Mini Clubman (2015-present)

With bug-eyed headlights, double boot doors and a retro interior, the Mini Clubman is a family car with character

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

More character than most family hatchbacks
Sporty to drive
Economical petrol engines

Weaknesses 

Bumpy ride on uneven roads
Restricted rear visibility
Limited choice of engines

Mini’s not known for dull design and its Clubman is pitched at families who want some character from their car.

Remove the badges from a Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra or Seat Leon, and you might be hard-pushed to identify them.

That’s never going to be a problem with the Clubman, thanks to the bug-eyed headights, downturned grille and the two outward-opening boot doors at the back. Some love it, some hate it, but there’s no mistaking it.

The Clubman’s distinctiveness doesn’t stop there: the interior continues with retro Mini trademarks, including the large circular display in the middle of the dashboard and chrome toggle switches. It might not have the high-tech feel of the latest Mercedes A-Class or the precise quality of the Audi A3, but it’s got charm.

It’s so similar to the standard Mini Hatchback that anyone upgrading to the car might feel short-changed. The Clubman is a proper family car, though. The design disguises an extra 73mm in width and almost half a metre in length over the Hatchback.

There’s no mistaking the extra space inside. It’s a a car fit to carry five adults, with a 360-litre boot that matches the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf that’s just big enough for a couple of suitcases or a bulky buggy but some way off the 590 litres in a Skoda Octavia. There are two rear passenger doors, unlike the impractical single door in the previous-generation Clubman.

The double boot doors open sideways, so you don’t need to reach up to close them. You’ll need to park a reasonable distance away from walls to avoid clonking the paintwork, for example. They can be opened in turn by pressing a button on the keyfob but the button is far too easily pressed in a pocket or handbag. Owners quickly learn to hold the fob gently until out of range to avoid returning to their car with the boot doors wide open

Flick the Clubman’s gimmicky glowing start button and you’ll find plenty more character. It’s one of the sportier family cars that you can buy, with sharp, responsive steering which only requires a small twist to send the car into a different direction. Combined with excellent stability (it’s rarely bumped off course by potholes and doesn’t lean much in corners), the Clubman is nimble and fun to drive.

The petrol engines are well-suited to the car and economical - even the least-powerful Cooper model zips along when revved, with a barking note from the exhaust.

The downside to the car’s sportiness is a bumpy ride over uneven roads, which is most noticeable in the back. The Ford Focus and BMW 1 Series offer a better combination of comfort and sportiness. Alternatively, pick the Mercedes A-Class, Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf or Hyundai i30 if a smooth ride is most important.

For a car that’s in demand, even the basic Mini Clubman Cooper comes well-equipped with sat-nav, air conditioning, Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting your phone and mood lighting as standard. As ever, Mini sells equipment packs to upgrade the car with brighter LED headlights, part-leather seats, parking sensors and larger alloy wheels.

Early Clubmans came with three sets of Isofix mounts as standard, with a pair in the back and one in the front for securely mounting child seats. The front seat mount is optional in more recent models. A four star (out of five) safety rating from the independent Euro NCAP organisation

If you’re sold on the Mini’s character, then it’s probably the family car for you. In fact, the toughest competition on this front probably comes from the Mini Countryman crossover, which combines the Clubman’s mechanical parts with a higher driving position, offering some of the sportiness with extra practicality.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 - 13:15

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / unlimited mileage
Boot size: 
360 litres
Width: 
1800mm
Length: 
4253mm
Height: 
1414mm
Tax: 
£145 to £830 in first year, £140 thereafter

Mini Clubman Reliability and warranty 

Mini owners rate the brand’s reliability. It’s ranked as the tenth best manufacturer out of 26 in this year’s Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. The most common problems tended to be less critical, such as paintwork and interior trim issues.

The three-year warranty is only average in length, but there’s no mileage limit, so there’s no risk of your coverage being cut short if you regularly cover long-distances.

Used Mini Clubman 

Finding your ideal Clubman can take a bit of work because the car’s specification isn’t badged clearly as with other cars. For example, an entry-level Clubman One D with added equipment packs could be more luxurious than the more expensive Cooper S.

Even without any added extras, the petrol-powered Mini Cooper is an excellent choice, with reasonably rapid acceleration and a good standard specification, including sat-nav and mood lighting (but no parking sensors). Prices for these cars have dropped below £15,000 for a 2016 model, with representative finance quotes from around £235.

Given the limited rear visibility, parking sensors are useful, so it’s worth looking for a car that has them fitted as an optional extra. This includes models that have been upgraded with the popular Chili Pack, which includes part-leather seats that are heated in the front, climate control, larger alloy wheels and brighter headlights, which give the car a more upmarket touch.

As a result, cars fitted typically sell for £1,000 or more than one without, so you will need to budget more if that’s what you’re looking for.

The automatic gearbox was a popular choice for new Mini Clubman buyers and so there’s an excellent choice of these models on the used car market. Few buyers opted for the four-wheel drive ALL4 version, though, so it may be more difficult to find one in your perfect specification.

Special edition Black Pack cars aren’t worth paying more for, as the differences are mainly cosmetic, with black alloy wheels, black bonnet stripes and glossy black piano sections inside. These are all options on the rest of the range, so aren’t exclusive to the car.