2018 Mini Cooper Clubman – In Depth Review

When the Clubman first came out, it looked like a stretched Mini Hardtop with distinctive quirks like a rear opening side passenger door and a swing-out tailgate. The 2018 Mini Clubman is much more conventional in design and aims to provide practicality as well as style.

The Clubman starts at $24,800 for the base model and its top trim costs $36,000. For a subcompact car, that price tag is huge! It comes with 3 engine choices, one for each trim. All trims come with a 6-speed manual transmission. The base trim comes with an optional six-speed automatic, while the top two trims have an optional eight-speed automatic transmission. FWD is standard on bottom two trims with optional AWD. The top JCW trim comes only with AWD.

You can definitely find other cars that provide more power or more features at a lower price. But when it comes to style quotient, very few can match what the Mini Clubman has to offer. It may be pricey, but drive it around town and the attention you’ll get will make you forget how much you paid for this Mini!

What’ll impress you

  • Large cargo space
  • Upscale interior
  • Powerful engine
  • Nimble and predictable handling
  • AWD available

What Won’t

  • Poor fuel efficiency
  • Noisy ride
  • High base price
  • Few safety features
  • Not as fun as the Mini Hardtop 4 Door

What’s New in 2018 Mini Clubman?

Rearview camera and rear parking sensors now standard

2018 Mini Clubman Trims

Trims

Cooper Cooper S John Cooper Works All4
MSRP $24,800 $28,450

$35,900

Features

Dual-zone automatic climate control

selectable driving modes

Simulated leather upholstery

Leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel

multicolor ambient lighting

6.5-inch central display

Smartphone app integration

Rearview camera

Six-speaker sound system

All features of base Cooper, plus:

17-inch wheels

Dual exhaust tips

Extra styling flourishes

Fog lights

Front sport seats with adjustable thigh support

All features of ‘S’, plus:

All-wheel drive

18-inch wheels

LED headlights

Rear spoiler

Sport-tuned suspension

Keyless entry

Rear parking sensors

Sport steering wheel

Simulated suede and cloth upholstery

The 2018 Mini Clubman comes in three trim levels: Cooper, Cooper S, and John Cooper Works. These trims are mostly differentiated by the engine under their hood. The Cooper and Cooper S are relatively close in their price range while John Cooper Works has quite a jump in price, though its list of added features is impressive.

The Cooper and Cooper S come standard with FWD, while AWD is also available for about $1,800. John Cooper Works only comes with AWD. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic for the base Cooper trim and an eight-speed automatic transmission for the upper two trims is also available.

We Recommend

Upgrading to the Cooper S trim is recommended as it offers an extra punch thanks to its more powerful engine without raising the base price too much. As far as packages go, the Technology package which adds Apple CarPlay, larger touchscreen with navigation, and a parking aid is a good buy. The premium package adds keyless entry and premium audio, it also adds a panoramic roof which doesn’t look that good on a Mini. For this reason, rather than going for the premium package, adding those two features as standalone is recommended.

2018 Mini Clubman Engine and Performance

“Today’s Clubman is heavier than the previous model, but it didn’t get enough of a power bump to offset the extra weight. Because of this, the base model isn’t particularly spry. The larger 2.0-liter engine in the Clubman S and JCW would certainly provide better performance” – Edmunds

Engine and Transmission

2018 Mini Clubman Engine
2018 Mini Clubman Engine

The 2018 Mini Clubman has three engine options, one for each trim level. The base trim uses a 1.5-liter turbocharged I-3 (134hp and 162 lb.-ft.), the Cooper S uses a 2-liter turbocharged I-4 (189hp and 207 lb.-ft.), and the John Cooper Works uses a 2-liter turbocharged I-4 (228hp and 258 lb.-ft.).

John Cooper Works only comes with AWD, while Cooper and Cooper S come with FWD, but can be upgraded to AWD. 6-speed manual transmission is standard, but a 6-speed automatic transmission for Cooper and 8-speed automatic transmission for Cooper S and John Cooper Works is available.

Models Mini Clubman (Cooper) Honda Civic Hatchback (LX) VW Golf SportWagen (S) Mazda 3 (Sport)
MSRP $24,800 $20,050 $21,685 $18,095
Engine 1.5 Liter, 3-Cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo engine 1.5L I-4 DOHC 16-Valve Turbocharged engine 1.8L turbo charged  inline4 engine 2.0L DOHC 16-valve 4-cylinder engine
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed automatic 6 speed  manual
Power 134hp 174hp 170hp 155hp
Torque 162 lb.-ft. 167 lb.-ft. 199 lb.-ft. 150 lb.-ft.

The base engine of 2018 Mini Clubman is not particularly impressive. Although the Clubman is about $4,000 more expensive than its closest rivals, they provide a better performing base engine. The Honda Civic Hatchback’s 1.5-liter I-4 produces 174hp and 167 lb.-ft. of torque, while being more than $4,500 cheaper. VW Golf SportWagen’s 1.8-liter engine produces 170hp and an impressive 199 lb.-ft. of torque. The closest to Cooper’s numbers in the Mazda3, with 155hp and 150 lb.-ft. of torque, although it is about $6,800 cheaper.

Acceleration

The base engine of the 2018 Mini Clubman is just about alright for normal, everyday drives. But try to merge with traffic on the highway or try to gun at a stop sign, and it starts to feel slow and unresponsive. Although there is a Sport mode, still most rivals do better. The 2-liter engines do much better.

Models Mini Clubman (Cooper) Honda Civic Hatchback (LX) VW Golf SportWagen (S) Mazda3 (Sport)
0-60 MPH 8.9 sec 7.5 sec 7.8 sec 7.9 sec
Quarter mile 16.5 SEC @ 83.8 mph 15.5 sec @ 91.5 mph 15.9 sec @ 87 mph 16.2 sec @ 89mph
Engine 1.5L 1.5L 1.8L 2.0L

Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

6.3 5.3 6.1 5.6

As you’d expect from a weak base engine, the Clubman trails behind the competition in the acceleration tests. The fastest among the competition is the Honda Civic Hatchback with a time of 7.5 seconds in the 0-60mph test. The Clubman took an extra 1.4 seconds in this test. At the quarter mile mark, Civic’s lead reduced to 1 second, so the Clubman did pace up a little, if not much.

Handling and Steering

The Clubman provides a reassuring ride and nimble handling. Though it’s not as fun to drive as the smaller Cooper, most people prefer Clubman’s calm and composed drive over the go-kart feel Cooper is famous for.

Clubman’s steering is precise and balanced. It provides a good road feedback in all drive modes. The steering responds well to initial steering inputs, but is more composed and deliberate rather than eager and frenetic as you’d expect from a Cooper.

Braking

The Clubman has one of the ablest brakes in the class. The brakes are smooth in everyday drives and feel stable and confident in panic stops. The Cooper S takes just 107 feet in the 60-0 mph panic stop test, that’s commendable considering it uses all-season tires.

Model Mini Clubman (Cooper) Honda Civic Hatchback (LX) VW Golf SportWagen (S) Mazda 3 (Sport)
Brake Front(in) 11.0 11.1 11.3 11.0
Brake Rear(in) 10.2 10.2 10.7 10.4
Curb weight (lbs.) 3105 2822 3120 2899
60-0 MPH (ft.) 113 115 117 120

The Clubman might have been behind the competition in power and acceleration department, but braking is Clubman’s turf. With a distance of 113 feet in 60-0 panic stop test, the Clubman takes 7 feet less than the Mazda, which takes the most distance of 120 feet. The Civic, despite being the lightest, takes a couple of feet more than the Clubman, the VW Golf takes 2 feet more than the Civic.

Fuel Economy

Being fuel efficient is something the Clubman is not known for. With a combined economy of 28mpg, the 2018 Mini Clubman is well below the class average. Given how small the base engine is, these numbers are quite disappointing.

Model Mini Clubman (Cooper) Honda Civic Hatchback (LX) VW Golf SportWagen (S) Mazda 3 (Sport)
mpg (city) 24 29 25 28
mpg (highway) 34 38 34 38
mpg (combined) 28 33 29 32

The Clubman and the VW Golf Sportwagen are at the bottom of the efficiency table, with the VW being 1mpg ahead of Clubman in city mileage. The most economical engine is under the Civic’s hood, followed closely by the Mazda3.

2018 Mini Clubman Exterior

2018 Mini Clubman Side View
2018 Mini Clubman Side View

“Even with the introduction of the longer, 4-door Hardtop, the Clubman looks like nothing else in the Mini lineup. At over 168 inches in length, it has nearly a foot on the 4-door Hardtop, though by most standards is still a small car.” – Kelley Blue Book

Design and Dimensions

The Clubman may have ‘Mini’ on its hood, but it’s one of the biggest in Mini lineup, though it’s still small in relation to other cars in the class. Although there is not much distinction in the design of any mini, the Clubman is distinguished by a pair of rear doors that open like barn-doors.

Model Mini Clubman (Cooper) Honda Civic Hatchback (LX) VW Golf SportWagen (S) Mazda 3 (Sport)
Curb Weight (lbs) 3105 2822 3120 2899
Length (in) 168.3 177.9 179.8 180.3
Width (in) 70.9 70.8 70.8 70.7
Height (in) 56.7 56.5 58.3 57.3
Ground clearance (in) 6.3 5.1 5.4 6.1
Wheelbase (in) 105.1 106.3 103.5 106.3
Track width (in) F/R 61.6/61.4 60.9/61.5 61/59.9 61.2/61.4

The rear door style of the Clubman does raise some problems. Firstly, since they open like barn doors, they have a huge pillar in the middle when they are closed, which hinders the rear visibility. The 2018 Mini Clubman decided to ditch the single and awkward rear-hinged door for four proper doors, which is a good idea.

Exterior Features

Some of the exterior features include:

  • P195/55 R16 Run-flat tires
  • Power heated side mirrors
  • Lip Spoiler
  • Split swing-out rear cargo access
  • Fully Automatic Aero-Composite Halogen Daytime Running Headlamps w/Delay-Off
  • Perimeter/Approach Lights

2018 Mini Clubman Interior

“The 2018 Mini Clubman upholds the nameplate’s playful styling but adds more practicality than you’ll find in the smaller Mini Cooper Hardtop. Comfortable seating for up to five people and an expansive cargo space are among its positives, and there’s a large collection of options available to customize its upscale interior. The infotainment system is easy to use once you get beyond its initial learning curve” – US News

Cabin

The ‘Mini’ written on any car ensures that the focus is on style rather than function. Thankfully, the Clubman changed its approach and evolved in a way that incorporates both. You’ll find that Clubman’s cabin is more practical than Mini Cooper Hartop’s.

Clubman can seat up to 5 people. Even in the rear seats, there is plenty of headroom. Spacious seatings, expansive cargo space, and a user-friendly infotainment system are its positives.

Seating and Comfort

2018 Mini Clubman Interior
2018 Mini Clubman Interior

The 2018 Mini Clubman seats 5 people and comes standard with synthetic leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Leather upholstery, high-grade cloth upholstery, heated front seats, front sport seats with added bolstering, and an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat are also available. The seats have plenty of padding, but the cushions are on the firm side. The seats provide good lateral support and a decent lumbar support even without the upgraded power seats

Model Mini Clubman (Cooper) Honda Civic Hatchback (LX) VW Golf SportWagen (S) Mazda 3 (Sport)
Passenger capacity 5 5 5 5
Passenger Volume (ft.3) 92.5 97.2 94.3 96.3
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 40.2/54.7/41.4 39.3/57.0/42.3 38.6/55.9/41.2 38.6/57.2/42.2
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 38.0/52.8/34.3 37.4/55.0/36.0 38.6/53.9/35.6 37.6/54.4/35.8

The cabin has more room than before with plenty of padded surfaces. The Clubman may be a large Mini, but it’s still smaller than most rivals. Its high roof gives its excellent headroom in both rows. But shoulder and legroom are still less than the rivals.

Interior Features

Here is a list of the standout features in the 2018 Mini Clubman’s cabin:

  • 5-inch display
  • Mini Connected interface
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Rearview camera
  • Rear parking sensors

Some optional features include:

  • 8-inch touch-screen navigation system
  • Satellite radio
  • Wireless charging for smartphones
  • 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system
  • Dual-pane panoramic sunroof
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high beams
  • Parallel park assist
  • Heads-up display

Infotainment

2018 Mini Clubman Infotainment System
2018 Mini Clubman Infotainment System

The standard infotainment system in the 2018 Mini Clubman consists of a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a Mini Connected interface, a USB port, and Bluetooth. The system is quite user-friendly once you get past the initial learning curve.

An optional 8.8-inch touchscreen and 12 speaker Harman Kardon sound system is also available. The display screen sits in the iconic circular frame. Mini may have enhanced Clubman’s practicality, but they did not compromise with the style.

Cargo

2018 Mini Clubman Cargo Space
2018 Mini Clubman Cargo Space

The 2018 Mini Clubman offers 17.5 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, and the 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats fold down to create 47.9 cubic feet of space. The rear swing-out cargo doors allow easy access. The underfloor cargo storage is brilliantly designed.

Model Mini Clubman (Cooper) Honda Civic Hatchback (LX) VW Golf SportWagen (S) Mazda 3 (Sport)
Behind 2nd Row (ft3) 17.5 25.7 30.4 20.2
2nd Row Folded (ft3) 47.9 46.2 66.5 47.1

The Clubman is a large car compared to other Minis, but not compared to other rivals. The cargo area behind the rear seats is quite less than Civic’s, Mazda’s, or Golf SportWagen’s. But once the rear seats are folded, Clubman offers more space than the Civic or the Mazda3. The VW Golf SportWagen offers the most space with seats up, as well as seats folded.

2018 Mini Clubman Head-to-Head Competition

Honda Civic Hatchback

The Honda Civic Hatchback is one of the most practical and economical cars on the market. Pair that with Honda’s reliability and you have a real winner. Not only does the Civic cost less than Clubman, it provides better mileage, roomier cabin, and a powerful array of engines.

The only criteria where the Clubman gives a real fight to the Civic is in its style and design. It stands higher than Civic, and looks more iconic. So if your priority is style and uniqueness, and you don’t mind spending some extra cash, go for the Clubman. Otherwise, the Civic offers more practicality and a large array of standard features at a decent price, not to mention a better resale value.

Volkswagen Golf SportWagen

Just like the Civic Hatchback, the VW Golf SportWagen provides powerful engine at a cheaper price tag. As far as mileage goes, the Golf SportWagen is just as thirsty as the Clubman, with Volkswagen being just a tad ahead in city mileage.

The rear seat comfort is better in Clubman, as Golf’s rear seats sit awkwardly low, creating an uncomfortable angle at the knees. The Clubman also has nicer interiors. But Golf’s cabin is much quieter than Clubman’s, which suffers from loud wind and road noise.

Mazda3

The Mazda3 is more of a practical compact car for those who want the best things a small budget can provide. It doesn’t have exceptionally powerful engines, but it does have an upscale cabin and a high fuel economy. But it lacks the flair the Clubman can provide. If your budget allows you, go for the Clubman. Otherwise, your wallet will thank you for picking the Mazda.

2018 Mini Clubman Safety Ratings and Features

The 2018 Clubman has not undergone any crash tests conducted by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Traffic Safety Administration.

The 2018 Mini Clubman comes standard with:

  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Rearview camera
  • Rear parking sensors

Optional upgrades include:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high beams
  • Parallel park assist
  • Heads-up display

Final Verdict for 2018 Mini Clubman

The 2018 Mini Clubman is one of the most highly rated subcompact cars. It is lively with its great lineup of peppy engines, which highlights Mini’s playful persona. Besides powerful engines, the Clubman ranks high in style and driving dynamics. The Clubman is just as much fun to drive and look at as it is practical.

However, all this comes at a cost. The Clubman’s base price is significantly higher than the class average. And it is for that reason that it’s recommended to look through some other options, like the Civic Hatchback or the Mazda3.

For a subcompact car that costs as much as the Clubman, you’d expect it to have more to offer. The Clubman gets full marks in terms of style and power, but there are many rivals who offer much more in a more agreeable price. Still, the Clubman was and will remain one of the most memorable cars on the road.

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