By KBB.com Editors
While it's true that an increasingly number of car owners are downsizing, there are times when smaller can be too small. The Mini Cooper is one example, offering buyers cute styling, fun driving dynamics and desired efficiency, but very little room. That's where the Mini Cooper Clubman comes into play, with more than nine inches of extra length, which brings with it much-needed rear leg room. A good bit of added cargo space found its way into the equation, too. If you want a Mini Cooper with greater dimensions, and you're not interested in the larger four-door Countryman, the 2011 Clubman is waiting for a test drive. Shoppers can choose between base and turbocharged S models.
Perhaps you're partial to the Mini Cooper's styling and its promise of precise handling, yet the lack of interior room is a deal-breaker. For buyers like you, Mini offers the more spacious 2011 Cooper Clubman.
Impressive handling often comes with some sacrifice and, in the case of the 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman, it's a soft and comfortable ride that fails to make the cut. If you travel extensively on roads in disrepair, you might not appreciate the harsh ride.
Like its stablemates, the 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman offers subtle exterior styling changes, slight bumps in power from its two available engines and the addition of HD and satellite radio to the list of standard features. The Clubman also gets a new special-edition Hampton Package.
Driving Impressions Comparisons made of the Mini Cooper and go karts have become cliché, but not all that far from accurate. The Mini Cooper and Cooper Clubman boast precision steering, smooth and...capable brakes and a very minimum of body roll in the corners. The ride is stiff, especially when equipped with the Sport Package, yet that's the price one pays to enjoy such a capable grin-inducer. To get the most out of the 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman experience, select the S model for the lineup's best possible performance, courtesy of a strong turbocharged engine with only a negligible amount of lag and exceptional response.
No matter how the Clubman is equipped, its driver is guaranteed plenty of enjoyment. But for those who want to dial things up, a tap of the Sport button delivers improved steering and throttle response and the available automatic transmission maintains peak RPM longer by delaying upshifts.
Access doors, or Club Doors in Mini lingo, have long been used in trucks and even some cars. The purpose is simple: To facilitate entry to and exit from the rear seat. Anyone relegated to the Clubman's second row will appreciate MINI's decision to include this feature.
Added rear-seat legroom and cargo space are direct results of the Clubman's relatively long length. Unlike the regular Cooper, the 2011 Mini Clubman provides moderately sufficient, if not plentiful, accommodations for up to four adults. Better yet, the rear seat can be folded down to offer up to 32.8 cubic feet or expanded trunk space. Along with added dimensions come quality interior bits and a unique design, including a tachometer behind the steering wheel, center-mounted power window switches and a huge speedometer mounted on the center of the dash.Exterior
When viewed from the front, the 2011 Clubman looks like every other Mini Cooper, which means you won't mistake one of these compact cars for anything else on the road. To recognize the primary difference between the Cooper and Cooper Clubman, you'll need to take in the side view, where the latter's extra length is obvious and, if you're on the passenger side, the rear access door is visible. Fitted to the Clubman's tail end are split "barn" doors that pay homage to the original Mini Traveler that first roamed the roads roughly 50 years ago.
Mini equips the base 2011 Cooper Clubman with the usual array of creature comforts, including power windows and door locks, leatherette upholstery, a push-button ignition, a rear wiper and a sound system that incorporates steering wheel-mounted controls, HD audio, Sirius Satellite Radio and an auxiliary input jack. Safety features include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, corner brake control, electronic brake force distribution and dual front-side and side-curtain airbags.
This year marks the debut of the 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman's available Hampton Package, made distinct by its choice of paint colors, sport seats, special badges, HID headlights, extra chrome trim and Damson Red interior and exterior accents. Buyers can also choose from a Premium Package that features a dual-pane sunroof and harman/kardon sound system, and stand-alone options that include Bluetooth connectivity, heated front seats, dynamic traction control and several wheel designs.
Every 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman is fitted with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, though they're not all created equal. In the base model, output is 121 horsepower and 114 pound-feet of torque, with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The Clubman S has a turbocharged version of this engine, with 181 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque that's available from 1600 to 5000 rpm.
1.6-liter in-line 4
121 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
114 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/35 (manual), 27/36 (automatic)
1.6-liter in-line 4 turbocharged
181 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 27/35 (manual), 26/34 (automatic)
By Leep (NH) on Friday, May 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 36,900overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Always makes me smile!"
Cons: "No back window that opens or variable wiper speeds"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have owned this car for 3+ years and ADORE it. This, after two VW Turbos and a 1-owner (still) of a 1976 BMW 2002. I feel so lucky to drive this little bugger every day! Everything about this car, handling, interior/exterior design, comfort and looks are stellar. This is a sporty driver's car, offering up all the thrills and chills that one would expect of a much more expensive sport car. And the service suits the car ... excellent, efficient and above expectation. Just go drive one, fasten your seat belt and hold on! (Not sure why they list this as a "hatchback" when it has "barn doors", which are far better!.)"
By Mini Man (TX) on Wednesday, January 23, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, reliable mechanics"
Cons: "The price point is a bit high"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have had my MINI Cooper Clubman for about 18 months. It's a fun car, that is a blend of compact and sports car. It has the feeling of driving a go-kart! It has been very reliable for me, and I love the responsiveness of the steering and handling. The downside is obviously the size of it. Wish I had bought something with a little more room, but then again you shouldn't expect to have a lot of room with something named MINI. On the plus side of the size, I am able to maneuver in and out of tight places that most cars cannot. That comes in very handy in traffic, and in parking lots!"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Not Impressed on Thursday, January 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive. What works does work well."
Cons: "Water leak in the boot. Poor stereo performance."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"This is a really fun car to drive. There is very little road noise for such a small car. It also handles well and feels comfortable even on longer drives although there is little to no lumbar support with the basic seats. I use a small cushion for my back on long trips. It does have room for a surprising amount of items. We put dining room chairs and other items inside the cargo area (with the back seats folded down)with no problem. The controls are easy to get to and easy to use. The 'sport' mode is really fun. I am averaging 30.7 mpg with mostly highway driving. I have had as high as 41 mpg on the highway. Not bad at all. The Devil is in the details: Water leaked into the boot during the first hard rain. I chose to reseal the gasket that seals the rear doors to the car after reading up on this issue on the internet. It seems to be fixed, but I am waiting for the next hard rain to be sure. Also, the Harman Kardon stereo sounds 'off', almost like a radio station that is not fully tuned in. This occurs on the CD, XM, regular radio, and Iphone. According to a car audio specialist the head unit may not be well tuned to the amplifier. BMW USA says this high end stereo is working to specifications. That's to bad as I will have to buy (not cheaply) an after market amplifier to fix this problem if I want quality sound. These are not issues I would expect for this price and brand."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Garry (VA) on Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Gas mileage, quick, lots of windows, roomy, fun"
Cons: "Cup holders block window switch"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Bought the Mini after an extensive search for the perfect vehicle. Our requirements were pretty simple-we wanted something small, good on gas, and able to fit our two dogs. We always liked Mini but were very unsure about interior space and practicality. The Clubman has been great since our purchase. We have put almost 12,000 miles on it and it has never let us down. I am 6'3, 250 lbs and can push the front seat back so far that I can't reach the pedals. It seats 4 adults more comfortably than most mid-sized cars. The back seats fold down to make a very spacious and capable cargo area. And to top it all off, we average 29 miles a gallon around town in a turbocharged car. The only downside to the car is that the window switch is behind the cup holders, so you need to move the cup in order to operate it-not so much a problem for us because we try to avoid taking drinks in the car. Our Mini dealership is very customer service oriented, and the service department is top-notch. We are certainly Mini owners for life."
14 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By wxviewer (NJ) on Tuesday, August 21, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value, Safety, Fun to drive, Dependable, 2 thumbs^"
Cons: "No power seat option."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"100,000 in 34 months and the only repairs for this car is a thermostat and a water pump. Normal wear and tear of course. She still gets between 32-37MPG and no issues with any of the features. This car has and continues to be a blast drive. I changed the standard 15" wheels to 17" for non-winter driving and she handles beautifully. The stock wheels are for the winter tires and the 1st winter we had the Clubman, it was a champion in the snow. Loved the MINI so much we have second one now, a 2010 Hardtop. The maintenance(included-3 yr 36k miles) and extended maintenance(approx $1200-1800: up to 7yrs/100k miles) plans are a bonus. We didn't purchase the extended warranty because we had Mechanical Breakdown insurance thru our insurance company. Used it once for the water pump at 99500 miles. Lastly, at approx 50k miles, I was rear-ended by a tractor trailer on the interstate, speed differential was about 35mphs but he hit me at 65mph. The safety features of this car operated as specified. I never lost control and I walked away from the accident(no injuries). 8 weeks later, I got my Clubman back and have had no ill after-effects with her. She has been running like a top, straight and true. A true testament to the quality and craftsmanship of the MINI/BMW products."
11 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Minibone (NY) on Thursday, June 28, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun factor 10"
Cons: "Price- expensive to drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Super cool car. Fun factor driving 10. Turbo is great. Great handling, good exceleration, great top end and cruising speeds. Automatic paddle shifter is incredible. Wish you could get the Cooper work cold air induction kit with automatic. Paddles and Automatic shifter are versitile and fun. Great commuting car. Can even fit kids or small adults comfortably in back sits. Roomy front sits. Great lighting effects. Also has good storage space when rear seats are folding down. I beat on this car for 50 thousand miles of hard driving. Have not had 1 problem yet. Just some annoying fixable rattling noises from dashboard. Averaging about 26 miles per gallon. Thats driving the car hard. So again great commuting car. Its not a fluffy car. Very aggresive driving with this car at all times. Must keep two hands on driver wheel when ever possible. When you hit hard bumps or small holes in road car can shift quickly. I would not recommend this car to inexperienced drivers or someone looking for luxury. This is a driving machine. BMW service is great. Get the extending maintanence warratty. Its worth the 2500 if you plan on keeping the care for more than 5 years."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful