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For 2011, Mini is offering its John Cooper Works package on the Clubman, the slightly longer version of the Mini Cooper hatchback. This package adds 27 horsepower and a dynamic traction control feature.
Back to review.
The Mini Clubman retains the looks of the Cooper hatchback in front, but gets a rear half door on the passenger side and hospital doors in back.
A slightly bigger turbo and a different engine program gives the John Cooper Works Clubman extra horsepower, but it still gets very good fuel economy.
The Clubman looks substantially longer than the Cooper hatchback, but there is not all that much more room inside. It is easier to get in the rear seats.
The graphics package included on CNET's test car is one of many that can be added.
All Minis have good handling characteristics, but the John Cooper Works Clubman pushes it further, handling tight corners at high speed.
The rear hospital doors open out to either side, making it easier to get to the cargo area in smaller garages.
The John Cooper Works Clubman deserves its place as a premium small car due to the quality materials in the cabin.
Mini uses a well-tuned electric power steering unit for boost, which doesn't interfere with road feel.
The tachometer sits in a pod on the steering column.
With the Mini Connected and navigation options, a 6.5-inch color screen gets inset into the speedometer.
The base transmission is a six-speed manual, which shifts very smoothly.
The Sport button remaps the throttle for more aggressive behavior.
This knob sits behind the shifter, and controls everything on the car's LCD.
Mini Connected, which adds this LCD, is a $1,000 option. Getting navigation costs an extra $750.
The maps show in perspective and 2D views, but the color scheme is ugly.
The navigation system includes traffic.
Selecting music from a connected iPod is made difficult by this interface.
The Mini Connected app adds features such as Twitter, Google Search, and Web radio to the infotainment system.
Entering a search term through the Google feature returns a list of local businesses, which can be pushed to the navigation system.
This feature encourages economical driving, using a goldfish bowl graphic to show when you are braking or accelerating hard.
The home screen for the Mini Connected app is useful when it isn't connected to the car, as it shows how much gas you have.
The Mini Connected app also lets you look up addresses on Google and send them to the car.