Mini stretched the length of its Cooper by 9.5 inches to make the Cooper Clubman. The hatchback comes in two trim levels, the Cooper Clubman and a turbocharged Cooper S Clubman. It competes with sporty hatchbacks ranging from the Mazda3 to the Volvo C30.
The extra length benefits legroom for the Clubman's two rear passengers, and cargo room behind the backseat is up substantially as well. Don't take that to mean the Clubman has cavernous dimensions — it's nowhere near as roomy as most cars in its class, but it is appreciably roomier than the regular Cooper. That means adults can probably handle a backseat trip to the local pizzeria.
Other changes include a pair of split-opening rear doors that swing out to either side instead of the regular Cooper's conventional hatchback. There's also a rear-hinged access door on the passenger side.
Differences between the regular Cooper and Cooper Clubman are most apparent in back, where the Clubman's rear-quarter pillars are painted in contrasting black or silver. It matches the rear bumper and, if desired, the roof, creating a squared-off look in back. The swing-out doors necessitate a split rear window, and each portion gets its own windshield wiper.
The wheelbase is up 3.2 inches, which Mini says helps the Clubman keep its wheels near the bumpers to improve handling. Alloy wheels range from 15 to 17 inches, and the Cooper S Clubman adds fog lights and dual exhaust pipes. Mini says the Clubman has more than 40 possible color combinations, as well as options like checkered side mirrors and a Union Jack roof.
The interior looks much like the regular Cooper's, with a large circular speedometer mounted in the center of the dashboard and plenty of toggle switches among the center controls. Backseat passengers have 32.3 inches of legroom, up from 29.9 inches in the regular Cooper. That makes for habitable space, though it isn't nearly as roomy as the Mazda3 hatchback (36.3 inches of rear legroom) or Volvo C30 (41.6 inches). The Clubman's 37.7 inches of rear headroom is slightly more than the regular Cooper's, and it's competitive with the segment.
Cargo room behind the rear seats totals 9.2 cubic feet, a healthy increase over the regular Cooper's 5.7 cubic feet but not as much as many hatchbacks offer. With the rear seats folded, maximum cargo room totals 32.8 cubic feet, up from 24.0 cubic feet in the regular Cooper.
Six-way adjustable front seats, faux-leather upholstery, remote keyless entry, air conditioning, various power accessories and a six-speaker CD stereo are standard. Options include a panoramic moonroof, cloth or leather upholstery, heated seats and a navigation system.
Under the Hood
The front-wheel-drive Clubman shares the regular Cooper's engines — a 120-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder in the Cooper Clubman and a 175-hp, turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder in the Cooper S Clubman. Either one works with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. With the manual, Mini says the Cooper S Clubman can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds, just 0.3 seconds slower than the regular Cooper S.
Gas mileage ranges from 23/32 mpg city/highway in a Cooper S Clubman with an automatic to 28/37 mpg in the base Cooper Clubman with a stick shift. Like the regular Cooper, however, the Clubman takes premium fuel.
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard; the Cooper S Clubman has slightly larger front discs. Other standard features include an electronic stability system and six airbags, including side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for both rows.