We’ve had fast and focused (Works GP and John Cooper Works Challenge), pumped-up and alternative (Mini Countryman, Paceman), funky and fun-loving (Coupé, Roadster), sensible and even quietly good value (Mini One). Now it’s time to aim for grown-up. Ordinary, even.
The new Mini Clubman may look like an estate version of an upmarket supermini, but it’s actually more interesting and less niche: it’s Mini’s first attempt to lure customers out of a sensible five-seat family hatchback.
Since the launch of the ‘new’ Mini in 2001, the company has wondered what to offer customers who’ve grown out of their Cooper hatchbacks and convertibles. The Countryman has done its bit, although it isn’t a mainstream solution, and the five-door hatch helps slightly on the practicality front but isn't really the answer to the conundrum.
In place of the first-gen Clubman, with its limited added practicality and its extra side door misplaced in right-hand drive markets, comes a ‘mature and sophisticated’ family car.