Over the years we’ve been lucky enough to have a number of long term MINI test cars. Some we’ve ordered with your input while others have come a bit more ad hoc. This years tester is the latter but you won’t hear us complain. For one it’s a new Clubman – the same car we loved in our initial test drive a month back. Secondly it’s smartly specced Cooper s model with pretty much all you’d need without a price that waters the eyes.
Lets start with the basics. The 2016 Clubman is replaces our 2015 F56 Cooper S (a full wrap-up is coming) and will be with us for a full 12 months. As per usual we’ll be testing the Clubman by putting it through the daily rigor of life. Road-tripping, commuting and simply living with it day in and day out.
So what’s in our F54? At $36,600 it’s fairly but not fully loaded. Key options include the aforementioned manual transmission, technology and premium packages, LED headlights, HUD, heated seats, Pure Burgundy Cross-Punch leather seats and those great looking 17″ Net Spoke wheels. The Clubby is finished in Melting Silver and a black top. While there are a few options we would have loved (cold weather package with folding mirrors and a right side that dips when reversing is required IMHO), this is really compelling vehicle for $36k.
Which really brings us to our first conclusion. Two days in, living with this MINI is unlike any we’ve ever had. Compared with the 2012 Countryman (our last four door MINI we had as a long term tester) the Clubman is faster, more efficient, better screwed together and leagues better in terms of material quality. In short this is a MINI that finally like the premium MINI has been promising us since 2001.
Why didn’t we wait for the All4 option? Having lived with an All4 Countryman a few years back, we’re not convinced the traction benefits (mostly seen in snowy conditions) outweigh the extra mass you carry around (whether you need it or not). But we’ll have a more full formed opinion after testing the new All4 Clubman in a few months.
Look for much more on our Clubman in the days, weeks and months ahead. In the meantime check out the full build below and sound off in the comments with what you like about it, what you don’t and how you’d build your Clubman.