By Sala Masindane
Who said estates or station wagons cannot be funky? This of course is a rhetorical question; we have seen these station wagons in the past including the likes of Audi RS4 or the Mercedes Benz C-Class Estate and thought they were cool. These are of course the usual suspects and the latter is no longer offered locally with the former needing deep pockets. This is where the Mini Cooper Clubman comes in and it has carved its own niche following and evaded the “uncool” tag associated with “conventional” wagons.
Looks and interior
What is most evident and eye-catching on the Clubman is the exterior design, its dripping with appeal and funkiness. The front-end spots Mini’s most recent design with the addition of a new redesigned grille which now extends across the entire bumper. The standard halogen and optional LED headlights also benefit from a new design. At the rear, LED lights are standard with those spotting the Union Jack motif being option.
Inside, the range gets an optional Mini Yours sports steering wheel and the seat upholstery variant Mini Yours Leather Lounge Carbon Black. The seats also acquire a Union Jack motif on the headrests. The interior is a good place to be in thanks to the quality and unique Mini design. The standard 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system is simple to use with most controls easily reachable for the driver whilst driving. Although the Clubman takes the form of a station wagon, rear legroom space is compromised but four adults can be ferried near effortlessly. The rear split doors aid practicality, providing easy access to the boot that offers 360-litres of storage and up to 1,250-litres of space with seats folded down.
Engine and Drive
In terms of the engine, the Mini Clubman gets a 1.5-litre engine three-cylinder that sees it accelerate swiftly from a standstill using power of 100kW and 220Nm of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed Steptronic transmission. The Mini Clubman is built for the city and the open road. The power figures may have you believing that the Clubman is a slouch, but it is not. It is quite fun to drive and decisively fast for a car that is heavier than the Mini Hatchback. Suprisingly, the car also sounds good and sporty. Of course, if you are looking for more performance is the Clubman Cooper S and John Cooper Works Clubman which will ask you for R100,000 and R200,000 more respectively. Yes, quite a bit more. Nevertheless, whilst you are saving-up, you will find the 1.5-litre Clubman Cooper to be engaging, entertaining and comfortable, especially if you just want to cruise along. The ride quality could be better and softer but there is nothing much to complain about and the fun drive will barely make this a bone of contention. Another positive aspect is the impressive 5.9 l/100km fuel consumption we averaged during our time with the Clubman. This is not a far cry from the claimed 5.4 l/100km.
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