2016 MINI Cooper Clubman Car Review

The second-generation MINI Clubman looks like nothing else… except maybe another MINI. Fun fact, this is a called a Monroney, typically known as the window sticker. It’s named after U.S. Senator Mike Monroney from Oklahoma who championed the standardization of information on new cars. You can find out where the parts are from, where the car was built, safety information, fuel economy (which always seems to be optimistic), and of course the price. Here is the base…. and the as-tested price. Making Clubman a bit spendy. 35 grand? Fully optioned S models can rise to over 41. Those who like the compact size and bulldog design could nix the Chesterfield leather chairs at $1,700, or the $5,250 fully loaded package that includes the big glass roof and audiophile sound but… it’s all so appealing. Clubman’s unique premium vibe is completely different than the BMW X1 (the two share a chassis architecture). Let’s start with the end. There’s hand’s free convenience… Just make sure you have quick reflexes. The split doors are unique… and you’ll be reminded of them constantly. Want adorable? There ya go. X1 can only be had with all-wheel drive in the US, Clubman has a model with it. My tester is a front driver. Scoot is decent with a 0-60 time of about 8 and half seconds. For more power upgrade to the S model’s 189 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. I am behind the wheel of the 1.5-liter 3-cylinder engine. Also turbocharged, it pumps out 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque I like a start up with character You’ll play with the driving modes just to watch the display go through its various graphics. I know I did. Both the manual and this optional automatic have six-speeds in the standard Clubman, there are eight in the S’s automatic. MINI claims go-kart handling, no argument here. Perfect for urban skirmishes, very maneuverable Even on this fairly rough road, Clubman is pretty quiet. You don’t have to yell to passengers. Also, the balance between comfort and sport is very nicely done. Two notches in the premium column. The glass is on the narrow side but visibility is not bad. The transmission always seems to be in the right gear unless you’re in Eco mode where The 3-cylinder is not quite as fuel efficient as the 4-cylinders in Volkswagen Golf and Mazda3 and MINI prefers premium gas. days. This might be the largest car the brand makes but it’s still, what, a foot shorter than say a Mazda3. Not exactly huge. Personality is big in the cabin though. Automakers cut costs by reusing buttons and hardware. MINI’s pieces are distinct right down to the pattern on storage cubbie liners. Even the warning chimes are unique. That stuff costs money. There are plenty of places to stash things, I don’t remember seeing visors like this in other cars, and of course the switchgear is pure MINI. The graphics are different, but BMWs iDrive user interface is lurking in here, I’m a fan of the handwriting input. There are belts for three back here. Keep it to two average adults and they shouldn’t complain too much. I mean it’s not Impala like room back here but what do you expect from a brand called MINI. My big gripe is the lack of a center arm rest. About the back doors, they need to be opened in a certain order and closed in a certain order. Four packs of the two-ply are good to go with all seats up, loading to either side could be problematic in tight parallel parking situations. There’s space to hide laptops under the load floor and the elastic band is great for holding milk or other things that roll around. Since the car is small it’s easy to drop the seats. Doing that creates a decent sized space which opens up enough room an easy dozen packs of TP, though I’m guessing most will load a bike or something. The distinct MINI look, and these, makes it hard to directly compare Clubman to other vehicles, even with Senator Monroney’s attempt at standardization. Take away the spendy options and its personality still shines through. The squared-off chunky Clubman is a small practical package that doesn’t fit into anyone’s box. There are other things a buyer can do to drop the price of a MINI. This particular paint, Pure Burgundy- not Ron Burgundy is a $500 option. And going with the manual transmission keeps $1,500 in your checking account. However, part of the MINI experience in customizing the car with all sorts of details including stripes and such. So if you plan on looking at one of these and believe in your heart of hearts that you have the willpower to stay away from those tempting extras, you’re a stronger buyer than most. There ya go. That is my opinion of 2016- got that information off the Monroney- MINI Clubman.