Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • Quirky dashboard looks good
  • High quality throughout
  • Rather stingy standard equipment levels

The Clubman’s dashboard is styled after the MINI Hatch but with a more mature air – it’s wider, with more conventional styling to items such as the air vents, though the large circular surround to the infotainment and the pod-style gauge cluster remain prominent features.

There’s a slight air of style over substance in here, and it’s not as easy to use as the straightforward dashboard of a Volkswagen Golf or Audi A3 – nor the BMW 1 Series with which it shares much of its underlying software features. It is more stylish than either, though.

We like that MINI’s retained a physical controller for its infotainment system. It’s based on BMW’s iDrive, so it’s very easy to get to grips with, and the system also supports touchscreens for a different input if you prefer.

As for the screen itself, we’re pretty disappointed to see MINI’s retained a tiny 6.5-inch screen as the standard. It’s possible to specify a larger unit but we feel for the Clubman’s high price the smaller screen is a rather stingy offering. It’s cramped, tricky to see and looks lost within its vast circular surround.

Equipment levels aren’t the best, and as standard all cars have LED lights all round, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a multifunction steering wheel, navigation, Apple CarPlay (though not Android Auto) and a premium stereo. Conspicuous by their absence are climate and cruise control, which are optional.

Comfort

MINI Clubman comfort levels aren’t the best in this class, as the brand typically prioritises its trademark ‘go-kart’ handling over outright ride comfort. The ride, therefore, is rather firm – especially so on the larger wheels of more upmarket models. The Clubman thuds over bumps and potholes and jitters on poor road surfaces, though its longer wheelbase compared with the Hatch means it’s not quite as bouncy.

The JCW model, with its sports suspension, is worse still. It’s extra-firm compared with the standard car and becomes really tiresome over long journeys.

On the plus side, wide, comfortable seats mean you shouldn’t suffer backache over long trips, and refinement is surprisingly good given the car’s upright windscreen.