There’s a Mini for “everyone in the audience”. You can start and end your motoring life driving a
Mini with a model for your changing life circumstances. If you buy one early, keep your eye out for
the tentacles that will lock you in. I tested the Mini Clubman – estate to you and me. The Clubman
has a unique twist in that the rear doors open barn like, not up & over like other estates. The main
advantage is you can open them if space at the back is tight, although you do lose overhead
protection from the rain which I found out after a cycle and it was pouring down when I returned to
Doors are a constant theme with the Mini and this revised model now has two on both sides for
added practicality – the previous version only had a single door on the passenger side forcing rear
passengers to get out onto the road instead of the footpath. Practicality as a result is much, much
better. It has grown 270mm longer and 30mmwider, courtesy of an all-new platform, delivering a
360litre boot with a hidden compartment under the boot floor. That new platform also delivers
more overall space making the Mini feel quite, well, Maxi.
Looks are not as divisive as the Countryman being sleeker and low slung. Minis have always been fun
to drive and the Clubman is no different keeping that go-kart, fun to drive feeling. Steering is a
doubly “connected” experience with good feel and electrically assisted.
Idiosyncrasies doesn’t cease with the doors. The individualistic interior is very stylish keeping design
cues dating back to the original – the central, circular, infotainment display for example. The style of
switches and dials are found nowhere else either.
Prices start at €28,278 – premium pricing, premium car. With competitors like the Audi A3 Sportback
and the Mercedes A Class this is not unexpected so use a good calculator for your homework. My
1.5litre diesel car, from a base price of €30,657, rose to €36,929 when added packs and options were
Petrol and diesel versions are available. No electric though except in the Countryman model. Trim
version offerings include Cooper, Cooper S and an All4 version.
If you are the sporty type with kids and a vive la différence tude, you are the one in the audience
that Mini have in mind for this car.