Looks are entirely in the eye of the beholder, and on this score we feel no better qualified to judge than anyone else. But for what it’s worth, our view on the Mini Clubman is that it sits on the odd side of quirky – a shape with a great deal of initial interest but, once the novelty of its innovative design has subsided, not one that’s likely to be remembered as one of the greats.
The layout of the doors is the biggest conversation piece. On the driver's side there's a conventional door at the front and with that open the rear-hinged back door can be opened. This 'Clubdoor' (as Mini calls it) is not found on the passenger side of the right hand drive version, due to the expense of engineering the body, fuel filler and tank to accommodate the opening.
In place of a top-hinged hatchback, Mini's designers took the lead from the original Mini estates of the 1960s, for the design of the side-hinged 'barn doors' at the back.
Argue as much as you like about the look of the car, but it’s much more difficult to quibble with its engineering credentials. It’s one thing to build a car using gimmicks – and this one has more than its fair share – as a substitute for design integrity, and quite another to provide all the essentials in the first place and then add on whatever stylistic and functional addenda the brief requires. The Clubman is emphatically in the latter camp.