The world has changed drastically since Mini’s car first roamed the streets, and the storied British automaker has had to adapt. After its revival in the early 2000s, the now-BMW-owned MINI has diversified its lineup to include a few models beyond the standard Cooper, including the Clubman, a wagon-like MINI with extra space but the same spunky attitude.
Though it’s still a MINI, the Clubman is a more family-friendly Cooper, with seating for five and up to 44 cubic feet of storage. MINI also equips the car with a panoramic sunroof and split rear doors for more luxury and easier loading of the cargo hold. That said, it’s far less practical than most of its rivals, including the Audi A4 Allroad, Subaru Outback, and any number of subcompact crossovers.
MINI offers the Clubman with two engines, depending on the configuration. The Cooper S Clubman comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 189 horsepower and 189 pound-feet of torque. The John Cooper Works Clubman ALL4 gets the same engine with revised fuel injection. It makes 301 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. While the John Cooper Works comes standard with all-wheel drive, it’s a $2,000 option otherwise.
The Clubman may lack all-out practicality, but it’s quicker and more fun to drive than much of its competition. It’s also a handler, offering a degree of sharpness that a typical crossover or wagon can’t. The John Cooper Works car is even quicker and sharper, though it does deliver a rough ride at times. Zero to 60 acceleration estimates peg the standard Clubman at around 6.5 seconds.
The base Clubman with a manual transmission returns 23 mpg city, 33 highway, and 26 combined. Those numbers change a bit with an automatic transmission to 25, 35, and 29, and all-wheel drive takes a little fun out of the equation, at 23 city, 32 highway, and 26 combined.
On the tech front, the Clubman gets an 8.8-inch touchscreen display that runs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s mounted inside funky colored rings that shifts hues depending on the selected drive mode. Other standard tech features include six speakers, an AM/FM tuner, HD Radio, Bluetooth, ambient interior lighting, and SiriusXM radio.
The Clubman is surprisingly luxurious inside for a MINI, with a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, dual-zone climate controls, heated front sport seats, and keyless access. Though this MINI is designed to seat five, it’s important to note that even a large Cooper is still a small car, and taller adults may not have the best time riding in the back.
MINI doesn’t offer all the advanced safety goodies that buyers expect, but the Clubman does come standard with a few goodies, including an active driving assistant with forward-collision warnings and lane-departure alerts, a rearview camera, heated exterior mirrors, LED headlights, and a rear parking distance control system. As of this writing, the 2023 MINI Cooper Clubman has not been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).