clubman is a niche offering that’s better considered alongside premium hatchbacks than conventional small estates. It is a MINI that can genuinely be used as a proper family car, all the while retaining much of what makes smaller MINI models so great to drive.
Strong engines and an engaging, composed chassis are highlights, while refinement and comfort are impressive. Many will be sold on looks alone; the Clubman is a great car all-round.
About the MINI Clubman
The MINI Clubman on sale today uses a name from the classic Mini archive, and it has plenty of retro design cues, but there are also plenty of modern touches onboard. While the Clubman is essentially an estate version of the standard MINI five-door, it doesn’t offer the same levels of practicality as a traditionally-shaped estate car. Instead, it’s best thought of as a quirkily designed large hatchback, with its unique double rear door arrangement offering improved accessibility and space.
The Clubman received an update in 2019 that added refreshed looks, Union Jack tail lights, and a simplified trim range. The performance JCW model also received the same 302bhp engine used in the BMW M135i.
For the rest of the range, power comes courtesy of two petrol engines. A 1.5-litre three-cylinder features in the Cooper with 134bhp, while a 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit appears in the Cooper S with 176bhp. Front-wheel drive is standard across the range, while the four-wheel drive Clubman ALL4 is no longer available.
Each of these engines can be had in combination with one of three trims – Classic, Sport or Exclusive. These packs largely affect styling and interior trim, along with basic standard equipment. Classic is the entry point with minimal extras and 16 or 17-inch alloys depending on engine, Sport brings some racier styling plus 18-inch alloys, cruise control, parking sensors and sport suspension, while Exclusive cars get lots of leather trim plus cruise control and 18-inch alloys.
In terms of rivals, the MINI Clubman doesn't really have any direct competition. If you want a small estate, then there's not much choice this side of the Skoda Fabia Estate, or larger estate versions of hatchbacks. But all of these cars – including the Fabia – will have far bigger boots. Instead, we'd recommend focusing on the premium quality of the Clubman. In that regard, the Clubman is a retro-styled alternative to hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf, Audi A3 or even the closely related BMW 1 Series.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe MINI Clubman is a fun, small estate that's well-built and powered by a great range of engines – but it's not that practical
- 2Engines, performance and driveDespite its increase in size, the Clubman retains the classic MINI character, with nice steering and impressive body control
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsPunchy performance and efficient engines make the Clubman an ideal family car
- 4Interior, design and technologyUnique inside and out, the Clubman still offers something different to the norm
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceBigger boot and more passenger space than before, but rivals are still more practical
- 6Reliability and SafetyFour star Euro NCAP score lags behind best in class, but MINI owners report decent reliability