Perhaps the most outspoken mouth-piece of the British automotive press has had his week in a Clubman and the results aren’t pretty:
>Unfortunately, after a week, I have decided it’s one of the worst cars in the world. About as desirable as a packet of dung or a can of worms. Truthfully? I’d rather have a goat.
While it’s true that this is a man who writes more of an op-ed piece than real review, he does have some legitimate gripes:
>The first problem is the single rear passenger door. It’s on the right-hand side of the car, which is fine if you live in Germany or America, where everyone drives on the wrong side of the road – pull up at the kerb and your kids get out onto the pavement. But here in Britain, where we do things properly, your kids are forced to get out into the traffic.
>Then there’s the boot. Yes, access is good, and yes, you get 100 more litres of space than you do in the normal Mini. But it’s still pretty small. As that September review pointed out, the boot in a Honda Jazz is 100 litres bigger.
>Furthermore, you can see out of the back of a Honda Jazz. You can see out of the back of most cars, in fact. Seeing out of the back is jolly useful and is one of the reasons the Lamborghini Countach was not a big seller. But you can’t see out of the back of a Mini Clubman. Glance in the rear-view mirror and all you can see is the pillar where the two doors meet.
Interestingly this all comes from the same man who loves the new MINI Coupe (R56):
>I should make it plain from the outset that I like the normal Mini. I think that although it has a wheelbase longer than the Land Rover Defender, and therefore isn’t mini at all, it has a lot of charm and so many natty design features, you really don’t care that the back is suitable only for Anne Boleyn and that the boot couldn’t handle even half a king charles spaniel.
>I was therefore expecting great things from the Clubman. Because here is a car that offers all of the Mini’s edge-thin, Conran-cute design stuff in a package that doesn’t force you to amputate your passengers’ extremities.
At the end of the day we love Clarkson like a crazy uncle. After all this is a man who hates the canonized Porsche 911 and famously mentioned that a BMWs GPS seemed to only point towards Poland. You know that 2/3rds of what he says is rubbish and he seems to only care about making esoteric critiques that no one else has thought of. But damn if that other 1/3rd doesn’t make sense while being funny as hell.
You can read the entire review below:
[ Mini Cooper S Clubman ] Times of London