OK, so the Mini Clubman is never going to challenge a Volvo estate in terms of carrying capacity, but nevertheless it’s still an estate - even if BMW doesn’t like that terminology! The Clubman is the latest incarnation of Mini which harks back to the spirit of the original. By raiding the history books BMW has hit on some successful and some not so successful ideas. The split rear doors are a visual link with the past but they obscure rear visibility, whilst the central speedometer is retro but impractical.
However, the most controversial addition is a single ‘suicide’ door for access to the back. The ‘Clubdoor’ is only found on the right hand side which means that it opens into the road in the UK. In addition, it is very small and the seat belt is attached to it so it doesn’t make getting in or out easy.
These issues aside, the Clubman shares the great attributes of the hatch. Most of the extra length has been added between the wheels which means that extra bodywork behind the rear wheels is kept to a minimum. This contributes to it being nearly as good to drive as the hatch, which for an estate makes it very special indeed.
Even after the stretch the Clubman remains a compact car. This inevitably results in limited load space. With the rear seats in place it has just 260 litres of boot space which is less than some supermini hatchbacks. However it is 100 litres more than the Mini hatch which is a useful addition.
The Mini One D Clubman achieves amazing fuel consumption which equates to really low CO2 emissions thanks to BMW’s EfficientDynamics technology. There is a feeling that design took priority over practicality with this car – after all, it’s not really an estate in terms of its size - but it remains very trendy and allows Mini owners to take their dogs with them. Great handling and a diesel particulate filter complete the package.