• (4.2) 10 reviews
  • MSRP: $4,658–$11,294
  • Body Style: Wagon
  • Combined MPG: 32
  • Engine: 118-hp, 1.6-liter I-4 (premium)
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel Drive
2009 MINI Cooper Clubman

Our Take on the Latest Model 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman

What We Don't Like

  • Spotty interior quality
  • Some controls inconveniently located
  • Not as much cargo room as some competitors
  • Premium gas recommended
  • Gets pricey with options
  • Wider turning circle than Cooper

Notable Features

  • 9.4 inches longer than original Mini Cooper
  • Available Mini Cooper John Cooper Works Clubman
  • 61 percent more cargo room behind backseat than original Cooper
  • Third access door
  • Swing-out rear doors

2009 MINI Cooper Clubman Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

Editor's note: This review was written in May 2008 about the 2008 Mini Cooper Clubman. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for 2009, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

It seems fitting that the Mini Cooper, a British hatchback that's more fun to drive than any 37-mpg car deserves to be, would get a stretched Clubman sibling with a third door and kookier rear-end styling. The extra length allows two medium-sized adults and a few grocery bags to fit in back, but it doesn't exactly bring the automaker to the forefront of small-hatchback roominess — it's still small, just no longer unbearably so. Other changes are minimal. All the regular Cooper's quirks remain, for better or worse, so if you're a Mini fan who needs some extra trunk for your junk, the Clubman might be just the thing for you.

This review provides an overview of what sets the Cooper Clubman apart from both the regular Cooper and the Cooper S Clubman. For a closer look at the car, including a full take on the interior, check out Cars.com's review of the Cooper S Clubman here and the regular-length Cooper S here. See a side-by-side comparison of all Cooper variants here.

Clubman Driving
Like the recently redesigned Cooper, the Clubman uses a 118-horsepower, 1.6-liter four-cylinder that can provide engaging power when revved hard. My test car came with a standard six-speed manual transmission whose firm gates never left me wondering which gear I was in. The shifter itself has longish throws, but over time it encourages the same yank-it-into-gear playfulness that makes the regular Cooper so fun. Keep the tachometer above 3,000 rpm — it can take awhile in second gear, which seems unnecessarily high — and acceleration can be entertaining.

Though the Clubman lacks the exhilarating rush provided by the Cooper S Clubman's 172-hp turbo four-banger, it's certainly sprightlier than its quoted 8.9-second zero-to-60-mph acceleration suggests. Mini says the Cooper S Clubman does the sprint in 7.0 seconds. Those figures are for cars with the manual transmission; a six-speed automatic is optional for both.

Like all Minis, the Clubman could drive circles around most front-wheel-drive cars on any sort of handling course. The steering wheel's turn-in precision begs for winding roads, or at least rapid lane changes — just be sure to warn your passengers. My test car had an optional sport-tuned suspension; it also swapped the base Clubman's 15-inch P175/65R15 all-season tires with 16-inch rims and P195/55R16 summer tires. Equipped as such, the chassis serves up excellent resistance to body roll and easily controllable, go-kart-like understeer. Hit a bump mid-corner, and lateral wheel hop — typically felt through the steering wheel as a brief sensation of floaty response — is well-controlled. I noticed only a hint of it over the front axle, while the rear wheels stayed remarkably planted. If you're serious about track performance, the Cooper S Clubman has an optional limited-slip differential.

Ride quality is so-so. The suspension responds noisily to highway bumps, and road noise at 70 mph is loud enough to compete with the radio. Wind and other ambient noise seem comparatively quieter. My test car's optional panoramic moonroof had only a mesh-like screen to dim the sunlight, but overhead noise wasn't bad; I wasn't left wishing for a more substantial sunshade. Several other Cars.com editors found the base Clubman's suspension much more livable than the sport-package-equipped Cooper S Clubman we had in our fleet around the same time, so if you're deciding between the two, be sure to test their ride quality over bumpy pavement.

Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard. Their grabby response brings things to a stop fairly quickly, and I never felt ABS kick in too early.

Clubman Looks
From the front, there is little to distinguish the Clubman from the regular Cooper, but things change radically in back. A strip of contrasting paint offsets the C-pillars, and the color wraps around the bumpers, too. If you want, it can match the roof and side mirrors. Rather than use a conventional hatchback, the Clubman employs saloon-style rear doors that flip out to either side. There's a center pillar when the doors shut, though, and it hogs a good chunk of the view out back.

Relative to the regular Cooper, the Clubman's length is up 9.4 inches — about 6 percent — with the wheelbase extended 3.2 inches. Width remains the same, and height is up less than an inch. The extra length translates into a wider turning circle: It's 36.2 feet, versus the Cooper's 35-foot circle. Both figures are competitive with hatchbacks like the Volvo C30 and Mazda3.

Like the Mazda RX-8, Toyota FJ Cruiser and most extended-cab pickups, the Clubman gets a rear-hinged access door to aid backseat entry. It's on the passenger side, and it blends in well with the car's styling.

Not so well-integrated is the sheet metal itself. I grade fit and finish inside much more harshly than I do outside, but here it's hard to ignore: Our test car had noticeable gaps where the C-pillars met the body of the car, and the contrasting paint scheme made them really stand out.

Four-Cylinder Efficiency
Like its Cooper sibling, the Clubman's naturally-aspirated engine ekes out impressive gas mileage: With the manual transmission, mileage is 28/37 mpg city/highway; the automatic returns 26/34 mpg. (The Cooper S Clubman sacrifices 2 to 3 mpg across the board.) Unfortunately, the Clubman recommends premium gas, something many of its competitors don't. Here's how it compares with similarly priced models:

Mileage Compared
City/hwy. mpg, manualCity/hwy. mpg, automaticRecommended fuel
Mini Cooper Clubman28/3726/34premium
Saturn Astra24/3224/30regular
Mazda3 hatchback22/2922/29regular
Volkswagen Rabbit22/2921/29regular
Volvo C3019/2819/27premium
Source: EPA data for 2008 models.

Safety
As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the Clubman. Standard safety equipment includes side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags for both rows and antilock brakes. An electronic stability system — a $500 option on the base Cooper — is standard here.

Child-seat accommodations include Latch child-seat anchors with clearly marked plastic covers in the rear seats. Top-tether anchors are behind the seats in the cargo floor — not the most convenient location.

Pricing
Without the destination charge, the Clubman starts at $19,950, which is $1,900 more than the Cooper. The Cooper S Clubman starts at $23,450 but includes features, like 16-inch wheels, that are optional on the regular Clubman. An automatic transmission on either car runs $1,250.

Power windows and locks, keyless entry with push-button start, A/C, and a six-speaker CD stereo with an auxiliary MP3 jack are standard. So is faux leather upholstery; cloth and leather are optional. Also optional are heated front seats, a panoramic moonroof, a navigation system and a litany of cosmetic accessories. The add-ons can really bump up the price; I loaded a Clubman on Mini's website to well past $40,000.

Clubman in the Market
I have no doubt the Clubman will expand Mini's appeal; it addresses one of the Cooper's chief shortcomings, its lack of room. Should you think Mini has suddenly built a regular car, though, you'll find the Clubman is just as much an acquired taste as its Cooper sibling. This is no Mini-turned-mainstream — it's simply a longer version of what's already on the road.

Send Kelsey an email 


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Consumer Reviews

(4.2)

Average based on 10 reviews

Write a Review

My next auto purchase.

by Bamagirl from Baltimore on September 18, 2017

I like the style and roomyness of this car. As a single person this is perfect size for me. Parking will be easy.

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1 Trim Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman trim comparison will help you decide.

2009 MINI Cooper Clubman Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

Recalls

There are currently 2 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $4,100 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

48mo/50,000mi

Powertrain

48mo/50,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

48mo/unlimited

Free Scheduled Maintenance

36mo/36,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years