Auto Nsider Review: 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman

 

If Mommy is a Rolls Royce, and Daddy is a BMW, is it really surprising to think that they just might get together and make a Wild Child?

 

Well, it happened, and let’s just say that Mini got some of the more “expressive” genes from their corporate family.

 

Remember how much fun it was driving go-carts as a kid?

 

Did you ever part the wind at near triple-digits on a high-revving sport bike?

 

If so, you probably already know what Mini is all about….but hang with me, ‘cause this is the new Clubman that we’re here to talk about.

 

And if performance hasn’t really been part of your DNA, that’s OK, ‘cause Mini has something for you “fashion-forward” folks, too!

 

And that’s because Mini is truly a combination of fast, fashionable, funky and frugal.

 

Always known for its’ go cart handling, this new, larger Clubman still has it..   Sneeze and you might move over two lanes.   The steering is quick.   This is not a vehicle to drive with a phone stuck in your ear.   If a Mini doesn’t make you feel like a Formula One driver, nothing will.

 

While the new ’16 Clubman is larger, it’s still an around-town hoot to drive….able to dart into gaps in the traffic….and park almost anywhere.   And the new Clubman still has its’ iconic and functional two-door / split window rear-end.

 

While rated as a five-seater, four….as in most vehicles….will be more comfortable.   And those two or three in the rear will appreciate the new ’16 Clubman’s added room.   And the rear seats fold flat allowing you to toss a good week or two’s worth of gear in the larger rear for a road trip for two.

 

But back to those of you who may not have high octane running thru your veins.

 

You may still love the Mini Clubman…especially if you’re a gadget-geek.   The light show, alone, is worth the price of admission.   Puddle lights…door-handle lights…and ambient interior lighting that you really have to experience to appreciate.   Plus the rotating circular lighting on the Mini’s expected big, round info display.   And of course, the start / stop airplane-inspired toggle switch,

After all, who wants a push-button when you can have a toggle switch, right?

 

And then there’s the seats.  While no, they’re not up to Rolls’ specs, England does leather like few others….allowing you to take a functional  performance-focused ride and turn it into a little luxury limo.

 

This year’s other surprise?    Mini’s twin-turbo three-cylinder.   Yes…three. Believe it or not, it’s got actual low-end punch off the line…..and offers 25 – 34 MPG economy. This is the standard engine across their line now,  Want more?   Go with the “S” models and get a twin-turbo four rated at 189 HP and a rather aggressive 140+ top-end.

 

This year’s bigger ’16 Clubman will start in the mid 20’s, but as with most high-end European imports, it’s easy to check off on 5 – 10K in options.   But it’s exactly those 5 or 10 thousand in options that will turn your Mini into a luxury / performance vehicle with a certain level of cachet that few others can muster at a 30-something thousand window sticker.

 

With small, luxury SUVs being ever more popular, Mini just may be on to something with their bigger-for-’16 Clubman.
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