CHEEKY BOY

NAFF SUI­CIDE RIGHT SIDE REAR DOOR HAS GONE

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CARS GUIDE - Peter Barn­well Call Triv­ett Clas­sic Mini Garage, Church St, Par­ra­matta on 9841 8880.

WHAT started out in 1969 as a tiny, Bri­tish, util­i­tar­ian van with a small load space and rear barn doors has turned into Mini Club­man, a so­phis­ti­cated small fiveseater pre­mium wagon.

Due to hit deal­ers by the end of the year, the new Club­man should be priced around $35,000-$45,000.

They will have the same pow­er­trains as other Mini mod­els with Cooper run­ning a 1.5-litre turbo, petrol three pot and the S a 2.0litre turbo petrol four.

A diesel may fol­low some­time down the track fol­lowed ul­ti­mately by a JCW ver­sion.

Fuel econ­omy in the ini­tial two model petrol range varies be­tween 5.1 litres/100km to 6.3 model de­pen­dent and it passes Eu 6 emis­sions.

We drove the cheeky-look­ing Club­man last week in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions where it proved handy due to its size, com­fort and fea­tures.

AP­PEAL

ITS at­tributes could win a few hearts among peo­ple look­ing for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent in a small pres­tige wagon.

While the pre­vi­ous Club­man strug­gled for sales trac­tion, the new one should do bet­ter par­tic­u­larly the auto which in the S ver­sion is an eight-speeder.

The man­ual is a six-speed and the auto in the lower spec’ Cooper is also a six-speeder.

The naff sui­cide right side rear door has gone to Mini heaven and has been re­placed by con­ven­tional doors with rear barn doors.

Big­ger than ever in ev­ery di­men­sion, the new Club­man can be shopped against small SUV-style ve­hi­cles by those who es­chew 4WD styling but still want wagon ver­sa­til­ity.

In this re­gard, the new Clubby (there I said it) has plenty to of­fer.

Mini says the car is a five-seater but we reckon that’s a stretch, four adults or two big­gies and three lit­tlies maybe.

FIVE-SEATER?

THE car fea­tures proper strut sus­pen­sion up­front and a mul­ti­link rear with no cheap tor­sion beam.

Ex­te­rior styling fol­lows the ac­cepted, un­mis­take­able Mini look that has been com­pletely re­vised on ver­sion three now fea­tur­ing a re­vised face in­clud­ing grille, bumper and lights, larger doors and a more as­sertive stance.

Of par­tic­u­lar note is the air­craft-style flash­ing red sta­tus light atop the an­tenna in­di­cat­ing an ac­ti­vated alarm.

KIT

THE Cooper S we drove had plenty of kit like sat­nav, mul­ti­ple drive modes (Green, Mid and Sport), funky light­ing, op­tional dy­namic dampers and plenty more. Crash rat­ing will be the same five stars as other Mi­nis.

The driver feel is all good and sporty with plenty of grunt per­co­lat­ing from the 2.0-litre, di­rect in­jec­tion, tur­bocharged four that’s good for a max­i­mum 141kW/300Nm out­put.

Both trans­mis­sions are ex­cel­lent with the eight-speeder prefer­able due to eas­ier city driv­ing and a wider spread of ra­tios to fully har­ness en­gine out­put. It’s just as eco­nom­i­cal and clocks the same 0-100kmh time as the man­ual.

When you go into car set­tings, se­lect­ing “full go kart mode” holds re­wards for spir­ited driv­ing be­cause that’s pre­cisely what the car feels like. This is aided by an elec­tronic dif­fer­en­tial lock for im­proved drive out of corners.

It has a firm con­trolled ride, di­rect steer­ing, strong brakes and plenty of grip thanks in part to the wheel at each cor­ner de­sign and newly-widened track.

Mini Club­man ... new one by the end of the year.

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