First Drive: The Mini Cooper Clubman

U.S. auto journalists got their first “ride and drive” of the Mini Cooper Clubman at a press launch in Monterey, California today. The Clubman, a stretched-out, three-door variant of the iconic hipster-mobile, the Mini Cooper, features a unique “club door” configuration. Actually, this Mini has five doors if you count the two rear swing-out barn doors, which add to the vehicle’s quirky-yet-practical personality.

Mini offers two engine options. There’s the 120 horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder found in the base Cooper, or the 175 horsepower turbocharged version of the same engine found in the sportier Cooper S. Fuel economy is exactly the same as its smaller cousins, rating 28 city/37 highway for the standard Clubman, and 26 city/34 highway for the turbo-charged model. Consumers now have yet another efficient Mini to consider.

The Clubman is quick, agile, and athletic. Though a little bigger than the Cooper and Cooper S, it drives with the same spirit and sport. It’s ideal for maneuvering in tight spots, as well as darting in and out of traffic with little drama. Inside, the Clubman offers a good bit more cargo room and versatility than the standard size Cooper. It has an overall storage capacity of 33 cubic feet with the split rear seats folded down. Due to its added level of space and comfort, this is probably the Mini to have for tackling long distances. And as far as cabin appearance, the Clubman upholds Mini’s unique blend of new age technology with old world aesthetics.

Creative and cost-efficient, the Clubman received high praise from most auto journalists attending the event. The only shortcoming seems to be a rear seat that is still pretty tight, despite the vehicle’s expanded dimensions. The Clubman starts at a base price of $20,600, and is available at dealer showrooms throughout the country.

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  • domboy

    Now if they’d just bring over the latest European diesel quasi-hybrid Mini… 72Mpg baby!

    Link here

  • Hybrid guy

    What’s with the suicide door!

    And again, what’s up with this site? Why all the focus on diesels and non-hybrid cars? This site used to be so much more informative about hybrids.

  • Editor

    Hybrid Guy – Thanks for the feedback about our coverage of non-hybrids. Recently, we’ve been adding more coverage of small cars, E85, hydrogen, electric vehicles and diesel–because we think it’s important that hybrid owners and shoppers consider the full range of technologies and strategies for increasing fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. High-mpg and the environment were supposed to be the point of hybrids. Not all hybrids fit that bill anymore, and other options besides hybrids could be as productive. So, we will always feature gas-electric vehicles more prominently than the other options, and for some stretches we will focus only on hybrids, but a healthy and open discussion about all the options seems like the right thing to do right now. As always, we’re open to feedback.

  • uktiger

    I appreciate the information on fuel efficient cars. we still don’t know if petrol/electric is going to be the winner…

  • MPguy

    Let’s not close our minds on Hybrids. The ultimate goal for me is to be energy independent. Whatever works! And let’s face it all the recent news is not about hybrid technology. Still waiting for a good safe lithium ion battery application or whatever trumps that.

  • domboy

    I for one appreciate that the editors and news posters are open-minded to the alternatives to hybrids. I don’t think there is going to be a “one-size-fits-all” solution. It’s probably going to be a mix of hybrid, diesel, and whatever else comes along.

  • David

    I’m glad were all here… This site just opened wide-up because of us. We all care about what’s happening to the world, and want to push for the best things that are good for us, and good for the environment.

    Like everyone said, there’s going to be a middle road between the just now starting companies like detroit electric, Zap, and Tesla. They are all going to blow the doors off of this bloated tank of greed, and free us from the hell we’ve created.

    I really want to go out and buy a hybrid, E85, Diesel, electric Thing..But, who cares really as long as it works good, looks good, lasts long, and gets me to where I wana go without polluting the air, and polluting my wallet.

    I believe the most pivotal time will occur when these pioneering companies and big dogs like Toyota collide and “sleep with each other”… 1000’s of sweet sweet car babies should fall from the heavens and la-de-da, all of GM/GW’s cars will be sent to the recycling plant, and a very small few will be heading to the museum.

  • Steve 001

    Don’t forget the other way to save on fuel use: drive less, and car pool. An SUV with 4 people in it gets better people-miles/gallon than one person in a Prius. 4 people riding bikes do even better.


    Agree with editor, hybrid is becoming a “concept” in marketing areas more than a reality, for the time being, new common rail injection engines, both diesel and gas, plus alternatives around increasing power-reducing size alternatives will be common.

    Prepare to see cars with 1.2 L and around 200HP, emission figures for this is quite similar with “hydrids” as Lexus 460. Mercedes Benz, Citroen,Toyota, have this designs in the market already.

  • Missy

    why are all these car companies keeping the diesel away from us? they have no plans to bring the diesel to the US yet it gets 70+ MPG! biodiesel is the way to go!

  • ernie magnelli

    i just put a down payment on a new 2008 clubman did i make a mistake – the net is full of smut on the mini coopers – on problems and poor service

    verry concerned.??

  • mountain rotors

    That is quite a new style from Mini. This Mini Cooper Clubman is definitely larger compare to their small and compact cars. I’m quite sure many consumers are quite anxious to see what’s more good to see on this Clubman. I also hope that I could get a chance to test drive it very soon.