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2019 Mini Clubman Review

If you used the term "funky" to describe the 2019 Mini Clubman, it wouldn’t be the first time it’s been employed when parsing a Mini model. As a brand, Mini was bred to tease the imagination and inspire creativity by tailoring its cars to personal tastes. Mini ensures owners have the option of just about any doodad or cosmetic geegaw their hearts desire. It’s a lifestyle thing, after all. But don’t let its whimsy fool you. It is a well-engineered driving machine.

Even the base turbo engine can bring a smile to a driver properly coaxing it through a few corners. The top power maker in the Clubman John Cooper Works is a 228-horsepower turbo mill that will absolutely thrill anyone able to pony up the money to own one. But that’s the rub. These are pricey small cars. If you equate value with square footage, you will be disappointed with the Clubman. There’s lots to love about the 2019 Mini Clubman, but its price tag isn’t one of them.

What’s New for 2019?

As with other Mini models, the Clubman sports a new logo. All Clubman models now also have the capability for the Mini Telematics/Mini Connected Services with vehicle diagnostics, remote lock/unlock, SOS request, stolen-vehicle recovery, concierge service and real-time traffic information. See the 2019 Mini Clubman models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Distinctive style inside and out
  • Highly customizable
  • Premium cabin
  • Fun to drive
  • Efficient engines
  • Practical for a Mini
  • Available all-wheel drive

What We Don’t

  • Expensive for a car its size
  • Compromised rear visibility
  • Slow with base engine
  • Limited availability of safety tech

How Much?

$25,750-$35,900

Fuel Economy

The base Cooper model uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder that makes 134 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is 24 miles per gallon in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined with the standard 6-speed manual, and essentially the same with the no-extra-charge optional 6-speed automatic. Optional ALL4 all-wheel drive lowers those figures to 22 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined with the manual and 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined 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. Fuel economy is 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with the standard 6-speed manual and is better with the optional 8-speed automatic, coming in at 23 mpg city/32 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined. ALL4 lowers those figures to 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined and 22 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined, respectively.

The high-performance John Cooper Works has a version of the same 2.0-liter turbo-4 upgraded to produce 228 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with ALL4 and returns 21 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with the 6-speed manual and 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined with the optional 8-speed automatic.

Standard Features & Options

There are three grades of the 2019 Mini Clubman available: Classic, Signature and Iconic. Each can be equipped with any of the three available engines. Mini still considers those engine designations (Cooper, Cooper S and Cooper Works) as the model identifiers, but now there are trim levels within each, arranging what were once popular stand-alone options or packages into trim groups. Often, there are no-cost options involved with each trim, but we simply couldn’t include them all.

Opting for ALL4 on Cooper and Cooper S models adds $2,000 to the bottom line. We arranged prices by engine model. The list of standard features is for the entry-level Classic trim, which is the same from engine model to engine model. The cost of upgrading to the Signature or Iconic trims are also the same no matter the engine model. Prices include the $850 factory delivery charge.

The Cooper Classic ($25,750) with its 1.5-liter turbocharged engine has 16-in alloy wheels, run-flat tires, automatic headlamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, SensaTec vinyl seating, air conditioning, roof rails, rear parking sensors, a backup camera, heated outboard mirrors, push-button start, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio capability and a USB port.

Cooper S Classic ($29,750) has a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

John Cooper Works Classic ($36,750) has a high-output 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.

The Signature ($4,000) builds on the Classic trim, adding the 8-speed automatic transmission (or no-charge 6-speed manual), 17-in wheels, remote keyless entry, a panoramic moonroof, heated front seats, automatic climate control, Mini Connected Media System with a 6.5-in touchscreen, and Active Driving Assistant with adaptive cruise control, speed-limit information, automatic high beams and frontal-crash warning.

To the Signature trim, Iconic ($10,000) adds 18-in alloy wheels, power folding outboard mirrors, Comfort Access keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview and outboard mirrors, power front sport seats, LED headlights with cornering lights, a Harman Kardon Premium Sound System, Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, the 8.8-in Touchscreen Navigation Package, and leather seating.

Options are still in abundance. Many are available as either stand-alone options or within packages. Some packages standard on the Iconic trim are option packages on the lower grades. Beyond that, there are all sorts of appearance options and other accessories available through the local dealership.

Safety

The 2018 Mini Cooper Clubman comes standard with front-side airbags, side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, and a backup camera. It does not offer some common modern safety features like lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert or a blind spot monitoring system.

To date, there have been no third-party crash tests of the Clubman.

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 certainly dulls its agility, but its handling and steering are excellent in virtually all forms. While acceleration is lackluster in base models (134 hp just isn’t a lot for a car this big), the Cooper S Clubman has some serious pop. The John Cooper Works is even better.

More importantly, the Clubman offers some practicality to go along with its performance. In the 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 an extra 3.5 cu ft., for a grand total of 47.9 cu ft. with the seats folded down. This size makes the Clubman comparable in size to a compact hatchback like the Mazda3.

Of course, the Clubman is not a hatchback. It has a pair of swing-out doors that, while distinctively funky, do diminish rear visibility. They’re also not the only funky thing about the Clubman, which boasts plenty of interior quirks like toggle switches and circular styling details that any Mini fan would immediately recognize. Thankfully, this style doesn’t come with as much of a functional or quality penalty as the last Clubman did — the cabin is more premium and less toy-like. The addition of an optional touchscreen increases functionality further, since the console-mounted infotainment controller can be awkward to reach.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R — Given their size, performance, price tag, premium cabin and available AWD (Golf R), VW’s hot hatches are the best point of comparison for the Clubman. They’re bound to be cheaper but equally equipped.

2019 Audi A3 — If you’re just looking for a premium small car, the Audi A3 could be your best alternative to pricier Clubmans (Clubmen?). Although it effectively only comes as a sedan, the handsome A3 has a beautifully designed cabin, superb tech features and a refined driving experience.

2019 Mini Countryman — Although we could suggest checking out the 4-door Mini Cooper, if you need the sort of space provided by the Clubman, it’s also worth considering the Countryman compact SUV. The price is similar, you’ll sit higher and it has a more versatile cabin.

Used BMW 3 Series Wagon — This is a pretty good luxury car alternative to the Clubman given its superior driving dynamics, premium cabin and added versatility. It’s also produced by the same company — BMW. It’ll cost more new, so considering a used or pre-owned model is recommended.

Autotrader’s Advice

Order your Clubman. Don’t get stuck paying for stuff you don’t want or a color combination that’s not exactly your cup of Earl Grey. In one to two months, you can have the exact Mini Clubman you like — you should even be able to get a similar price to one that’s just sitting on a dealer lot. And if we were ordering, we’d go with the Cooper S Signature and try to stay under $35,000. Though even at that, it becomes a lot of money for what is effectively a compact hatchback — no matter its many virtues (and door count). Find a Mini Clubman for sale

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