NAFF SUICIDE RIGHT SIDE REAR DOOR HAS GONE
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.
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The naff suicide right side rear door has gone to Mini heaven and has been replaced by conventional doors with rear barn doors.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.
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.
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.