As an extension of the Mini brand, the Clubman is a good car but not a great one.

It’ll doubtless do a better job than its predecessor at retaining Mini owners, but we suspect it won’t broaden the customer base as far as will be hoped.

Grown-up Mini is respectable — if uncomfortable — in long trousers

Greater usability and sophistication is delivered – to a point – and it is surprisingly practical, but its cabin is harder to access than those of most C-segment hatches and its qualitative substance isn’t up to the top compact premium standards.

The powertrain has authority but not the refinement to really leave its mark, while the ride and handling are typically Mini: vivacious and fun-loving, but missing that final shade of subtlety.

As a bridge to the outside world for Mini owners, or a last rung on the ownership ladder, the Clubman works and earns its place in the showroom.

But as an alternative to a mainstream premium-brand hatchback, it’s something of an impostor – albeit a likeable rogue.

The new Mini Clubman, we think, is a better option than the BMW 118d Sport, but still falls short of the Volvo V40, 2.0-litre TDI Audi A3 and the range-extended BMW i3.


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