2019 Mini Clubman S Review: We Love A Small Wagon
$45,900 +ORC ($51,000 on-the-road in NSW)
Price & Specs6.5
Interior & Practicality7
Performance & Economy8
Ride & Handling8
Running Costs & Warranty7
What we like:
  • Quirky design
  • Playful nature
  • Interior quality
What we don't like:
  • Expensive options
  • Price of entry
  • Boot space
7.3DiscoverAuto Rating

After trying the entry-level Cooper hatchback, we’re continuing the Mini theme this week at DiscoverAuto with the larger Clubman. Mini acknowledges that the regular three-door hatch is too small for some buyers, and has widened its range to include both the Countryman SUV and the 2019 Mini Clubman hatch-cum-wagon for buyers still wanting the Mini feel, but more practicality.

Here we test the entry level Clubman, the 2019 Mini Clubman S, to see if personality and practicality can mix. 

Pricing & Specs: 6.5/10

Mini offers just two Clubman models in Australia: the $45,900 (+ORC – around $51,000 drive away) Cooper S tested here, and the all-wheel drive performance JCW, which is priced from $62,900 (around $69,000 on the road). Positioned as the wagon in the Mini range, the Clubman is pitched against a wide range of rivals that also blend practicality and performance. This includes the Skoda Octavia RS and Subaru Levorg, as well as the traditional set of hot hatches – think the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST, Hyundai i30 N and Renault Megane RS.

Standard equipment includes low-speed auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection and forward collision warning (FCW), adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition, automatic LED headlights and wipers with auto high beam, leatherette upholstery, keyless entry and start, electric-opening barn doors (the boot), dual-zone climate control with rear air-vents, 18-inch alloy wheels, an 8.8-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay, a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, satellite navigation with live traffic, digital radio and wireless phone charging with four USB charging points.

Unfortunately, active safety tech such as blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic braking in reverse and lane keep assist is unavailable – yet it’s all standard on the new BMW 1-Series, of which the Mini shares its platform with. Are you an Android user? Sorry, there’s no Android Auto just yet. The digital driver’s display from the Mini E? Not available yet either, unfortunately. 

Like other Mini models, there are a variety of colours, trims and options you can select on your Clubman to make it feel more unique. Our test car featured $900 Chilli Red paint with $200 bonnet stripes and no-cost black 18-inch alloy wheels, as well as the $2,400 Climate Pack with a huge panoramic sunroof, privacy glass and heated front seats, the $2,500 Convenience Pack with an alarm, an auto-dimming rear mirror, 12-way electric front seats with memory functionality, electric-folding and auto-dimming mirrors and a 40/20/40-split rear seat and the $2,400 Media Plus Package, which includes a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, Mini’s concierge system that helps you find parking and so on through the centre screen and a colour heads-up display.

There are also a number of coloured trim and wheel options, as well as endless accessories available to make your Mini truly your own (with a potentially eye-watering price tag to match).

Keep it reasonable however, and you can end up with a pretty well equipped car for under $55,000 drive away.

Engine & Drive: 8.0/10

Perhaps due to its longer wheelbase, the 2019 Mini Clubman S rides better than the standard hatchback – and that’s without the optional adaptive dampers. The rest of the driving experience is just as positive with the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine adding a lot to the experience, in both performance and noise.

Producing 141kW of power and 280Nm of torque, the Cooper S Clubman sprints to 100km/h from 0 in 7.2 seconds and hits a top speed of 228km/h – not amazingly fast, though definitely punchy enough for most people. And if not, the 225kW Clubman JCW (and its 4.9-second 0-100km/h sprint time) is there for those who want it. 

The 2.0-litre engine is punchy but also reasonably efficient when not being driven hard. Mini claims 6.2L/100km on the combined cycle, and we got around 9L/100km in our purely urban test cycle.

This is aided by the standard seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (a six-speed manual is available at no extra – or lesser – cost), which is a lot less jerky than some other DCTs on the market, and suits the car’s character well. 

Road noise is reasonably quiet in the 2019 Mini Clubman Cooper S (though go for the larger wheels and it worsens considerably), and visibility in all directions is good as well – though thanks to the unique barn-door boot, there’s a line permanently in the middle of the car. You get used to it, trust me. 

Interior & Practicality: 7.0/10

Like the Cooper five-door we tested, the Cooper S Clubman’s interior is a well-trimmed, fun and inviting space to spend time. The quality of the materials is excellent, with soft leather on the steering wheel, soft-touch plastics on the doors and dashboard, to ample use of chrome and piano black trim to make it feel modern and plush.

Our test car featured comfortable and supportive sports seats with leatherette trim, though a number of other trims are available including lovely Nappa leather. 

Like other Mini models, centrepiece of the cabin is a colourful touchscreen (8.8-inches in this case) that can also be controlled with the control wheel in the middle of the front seats. Based on BMW’s iDrive infotainment system but with Mini-specific graphics and menus, the screen is easy to use and quite fun.

Wireless Apple CarPlay is standard on all Clubman models, as is digital radio and satellite navigation with live traffic so that you get routed around traffic jams.

There’s also a wireless phone charger in the centre armrest (though it only takes smaller phones such as my iPhone XS), as well as a USB A port in the centre console and three other USB C charging ports elsewhere in the cabin. 

Like the Cooper five-door, the Clubman’s cabin is not the most practical, though it is more spacious than the smaller Mini models.

There’s reasonable storage for your stuff throughout the cabin including two reasonable cupholders, medium-sized door pockets and a shallow centre storage area under the armrest. It’s thankfully much roomier in the rear seat than the regular five-door too – my six-foot frame fits comfortably behind my driving position, and even with the panoramic glass roof, headroom is good as well.

Unlike some competitors, there are rear air-vents to keep passengers comfortable and two ISOFIX points for compatible child seats.

The boot is also larger too at 360-litres. This pales in significance to the Skoda Octavia’s 610L space, or even the Volkswagen Golf’s 380-litres, but it’s still a wide and open space with a surprisingly deep under floor storage area that almost doubles the available space.

Fold the seats down flat and there’s 1,250-litres of space, which is reasonable for a car this size – it doesn’t look like it, but the Clubman is actually shorter than a Golf. So while it’s a wagon, keep in mind that it’s still a Mini.

Running Costs & Warranty: 7.0/10

Because modern day Minis are designed, manufactured, and sold under the corporate wing of its owner BMW, the Clubman mirrors BMW’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and condition-based servicing, in which the car decides on when it needs a service (but one-year/15,000km is a general guide). In an age where rivals such as Skoda and Volkswagen have moved to a five-year term, Mini’s warranty looks mean in comparison. 

You do get three years of roadside assistance though, and service package (which we strongly recommend – get it included in your deal!) pricing is reasonable at $1,495 for five-years/80,000km.

For comparison, the Octavia will cost $1,400 for the first five-years/75,000km of its servicing. The Levorg, on the other hand, will cost a gluttonous $4,605, no doubt crippled by its frequent six-month intervals.

The Mini service plan includes most items, though brake pads/discs, wiper blades and clutch discs/plates are additional costs in the $4,031 ‘plus’ package.

2019 Mini Clubman S DiscoverAuto Rating: 7.3/10

While the 2019 Mini Cooper S Clubman is not a cheap car, it is a fairly premium one both inside and out, and with fun driving dynamics and reasonable practicality (especially for a Mini), it’s a great option.

Yep, larger cars like the Octavia RS are a lot better value for money, but the Mini has a more premium interior and is just as fun to drive. Mixing both fun and practicality, the Mini Cooper S Clubman is a fun little wagon.

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