The 2016 Mini Clubman has enough room for your life
This is the new Mini Clubman.
It's the Mini for people who like Minis but need something a little more grown up, something with space that looks a bit sharper to reflect who they are and what they do now.
It's like a [UNKNOWN] Mini, but not quite as in your face.
Growing up is something I've been thinking a lot about recently.
At what point do you stop pretending to be a grown-up and actually become one?
When do you stop thinking about cartoons and what have you and start thinking seriously.
About things like the future.
You'll never enjoy sorting your taxes and bills and what have you.
You'll never want to look at pensions schemes and getting clever with your money.
But, you will have to.
There comes a point where spending a night throwing cheap booze down your neck gives way to getting an early evening.
[INAUDIBLE] And trying out a new recipe you found online.
You start thinking about having a bigger life.
A family, a home, all that kind of stuff.
And you wonder whether you spent too much time doing things cuz they're fun rather than doing things because you should.
My mild existential crisis does have a point, fear not.
The vanilla mini is a wonderful car, it's small, ace to look at, and good fun.
But doesn't exactly scream I'm a grownup nor does it have much space.
So when you need to make some room for say miniature humans It'll have to go.
Before, if you wanted big space from a Mini, you had to go for a Countryman.
And that was, well, a little challenging for some.
Or you could try a last generation Clubman, which was great, but it wasn't especially good in the UK cuz we already had the barn door and the big boost in the back.
The club door on the side, to give access for rear passengers, opened directly into traffic.
So not ideal for letting your kids out as they're getting into school.
But both of them, some got mini and mini ownership perfectly.
They were cool, they were funky, they were good to drive and good to look at, but they weren't very grown up.
Something this, the new Clubman, hopes to remedy.
It has four proper doors down the side and two at the rear to access it's rather impressive boot space.
You do need some space behind you to open them though.
But still, it's a neat design touch that makes it stand out.
There is a downside.
To all those doors though.
It's massive, over 14 feet long, which makes it, I think, one of the biggest cards ever made.
No, actually one of the biggest things the planet has ever seen as this handy graph will now demonstrate.
[SOUND] However, all that extra space and length means you can fit an enormous amount To prep in the back and the two rows at the back, the [UNKNOWN] give you access to the [UNKNOWN] open on the cane, which is very cool.
But it does come with a couple of downsides.
One, they have to be opened and closed in a specific order, which can catch your hand occasionally.
And two, they add even more length to the car, so you need to park Quite far forward to be able to open them.
So whatever you do, don't reverse it into a space.
It's no great shakes, but something to bear in mind.
Speaking of the inside, it's like seeing a parent in their workgear, familiar yet different.
All the details are here.
But they're a bit less Mini-ish and more BMW.
Personally I miss the Henson switch gear which mimics the Mini wings but I can see why some wouldn't mind their absent.
Looks and size and what have you aside, this is the Mini Clubman Cooper S. It's got a two liter, four cylinder, turbocharged engine, with 189 brake horsepower and over 200 pound/foot of torque.
0 to 62 takes 7.2 seconds, and its top speed is over 140 miles an hour.
Now, yes, I've said it's a bit bigger than a hatch, but it's also supposed to be that little bit more grown up.
So, the question is, is it?
Drive wise, it does feel like A bona-fide Mini, which means it's quite fun.
It's quite peppy.
It steers really nicely.
You do know where the wheels are, and the wheels are, as they are on every Mini, at each corner.
So you can feel where it is on the road.
You do feel its extra length.
You really do, and you do have to kind of retune yourself from a normal Mini.
You just kind of switch it any way you want to, and no other car's gonna get you in the gap.
With this, you can't do that, you have to really get to know the car So you have to look extra long, extra hard just to make sure that you're not gonna clip anything or anyone.
Like changing lanes or anything like that.
[UNKNOWN] sped over the color pallets of this as well.
So you can have the bright colors, like you can have on the hatch.
And also more somber ones like this, the burgundy that you see in [UNKNOWN].
Personally, I quite like to see the bright color.
I think the grey makes it look like a giant chunk of granite.
Total response is, again it's a little big sluggish from time to time but once you get used to it it's pretty good.
The brakes on this Cooper S do feel pretty solid.
They stop the car when you need them to.
Now this has a new eight speed gearbox Some people really like it, personally I'm not getting [UNKNOWN] all that much.
And I don't know why, I can't quite put my finger on it.
Cuz sometimes, it's brilliant, and sometimes it's just a little bit slow, a little bit sluggish.
And you want it to choose from one of it's many ratios and just stick to it.
Now this being a Cooper S, it is the quick one, for now, until the inevitable John Cooper Works comes out with many, many horsepower.
And it can feel quite brisk.
You can see the speed [INAUDIBLE] gathering numbers.
But inside, it's not that exciting, you don't feel that pushback.
And that's a little bit annoying.
I tried to [UNKNOWN] d a while ago, and that did feel just a little bit peppy.
I think it's the [UNKNOWN].
This is it's a wonderful linear power train even with its turbo there's no turbo lag or anything like that.
But you just don't get an enormous sensation of speed.
You can fling it into corners and it's good fun at, so quite interesting speeds if you're feeling brave but, it just doesn't excite you as say, a normal hatch, coupe, or s would, or even the coupe works, but the coupe works sole job is pretty much to be exciting.
The interior is great and it does feel more grown up than a traditional mini of this kind of generation.
But I just, I miss the fun, I miss the fun of it.
The outside can be Be more businesslike.
That's cool but I miss the wingness of it all, the way it used to echo, the mini wings.
I love that.
And it's kind of a shame that it's not really here anymore.
At least, not as obviously.
There's also a problem with rear visibility.
Because it's got that barn door thing, which is Awesome.
I really like it despite the fact they added an extra million seats in the back of the car and you can't reverse it into a bay and go shopping.
It it great, but in order to make it, I don't know, crush-proof I imagine, there's a big center bar down the middle.
[INAUDIBLE] you get two tiny little letter boxes to look there and the wipers can only be so big, so when it's raining in [BLANK] you just get tiny little bits on either side of the windscreen at the rear and that's about it.
In the dark.
It does feel like a Mini.
There's definite Mininess in it, but it is growing up.
Because of the turn of the century, when Mini was launched it was the fun drive from BMW.
Everything was all circles, and peppiness, and loveliness really.
It was an exciting little car.
It was a gateway car into BMWs.
Mini wants to do that job as well.
When you trade in your hatch, you can also get an SUV [UNKNOWN] or you can get a family estate.
It wants to be seen as something that's still fun, that still has that edge of, sod it, let's go out for a Sunday morning drive and drive like a lunatic.
But also, if you want to take it to a meeting When you want to take it to see the [UNKNOWN] or your mother, you don't have to go all [UNKNOWN] [UNKNOWN] [UNKNOWN].
It's more sensible.
People can change, they can change their look, they can change their outlook on the world.
But deep down you're always going to have that flair of fun, that little flicker of who you once were, that kid you used to be.
That wants to do everything and go out on a drinking binge on weekend.
That's kind of what this is.
So it feels like a bigger, slightly less perky Mini.
That's not a huge surprise.
It's longer, wider, and all that.
But it's still quite fun.
But why has Mini made the Clubman, and why can I hear a few people going, Ooh, It's not a Mini anymore, is it?
Why the Clubman?
That's actually pretty easy.
You see, there were people who years ago wore too many hats and absolutely loved it.
It fitted in their life perfectly.
But as time's gone on, they've needed something bigger to put said life in.
Now currently you can get a Countryman, not for everybody, or the five door hatch, which might be A little bit too small, so this still has the driving dynamics, but it's a bit bigger and bit more grown up.
And it keeps people in the Mini ecosystem, which of course, Mini wants.
The Mini not being small thing, I'm kind of sick of making this point, but here it goes.
Again, For some people the Mini is a cool brand based around a car that their parents and grandparents drove.
For them it's not a cheap, easy microcar, but it's an aspirational car, a step above what else is on the market.
The Clubman might seem like a large step for Mini, but when you think about the logical progression of things, it makes sense It's the car you buy when you want something with the charm of a hatch, but it's a little bit more business like.
It's a grown up car for grown ups who still wanna play a little bit.