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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2019 MINI Cooper Clubman ALL4

This week we present you the 2019 MINI Cooper Clubman All 4 Premier+ with an approximate MSRP of $41430 CAD. Our test vehicle was assembled at the Oxford plant in the United Kingdom making it an authentic British MINI with a German flare.

Fun Factor: 6

Can it Family: 7

Fuel-Friendly: 8

HWY-warrior: 7

Karaoke Friendly: 6

Baby friendly: 7

City Cruising: 6

We love the practicality of the MINI Clubman, to be honest, the Clubman S is one of our favorite family cars for the city. We weren't sure what to expect from the Turbo 3 banger in town or how it would hold up on the HWY, we were pleasantly surprised, and we were proven that when matted to the right transmission and from the proper manufacturer, 3 cylinder cars can be fun to drive while being gas efficient. The 1.5L 3 cylinder has an output of 134hp and 164 lb-ft of torque. These numbers are impressive for an inline 3 banger. However, if you know the origins of this engine, you will understand where the impressive output comes from: this engine is based on BMW iconic 3.0L I6 engine split in half. Our review next week will include a car equipped with this engine, and we even had the opportunity to test it on the German Autobahn. From the drivers perspective, the only downside we saw was the ruff sounding engine & the vibrations coming from the engine bay. To some of our passengers, the sound of the 3 cylinders roared better then the 4 cylinders found in the Clubman S. The acceleration announced by MINI is 9.6 seconds to 100km/h in our real-life test we were only able to achieve 100km/h in 11.05 seconds. The results were obtained with Pirelli P7 all season tires and the fuel used was 89 octane the minimum recommended by MINI. We are sure that with premium fuel the announced numbers are achievable. Now the 11-second mark to 100km/h doesn’t seem impressive, however, in the city, the Clubman never felt slow, and we didn’t feel the need for more power. The only times we felt the Clubman would have needed additional HP was above the allowed speed limit, and then again the driving experience is so smooth that unwillingly you might not even notice going above the speed limit. The car felt nimble around corners. Yes, the All4 system helps significantly make the Clubman feel sportier than perceived. The Clubman in its base engine option is made for those who want to drive a premium brand and desire to have fun on the road and at the same time will not break their bank as the fuel consumption is excellent.

Can the Clubman be a family car? We think that this question doesn’t even need to be answered as the Clubman adds to the MINI experience in the form of a station wagon. The additional cargo makes the Clubman an all arounder. We were able to pack quite a Few items in the trunk, a large suite case with a full grocery at Costco is possible when traveling with your family. The trunk has a hidden portion, that can either provide extra space to hide gifts, chocolates or a lot more actually! The hidden portion alone can hold a carry on baggage.

The back row seats comfortably 2 adults a 3rd adult in the middle row would be pushing your luck. With one car seat, a child or an Adult would have enough room in the back row. However, the middle seat then becomes somewhat obsolete, we would only suggest smaller children to take place in them and only for shorter distances, and if the local regulation allows for a child size to ride without their own booster seat... In our model the rear seats did not offer heated seats nor did it provide a dedicated USB port for your rear passengers, charging devices will need to be done using the cigarette charger. Otherwise, the backseats will offer a comfortable experience for your passengers on longer drives it has a decent amount of legroom, well-bolstered seats and lots of light coming in from the windows and the panoramic sunroof. The Driver and co-pilot can expect the usual MINI experience when it comes to comfort the only nitpicking might be the low seating position when entering the car mainly for those that might be used to the more straight-up posture found in SUV might be disappointed in that regard. The motion going into the Clubman is more sport car like than family hauler. We can't ignore that the most exceptional item of the Clubman is that big trunk.

The fuel consumption of the MINI Cooper Clubman was extraordinary! Even beating MINI numbers. Our results in real life testing on the HWY we were able to achieve 5.2L per 100km, in the city 9.2L per 100km for a combined consumption of 6.9L per 100km. The gas consumption was steady and it was easy to maintain a constant speed while keeping consumption low. The numbers announced by MINI are as follows 6.8L for the HWY, 8.8L for the city and 7.9 per 100km combined. The fuel used was 89 octane fuel the minimum required by MINI the total distance traveled for our test was over 500km. The vehicle was equipped with 17 inches all season tires (Pirelli P7).

The Clubman is not only a knight in shining armor in the city. The knight has excellent fuel consumption. As a result, it is possible to drive longer between fuel stops without having to break your bank. On the HWY the Clubman felt planted on the road never feeling hesitant. Imperfections on the road were well absorbed. The cabin was a little noisy while still decent to have a conversation with rear passengers and improves considerably when the cargo area is used. One thing we do suggest to make the HWY experience better is to add Apple CarPlay standard and not bundle as an option. This would make it more user-friendly when having to switch from maps to your music selection without having to take off your eyes too long from the road.

The sound system found in our Clubman was the optional Harmon Kardon that offers refined sound for daily usage. The infotainment found in the MINI Clubman is simple to use, it can either be used using the click wheel or the touch screen.

What we really liked about BMW's products is how car seat installation has been thought for families. The ISOFIX ports are easily accessible as they are hidden behind a little latch that flips upwards and connects simply to your car seat (see photo). What we would have liked to see would be that the doors of the Clubman open wider as larger car seats will be more challenging to enter in the car. The same situation arose in our toddler test, the rear door is shaped after the rear wheel making it difficult for a child to enter the vehicle by themselves. A medium sized stroller will easily fit in the trunk of the Clubman, putting your stroller back into the vehicle will be simple as the trunk level is low and flat. Hence, even the smallest person will be able to fill up the trunk of the Clubman.

The Clubman is excellent in the city, it’s gas consumption for a vehicle its size and that is all wheel drive is remarkable. Most cars in its size would struggle to stay under 10L per 100km. The Clubman is simple to park even with its extended size. On this subject, we noticed that the guiding lines in the rear camera are quite precise in the sense that if you follow the green lines your distance to the sidewalk will be just right.

What did we like on the Clubman and why would we buy one? Excellent fuel consumption within the city and on the HWY, large cargo area, style, exclusivity, suicide doors.

What did we like less on the Clubman and why would we not buy one? High priced options, less performance than direct competitors, rear seating space.

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