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

If you're familiar with MINIs then the Clubman’s dashboard has a reassuring vibe to it. If you're new to the brand, then it can feel a touch overdone, perhaps too playful.

Styling-wise, it's similar to that in the MINI Hatch, but with a more mature air. It’s wider, with more conventional shaping to items such as the air vents, though the large circular surround to the infotainment and the pod-style gauge cluster remain prominent features.

2019 MINI Clubman dashboard

It's easy to be cynical, though, and assume that style has triumphed over substance - it simply isn't as easy to use or as intuitive as the Audi A3 Sportback or the BMW 1 Series with which it shares much of its underlying software features. There's no denying the MINI has character and once you've learned where all of the controls lurk, it's unlikely to cause you much grief. Some cars feel special because they're simply different and the Clubman is very much in that mould.

More pragmatically, 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 - offering a choice of both is a sensible step.

2019 MINI Clubman interior door panel detail

As for the screen itself, we’re disappointed to see MINI’s retained a tiny 6.5-inch screen as the standard. It’s possible to specify a larger 8.8-inch unit but we feel for the Clubman’s high price the smaller screen is a rather stingy offering. It’s small, tricky to see when driving at speed and looks lost within its vast circular surround.

Equipment levels aren’t the most generous either, but all Clubmans do feature 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.

Not as comfy as rivals

  • Standard ride is on the firm side
  • Adaptive suspension optional
  • Not much room to stretch out in

MINI traditionally champions its trademark 'go-kart' handling over outright ride comfort and in this regard the Clubman is true to form. It's firm, but not harsh, unless you specify a larger diameter of alloy wheels without also going the whole hog and ticking the option box for adaptive suspension, too.

2019 MINI Clubman JCW front seats

Disappointingly, on its standard springs, the Clubman thuds over bumps and potholes, and jitters on poor road surfaces. It can prove tiresome after a while, although its longer wheelbase compared with the MINI Hatch means it’s nowhere near as bouncy.

No surprises for guessing that the Clubman JCW is, with its sports suspension and larger wheels. It’s extra-firm compared with the standard car and becomes really irksome over long journeys.

On the plus side, wide, comfortable seats up front mean you shouldn’t suffer backache over long trips, and refinement is surprisingly good given the car’s upright windscreen - it creates little additional wind noise. Just a shame that despite the extra length over its smaller siblings there's still not a huge amount of room to stretch out in.

Red 2019 MINI Clubman front three-quarter driving