Not quite as much fun to drive as the three-door model, but still very much a Mini
The retro styling effect is starting to feel contrived, especially as it's not that easy to use
Stability control and cabin-length head airbags are reassuring
Mini Clubman owners gave only 'average' marks for reliability in latest survey
More space inside than a standard Mini One, but those extra doors don't make life much easier
You'll want to add to the basic kit list; we'd plump for the Pepper Pack for the best value
The Mini Clubman's wheelbase is just 24cm is a longer than the standard three-door model's, but this is enough to make the Clubman more forgiving over bumps, though it also means it's not quite as sharp into corners. You'll want to rev the petrol engine to get the best from it, but it's a smooth performer and never feels or sounds coarse. The diesel engine is more economical but it's not as much fun.
Those added inches mean there's enough knee room for two adults to sit comfortably in the back, and while the boot is far from big, it's a lot more practical than a standard Mini's. The big drawback, however, is the extra, rear-hinged door on the right-hand side for rear passengers to exit - in this country this puts them straight into the traffic flow. The two rear doors in place of the tailgate are quirky without offering extra practicality.
Like other Minis, the Clubman feels well built, if not as classy as the price might lead you to expect. However, owners rated the Clubman's mechanical reliability as merely 'average' in the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey. Safety kit is comprehensive, including stability control and ISOFIX child seat fittings, but cost-cutting is responsible for the car's biggest flaw - that right-hand rear door is fine in right-hand drive countries, but why couldn't Mini stretch to swapping it to the left-hand side for the UK?
For Mini fans who want more space the Clubman will be an appealing option, though it's also worth considering a Mini Countryman, which comes with two full-size rear doors. The Clubman's running costs are kept in check by the stop-start engine system and the diesel Clubman claims to manage 72mpg while emitting just 103g/km CO2. Mini's resale values are usually top-notch. All cars get electric front windows, remote central locking and a CD player, but anything else costs extra.