2009 MINI Cooper Clubman

Change year or car

Change year or car

$20,200

starting MSRP

2009 MINI Cooper Clubman

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Precise handling
  • Strong brakes
  • Adult-friendly backseat
  • Virtually unlimited customizations
  • Standard stability system
  • Gas mileage

The bad:

  • 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

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman trim comparison will help you decide.

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 review: Our expert's take

By Kelsey Mays

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

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. 

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, manual City/hwy. mpg, automatic Recommended fuel
Mini Cooper Clubman 28/37 26/34 premium
Saturn Astra 24/32 24/30 regular
Mazda3 hatchback 22/29 22/29 regular
Volkswagen Rabbit 22/29 21/29 regular
Volvo C30 19/28 19/27 premium
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  

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.3
  • Interior design 4.4
  • Performance 4.4
  • Value for the money 4.2
  • Exterior styling 4.8
  • Reliability 4.0

Most recent consumer reviews

4.0

Maybe if I bought one brand new.

I love the car unfortunately I bought it from a dealership with a crappy service department that takes my personal property and returns it with new problems it didn’t go in with and refuses to repair it free of charge. We all know that game. If you don’t, you better. Either buy the extended warranty if it covers the smaller stuff especially and know they may create problems to make more money. Especially if they fixed anything prior free of charge.

2.3

Lemon

This car ended up being a 8000$ mistake I have had it one month and it now is worthless trash it drove decent for about 40 miles from leaving the dealership then it all went downhill from there from oil leaks to sensors turning on and off sometimes it starts up and sometimes it will not big mistake buying this car

4.2

Nice car

The car drove smooth and it had a lot of get up to it. Very nice and the color makes it shine and stand out.

See all 17 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by MINI
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
72 months/unlimited distance
Roadside assistance
48 months/50,000 miles
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Less than 5 years/less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
1 year/unlimited miles after the expiration of the 4-year/50,000-mile MINI new-car limited warranty
Powertrain
N/A
Dealer certification required
Yes
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

Compare the competitors

2000

Oldsmobile Alero

$16,005

starting MSRP

2013

FIAT 500C

$19,695

starting MSRP

2002

Saab 9-5

$33,995

starting MSRP

See all 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman articles