MINI Cooper Clubman Review
A bigger Mini may sound like sacrilege to some enthusiasts, but the Mini Cooper Clubman succeeds in offering more passenger and cargo room while keeping the looks and dynamic personality of its smaller sibling. This elongated Cooper is a spiritual revival of the 1960s Morris Mini Traveller, a station wagon version of the original Mini with double swing-out rear doors. Although the concept version that first appeared at the 2005 Frankfurt Auto Show initially bore the Traveller name, the production version was named the Clubman after another Mini model produced throughout the late '60s and '70s.
The "earlier" modern-day Clubman was a four-seat, three-door hatchback that measured about 10 inches longer than the standard Cooper. It featured a small, passenger-side third door to allow easier backseat access. Inside, it provided 2.5 inches more rear legroom and 3.5 more cubic feet of cargo space than its smaller sibling. The "later" modern-day Clubman is larger still, with four full-size doors and five seats. Within the current trio of four-door Mini models, it measures 10 inches longer than the four-door Hardtop and just 1.5 inches less from nose to tail than the Countryman crossover.
Note that Mini has in recent years juggled its naming convention, essentially using the body style as the model and Cooper, Cooper S, etc., as trim levels. For example, the former Mini Cooper S Clubman morphed into the Mini Clubman Cooper S. That said, most people tend to still use the older naming style.
Current Mini Clubman
The current Mini Clubman is available in three main trim levels: base Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works (JCW). Even the base Cooper comes well-equipped, with such standard features as selectable drive modes, automatic climate control and smartphone app integration. The S adds a more powerful engine, larger wheels and front sport seats, while the John Cooper Works features an even more potent engine, a sport-tuned suspension and an aerodynamic body kit. Among the dizzying array of options are keyless entry and ignition, a panoramic sunroof and heated seats.
A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with 134 horsepower powers the base Cooper. The S version has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 189 hp. The John Cooper Works features a more powerful version of the S engine, cranking out 228 hp. All except the JCW send their power to the front wheels through a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic or an eight-speed automatic transmission, depending on trim level. All-wheel drive (called All4) is standard on the JCW edition and optional on the others. Zero-to-60 time estimates range from around 9.0 seconds for a base Cooper All4 to about 6.0 seconds for a JCW.
In reviews, Edmunds editors liked the Clubman's athletic handling, spirited performance and entertaining driving personality, all of which make it one of the most enjoyable small family shuttles around. With its longer wheelbase, the Clubman delivers a smoother ride than the shorter Minis, though it is still on the firm side, especially on the sportier versions with their bigger wheels. That extended wheelbase also translates into respectable legroom for rear passengers, and even taller folks will find headroom acceptable. Access to the cargo area is eased by the dual swing-out rear doors, and cargo capacity is generous even with the rear seats up.
Used Mini Cooper Clubman Models
The current, second-generation Clubman — the larger one with four real doors and five-passenger capability &mdash: debuted for 2016. A leap forward in refinement, ride comfort and rear passenger space is readily apparent compared to the previous, smaller Clubman. Apart from lacking the availability of all-wheel drive and the John Cooper Works edition, that first-year version is otherwise similar to the current version detailed above.
Mini introduced the first-generation Mini Cooper Clubman of the modern era for 2008. It is closely related to the second-generation Mini Cooper. Nearly a foot longer than the standard Mini Cooper and with an added small and reverse-hinged door on the passenger side, the Clubman was more accommodating to rear seat passengers. Trim levels and powertrains mirrored its sibling: Initially there was a base Cooper with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 118 hp and the Cooper S with a turbocharged 1.6-liter producing 172 hp. Power went to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic transmission.
The following year brought the debut of the hot rod John Cooper Works (JCW) edition, which squeezed even more power out of the turbocharged 1.6, for a total of 208 hp running through a six-speed manual transmission. Upgraded brakes and a stiffer suspension with 17-inch wheels were also part of the JCW deal.
Apart from minor changes in standard and optional features, changes that followed included a bump in engine outputs for 2011. Specifically, the base engine rose to 121 hp, with the engine in the S increasing to 181 hp. There also was a minor styling update. Two years later, you could get the JCW edition with a six-speed automatic transmission as well as the manual gearbox. Notably, there was no 2015 Mini Cooper Clubman.
In reviews, our editors' overall driving impressions were similar to those of the smaller Mini Cooper. In other words, these Clubman models, with their sharp steering, agile handling and eager engines, boasted a sprightly, athletic demeanor whether traversing a crowded city or unwinding a curvy canyon road. The ride on these earlier versions was notably stiffer than those of the second generation, and the interior quality also wasn't as refined. That said, a more enjoyable small runabout with decent practicality would be hard to find.
Read the most recent 2016 MINI Cooper Clubman review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used MINI Cooper Clubman page.
For more on past MINI Cooper Clubman models, view our MINI Cooper Clubman history page.