2016 Mini Cooper Clubman 1.5T Manual

Nearly every Mini we test these days gives us sticker shock: We’ve seen a base-model Cooper Hardtop that broke the $30,000 mark and a ridiculously pricey John Cooper Works Countryman that rang in at an unbelievable $46,045. But the window sticker for the Mini Clubman reviewed here was shocking for a different reason: At $26,500, it was cheaper than any Mini we’ve tested since 2011—and it was a whopping $13,000 less than a loaded Clubman S we tested earlier this year.

To get a Clubman for such a low price requires steering clear of all sorts of options. Our car was equipped with only three extras: satellite radio ($300), heated front seats ($500), and 17-inch black-painted wheels ($750). The extra bits of visual flair that so many Mini owners love—such as Union Jack flags on the roof and racing stripes on the hood—are absent here, as are traditional big-ticket features such as leather seats, a panoramic sunroof, and navigation.

Some unexpectedly upscale features do come standard, including rain-sensing windshield wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, and push-button start. But we’re more frustrated by the amenities that Mini charges extra for, such as a backup camera ($500 plus a required addition of parking sensors for $500), proximity-key access ($500), power front seats ($1250), and those not available for any cost, including blind-spot warning and remote start.

Price Perspective

Even so, it’s a lot easier to see the appeal of the Clubman’s overall package when viewing it through a $26,000 lens and not a $40,000 one. Its larger, well-proportioned body presents a pleasing shape that looks long, wide, and wagonlike. And the new four-door arrangement (six if you count the split-opening cargo doors, as Mini does) and longer wheelbase create a more spacious back seat that’s even roomy enough for adults. The useful cargo area also offers 18 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up and a relatively expansive 49 cubic feet with them folded. Read more...

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17 Jan 2017