If you’re looking for information on a newer Mini Cooper Clubman, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Mini Clubman Review
Forget everything you already know about the Mini Cooper Clubman: the flat-roof exterior styling, the clam-shell doors for back-seat entry and exit, the oddball styling. It’s all gone for 2016, replaced by a new model that’s surprisingly, well, normal. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Admittedly, the 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman keeps one important characteristic of the outgoing model: its unique split cargo area doors, which are a love-it-or-hate-it feature that defines the compact hatchback. Otherwise, the model has completely adapted to the new Mini design philosophy, offering more traditional styling and normal rear passenger doors that are hinged in the front instead of the back.
How does it all come together? Pretty well, actually. While we’ll miss the iconic look of last year’s model, we appreciate the practicality of the latest Clubman, which is a lot more than just a regular 4-door Mini with trick doors in back. Instead, the Clubman is bigger and more practical than the regular model, but it still retains the classic Mini look, the unusual interior and, most importantly, the highly exciting driving experience.
What’s New for 2016?
The Clubman is fully redesigned in 2016, offering a look that finally comes into lockstep with standard Mini Cooper models. See the 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman models for sale near you
What We Like
Impressive practicality; strong fuel economy; enjoyable driving experience; potent engines
What We Don’t
Limited rear visibility; upscale models can get seriously expensive; distinctive design is gone
For 2016, the Clubman offers two engines. Base models use a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 134 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque, which can be mated to a 6-speed manual (standard) or a 6-speed automatic (optional) transmission. Fuel economy is 25 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway with the stick shift or 25 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the automatic.
Drivers who want more power can upgrade to the Cooper S Clubman, which boasts a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that’s good for 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. Also optional with two or three pedals, the Cooper S Clubman’s automatic offers 8 speeds instead of 6. Fuel economy is 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy with the standard stick shift or 24 mpg city/34 mpg hwy with the automatic.
Although the high-performance John Cooper Works model is currently on hiatus, we expect to see it back soon with a muscular 228 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque.
Standard Features & Options
The Clubman is offered in two trims: a base-level version called simple the Cooper Clubman (or just the Clubman) and a sporty model dubbed the Cooper S Clubman (or, sometimes, the Clubman S). But that doesn’t tell the whole story, as both trims have a seemingly unending list of options, extras and customizable features.
Base-level Cooper models ($25,000) come standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.5-in center display screen with the Mini Connected infotainment system, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, cruise control, smartphone app integration, a USB player for music, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leatherette upholstery.
The sporty Cooper S ($28,600) adds the more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, along with larger 17-in wheels, sport seats and fog lights.
As we mentioned, options are plentiful. In addition to a multitude of personalization options for wheel designs, color schemes and interior trim, the Clubman offers keyless access with push-button starting, LED headlights, a backup camera, heated front seats, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon stereo system, a larger 8-in display screen, a navigation system, parking sensors, full leather upholstery, a sport steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and even an automated parallel parking system. Like we said, it’s a long list.
The 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman comes standard with front-side airbags, side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability and traction control. Optional safety features include rear parking sensors, a self-parking system, a backup camera, and forward-collision warning with automatic braking. The latest Mini doesn’t offer some common modern safety features like lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert or a blind spot monitoring system.
As of January 2016, the Clubman has not yet been crash tested by the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Standard MINI Cooper models received 4 stars out of 5 from NHTSA, though they have not been fully tested by IIHS either.
Behind the Wheel
If you’ve spent any time behind the wheel of a Mini Cooper, you’ll expect the Clubman to offer a lot of driving enjoyment — and it certainly delivers. Its larger size does nothing to dull its handling and steering, which is excellent in virtually all forms. While acceleration is lackluster in base models, the Cooper S Clubman has some serious pop.
More importantly, the Clubman offers some practicality to go along with its performance. In back, the Clubman touts 2.5 more inches of legroom than in a standard Cooper model, which is no small feat. In the cargo area, there’s 3.5 cubic feet — a grand total of 47.9 cubic feet with the seats folded down. If you’re buying your Mini for practical purposes, the Clubman is the one to get.
Unfortunately, it still offers one drawback: those back doors. We love how they look and how they open, but there’s no doubt they diminish the hatchback’s rear visibility. If you haven’t spent much time in a Clubman before, you’ll have to test this out in order to determine whether you can live with this feature or not.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 FIAT 500 Abarth — If you’re after performance more than practicality, consider the diminutive 500 Abarth. It loses all the Clubman’s space but touts a more engaging driving experience.
2016 Mini Cooper — Of course, if you’re interested in the Clubman, you’ll probably want to consider the standard Mini too. Styling is more generic and there isn’t as much room, but prices start around $2,500 cheaper than the Clubman’s base figures.
Used BMW X3 — It may seem like a strange suggestion, but the X3 offers more practicality than the Clubman, a similarly luxurious interior, and surprisingly good performance. Prices are higher, though, so you may have to consider a used model.
We’d go with the Cooper S Clubman — at least until the even sportier John Cooper Works model rejoins the lineup. And while we’d add a few options and extras, we’d try to stay below the $30,000 mark — OK, maybe $32,000. Any more than that and it becomes a lot of money for a hatchback — no matter how nice it is to drive. Find a Mini Cooper Clubman for sale