Road Test Review: 2016 MINI Cooper S CLUBMAN

REVIEW: 2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman Is Unique, Sporty Drive … Once Inside Cabin

In a world of mega – huge trucks, large SUVs and big sedans – there is the 2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman.

It is a drastic departure from other cars on the market with its unique styling, sporty powertrain and zippy turning radius. Now with more cargo room, the Mini Cooper Clubman is simply a great drive, albeit if you are OK sacrificing some entry/exit ease and long-drive comfort.

Without a doubt, Mini Coopers are uniquely different – even refreshing – compared to an automotive market of sameness. This uniqueness is part of their charm and represents everything good about consumers having multiple choices for vehicles. Tired of the boring A to B car? Try a Mini Cooper, it is anything, but boring.

From the outside through the inside, the styling is one of a kind. There is no doubt this vehicle is from England with its short stature, boxy sides and short hood or bonnet if you will. The look is straight out of several spy movies and is either “cute” or “abhorrent” according to your point of view.

On the inside, the uniqueness continues with the jet fighter like start/stop engine switch, the non-roof sun-roof with its mesh lining, the domineering speedometer gauge and a piece of black plastic rising and lowering when turning on the vehicle to serve as a backdrop for the heads-up speed and cruise control display.

This unique interior really grabs your attention and is a visual treat that is once you are inside the car. With its low stance, it is a challenge to enter/exit and while you become accustomed to it, it will always be what it is, a tough car to get into.

Another unique feature of the Clubman is the split rear doors which open one at a time with the passenger-side door first and then the driver-side door. Popping both doors open gives a great amount of access to the rear cargo area. At first, having one door open at a time seemed annoying at best, yet you quickly learn to store cargo in a way where the items you want to quickly get to are on the passenger side while the other cargo is on the driver’s side. Also, it turned out to be pretty convenient to simply pop open the door, grab and go instead of dealing with both doors all the time.

Once behind the wheel, the difficulty of entry is quickly forgotten once the 2.0L twin turbo-charged four-cylinder comes to life. By most small car standards, a turbo-charged engine producing 207 lb-ft of torque with 189 horsepower has no reason being in this small of a car. Yet, Mini Cooper tosses aside convention. This powertrain mated to a slick 6-speed automatic puts a smile on your face all day. Toss in a “sport” mode and the fun factor increases exponentially. Heck, even the “green” driving mode is still a fun drive.

Now to be fair, the Clubman is the longer version of the Mini Cooper lineup and you do give up some of the fun to drive aspect versus smaller versions. However, during my week of driving, I didn’t really notice any substantial difference between the other, smaller model. I still found it a fun to drive car perfect for quick trips around town. On long road trips, it doesn’t handle road noise as much as larger sedans and it simply isn’t that comfortable sitting for long periods of time compared to other models in our test model’s price range of $37,000. If long road trips or commutes are your plan, there are better choices out there. However, if you live in a big city, make shorter trips and/or are willing to sacrifice comfort for a unique ride, the 2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman is a great choice.

Model: 2016 Mini Cooper S Clubman

Engine: 2.0L Twin Turbo Four-Cylinder

Transmission: 6-Speed Manual

EPA Fuel Economy: 22/32/26 city/highway/combined

Base Price: $27,650


  • Melting Silver Metallic – $500
  • Leather Pure Burgundy – $1,500
  • Premium Package (Comfort Access Keyless Entry, Panoramic Moonroof, Harman/Kardon Premium System) – $1,800
  • Technology Package/Navigation (Rear View Camera, Park Distance Control (rear) – $1,750
  • JCW Interior Package (JCW Leather Steering Wheel, Headliner in Anthracite) – $400
  • Heated Front Seats – $500
  • LED Headlights – $750
  • Satellite Radio w/ 1 Year Subscription – $300

Price as Tested: $37,000 with $850 destination charge

Tim Esterdahl is a married father of three who enjoys all things automotive including wrenching on his collection of old pickups. You can find his work here and in print in Truck Trend magazine as well as on  Recently, he is growing a huge audience at his website

He also plays an absurd amount of golf. Like, really absurd.

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