Mini Clubman review: Facebook, Twitter on the road

With its Mini Connected smartphone app, the new Mini Cooper Clubman integrates Twitter, Facebook, and Google search. At the same time, the car preserves its fun driving character.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET
2011 Mini Cooper Clubman John Cooper Works
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Although pricey for a Mini, the Cooper Clubman with the John Cooper Works package is an incredibly fun little car, delivering the kind of tight handling for which Mini has become known. Only dedicated Mini racers are going to appreciate the 27 horsepower the John Cooper Works version has over the S model.

Testing this Mini on our favorite mountain roads, it took turns at surprising speed, but there were limits. The not-so-wide tires began to skitter on the pavement at the edge of grip, and braking at speed required a bit of steering-wheel jostling to keep the car in line.

Beyond the Mini handling characteristics we know and love, our test car came with the Mini Connected option. That meant an iPhone app which brought Google search, Twitter, and Facebook into the car. Using the car's LCD and controls, we could post inane, templated tweets, such as "It's 82 degrees out and I'm driving my MINI."

The Mini Connected app also added dynamic music and Web radio features, along with smooth Pandora integration. This app feature is a big jump forward in Mini tech.

Read our review of the 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman John Cooper Works.

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