By Patrick James on 2019-11-23 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
MINI Clubman 2.0
THE Clubman has always had a place in the hearts of old Mini lovers with its batwing rear doors.
BMW have done much to retain that styling with this latest, thoroughly modern MINI.
It now features a revised grille with hexagonal contours, familiar domed bonnet and the circular LED headlamps with chrome surrounds. The optional British Spoke two-tone 18-inch alloys on this model added that little bit of extra class.
It also has LED rear lights, with chrome surround integrated in the wings of the split door. There's also the Union flag tail lights option, harking back to the days of Swinging Sixties Minis with the flag on the roof.
Like all BMW brands, it is not cheap and the base price can be considerably increased with added options, like in this case the upgraded navigation system and comfort pack. In fact the options on this model bumped the price up by around £8,000.
Featuring diesel and petrol engines, it is of course miles bigger the the original, a crossover almost, with estate like capacity, high roofline and its six doors.
Standard kit is still pretty good, but sometimes the little things which attract you to a car. I just loved the puddle lights displaying the Mini logo. Alright, it's not new, but it adds a touch of class and in practical terms light a path in the dark and the subtle ambient lighting is another neat touch.
Of course its practical, the boot has a volume of 360 litres, which can be extended to 1,250 litres by folding the rear seats flat and for extra practicality the large glove box and door compartments can all hold one-litre drink bottles.
The two rear doors can be opened individually by the key fob, or by kicking under the boot to activate a sensor for the same purpose. Novel, but the rear doors opening outwards create a problem when parking too close to a wall or immovable object.
A storage package is also available, featuring a variable load compartment floor, additional storage, lashing eyes, attachment nets and a cargo positioning feature.
Like parent company BMW, the interior is high-quality with robust fixtures and fittings and the now-familiar rocker switches, including the red starter swtich, while the leather sport seats are comfortable and supportive.
The dash is dominated by the dinner-plate-sizedcentral dial with a full-colour 6.5inch, or 8.8-inch screen on the upgraded Navigation Plus Pack here, which displays infotainment, phone and navigation functions.
Standard kit includes rain sensors and automatic headlight activation, the interior lights package and the Excitement pack which includes that excellent logo projection, illuminated door handles and the mood lighting.
MINI Connected Services are also standard, as well as Intelligent Emergency Call (E-Call) and Bluetooth.
The MINI Connected App can send navigation destinations from smartphone to vehicle. Selection of all functions is via a controller in the centre console.
If you still have cash to spare the Harmon Kardon Hi-Fi System and a MINI Head-up Display are also available as optional upgrades
The model here features a feisty 1.5 litre, 136bhp three cylinder petrol engine that is both pacey and pretty frugal.
It is a sweet-sounding unit with the familiar three pot thrum and propels the car to 60mph in just over nine seconds, which is probably quick enough for most. Mated to an optional seven-speed Steptronic dual clutch gearbox, gearshifts are slick and seamless.
Fuel consumption is claimed at just short of 50mpg, a figure I thought close to reality with emissions of 130g/km.
It is a pleasant to drive, though not maybe as sharp handling as some of the more compact MINIs. It feels well planted on corners however while the steering gives good feedback to the driver.
Otherwise, solid soundproofing keep wind and noise from the large tyres out. The ride is more comfortable than sporting, after all this is a family sized motor with only the roughest of roads unsettling the ride.
MINI Clubman 2.0 Cooper Exclusive auto
Mechanical: 136bhp, 1,499cc three-cylinder petrol engine driving front wheels vial seven-speed auto gearbox
Max Speed: 127 mph
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 49.6
Insurance Group: 19
Bik rating: 30%
Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles
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