Just as much fun as a standard Mini, whichever economical engine you choose
Dashboard is a confusing clash of retro styling and modern switches
All the kit's there, even stability control is standard, but you'll want to take care getting out of the back door
Mini's reputation is pretty solid, and the car should be too
More space for passengers and luggage than in the three-door but it's hardly an estate car
Alloys, MP3-compatible stereo and electric windows are standard but you can add options till you pop
You'll recognize all the engines from the three-door Mini line-up, and all of them - from the 1.6 diesel up through the 1.6 petrol to the turbocharged 1.6 in the Cooper S - deliver strong pull and good effortless driveability. The Clubman has an 80mm-longer wheelbase than the three-door Mini and revised suspension settings, and this slightly changes the handling balance. It's not quite as sharp into corners, but a little more compliant over bumps. It's lost little of the three-door's verve and fun-to-drive character, though. All engines are smooth and sweet-sounding, but there are some refinement issues elsewhere. You occasionally hear the wind buffeting at those unorthodox body panels, especially around the rear windows, and some road noise makes it through into the cabin as well.
There's 80mm more rear kneeroom and a minimum of 100 litres more luggage capacity than in the three-door, so the Clubman can seat four adults (just) and carry their baggage for a weekend away. Space, then, is reasonable. Not so practicality. There are two doors at the back (a throwback to the original Mini estate) instead of a tailgate, as well as one side door on the left and two on the right, which means rear passengers will be exiting into the traffic flow - and through a rear-hinged door. There are Cooper, Cooper S, Cooper D and Works trims, each with the same level of specification available on the equivalent three-door car, as well as one or two Clubman exclusives such as a third rear headrest and black or silver rear door pillars.
Mini's reliability record isn't brilliant, with owners of rating mechanical reliability as only average in the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey. All versions of come with lots of safety kit, though, including stability control and six airbags. The Clubman hasn't been crash-tested by Euro NCAP.
Like all Minis, the Clubman is a tempting ownership proposition; although its pricey to buy it'll be worth a fortune when you decide to sell, and running costs are very reasonable. Just don't expect proper estate practicality.