4.5 out of 5 4.5
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

A more practical alternative to upmarket hatchbacks

MINI Clubman (15 on) - rated 4.5 out of 5
Enlarge 121 photos

At a glance

New price £23,000 - £37,200
Lease from new From £248 p/m View lease deals
Used price £6,760 - £31,135
Used monthly cost From £169 per month
Fuel Economy 35.8 - 58.9 mpg
Road tax cost £0 - £240
Insurance group 12 - 40 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Sharp, engaging handling is fun
  • Quirky styling, unusual features
  • Compact dimensions a bonus in cities

CONS

  • Rival hatches offer more room
  • Fastest JCW version feels heavy
  • Patriotic touches feel overdone

MINI Clubman rivals

Written by Keith WR Jones on

Estates are seldom as dinky or quirky as the MINI Clubman. From some angles it looks to be little more than a longer version of the five-door MINI Hatch, but the more time you spend drinking in its unusual looks you realise it's also wider and has a much longer roof - making it more practical - as well as having six doors. 

Six? Yes, as a nod to the original 1960s estates based on the first Minis, access to the boot is via a pair of side-hinged doors, each with a tiny windscreen wiper.

In reality, you're unlikely to confuse the Clubman for any other car on the road, yet to drive it feels reassuringly MINI-like.

More practical second time around

In second-generation form, the Clubman's styling sits atop a body that is practical – certainly in MINI terms, at least. Its predecessor was little more than a squared-off MINI Hatch, with very little space in the rear, a cramped boot and only a single rear side door. Called the Clubdoor, it was rear-hinged and could ony be used when the front door was already open. Frustratingly, MINI never re-orientated it for right-hand drive cars, meaning in the UK passengers had to disembark in the road rather than on the kerb.

With longer bodywork and four conventional side doors, the Mk2 Countryman is a far more viable proposition, being easier to live with as well as making better use of the space in the back. Not that it's enormous in the boot with 360 litres of space with all five seats in use - that's 20 litres shy of a more conventional Audi A3 Sportback.

That apart, the only real downside of the rear barn door arrangement is the vertical strip between the glazed panels which interferes with visibility. 

Patriotic refresh in 2019 facelift

With MINI styling successfully translated to a larger car, the Clubman’s appeal lies with buyers who can’t manage with the meagre space on offer in a MINI Hatch, but don't want to go the SUV route into a Countryman.

MINI’s design language of late has been making the most of its heritage. Despite being owned by the German firm BMW, newer MINI models are loaded up with Union flag-inspired detailing. The most striking of these can be found in the Clubman's tail lights introduced as part of the 2019 facelift, which mimic a quarter of the flag in crisp-edged LEDs. There's little doubting that they're a divisive feature with many loving them while others find them naff. For those who fall into the latter camp, there's no option to fit the previous simpler design.

Up front the headlamps have been revised so that the LED day-running lights form a complete, unbroken loop of illumination, doubling as flashing amber indicators.

Also new from the 2019 facelift were rather subtle but stylish Union flag-based alloy wheels designs - we’re big fans of these. What we're less enamoured is the Clubman badge across the bottom of the rear doors - four letters on one, three on the other makes our teeth itch.

Inside there were fewer modifications, the dashboard feeling suitably upmarket and high quality, with a wide array of trim finishes and colours to make it feel a little more you.

Simple MINI Clubman range structure

Currently, the Clubman line-up is the most pared down it's ever been. The diesel-engined Cooper D and Cooper SD are no more, while the All4 four-wheel drive versions have also been discontinued, except for the most expensive Clubman.

Petrol-powered Cooper and Cooper S models now form the core of the range. The former has a 136hp 1.5-litre engine, the latter a 178hp 2.0-litre powerplant. Both are available with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions.

Each is then also available with a choice of three packages: Classic, Sport and Exclusive. Classic is the most basic, yet still features what many consider to be modern essentials, such as air-con, Apple CarPlay, sat-nav and alloy wheels. Sport offers more visual aggression with a bodykit, larger alloy wheels and sports front seats with extra bolstering, while Exclusive versions focus on luxuries such as leather upholstery and extra chrome detailing.

There is, as ever, an enormous range of individual options as well as bundled packs to further personalise your Clubman - think carefully about these as it's easy to end up making your MINI eye-wateringly expensive.

High performance John Cooper Works

Topping the Clubman range is the 306hp John Cooper Works, or JCW for short. It looks suitably pumped-up and has the performance to rival the best hot hatchbacks - 0-62mph taking just 4.9 seconds, for instance.

Automatic transmission and four-wheel drive are standard here to make its pace as accessible as possible, but given its a small - but quick - estate, it's always going to be a leftfield choice.

Direct rivals for the Clubman are all but non-existant. Skoda's Fabia Estate is similar in size, far more practical, but nowhere near as upmarket, leaving the slightly larger Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake as another premium-priced, space-compromised wagon. Alternatively, you're looking at conventional expensive hatchbacks such as the Audi mentioned earlier, as well as BMW's own 1 Series Sports Hatch, the Mercedes A-Class Hatchback and arguably the upcoming DS 4.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the MINI Clubman including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

MINI Clubman rivals