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First drive: MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.

First drive: MINI Clubman ALL4
MINI Cooper SD Clubman gets ALL4 four-wheel drive traction, and a hike in price.

   



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MINI Clubman ALL4

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MINI's Cooper SD Clubman gains an ALL4 four-wheel drive system for even more choice in the line-up, though you'd have to really need the traction benefits it brings to consider it.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: MINI Cooper SD Clubman ALL4
Price: 27,390
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: four-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: compact five-door estate
CO2 emissions: 129g/km (Band D, 110 per year)
Combined economy: 57.6mpg
Top speed: 138mph
0-62mph: 7.2 seconds
Power: 190hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750- to 2,500rpm

What's this?

A four-wheel drive MINI estate, in essence. The Clubman is the firm's take on an estate, adding a bit of practicality to MINI's usual fun and funky package. If you're looking for outright load-lugging ability then you should look elsewhere, though the Clubman does add some useful space over its cramped hatchback relation for families determined to have a MINI on their driveway. And now they can have one with ALL4 four-wheel drive too, for when that driveway is slippery, presumably.

A bit of an odd looker, the Clubman is certainly distinctive, which is kind of the point, though MINI's own Countryman does the practicality bit just as well (if not better) with the advantage of a higher driving position. The interior is everything you'd expect and hope for in a MINI, which means lots of toggle switches, plenty of options and more lights than Brighton Pier, but it's refreshingly different from its far more conservative competition, which is a big part of its appeal.

How does it drive?

MINIs have traditionally hung onto their fun-to-drive character in all their variations of the theme. There's an exception here, though. Adding ALL4 four-wheel drive to the Cooper SD Clubman doesn't do it any favours. There's more weight for a start, while the traction advantages it might bring are all but imperceptible in ordinary driving conditions. It loses some of its entertaining make-up as a result, as front-wheel drive models are more engaging, and - crucially - more frugal and cheaper.

However, the steering is quick, the ride comfort good and the damping nicely judged, but the All4 Clubman doesn't really live up to its Cooper SD billing. There's a bit of noise from that diesel too, along with some vibration, while wind noise at motorway speeds starts to become tiresome. In ALL4 form combined with the 2.0-litre turbodiesel it's only available with the eight-speed automatic too, which is very keen to shift up (regardless of mode) in the pursuit of economy. That, combined with the additional four-wheel drive hardware, makes for a 190hp MINI that never feels particularly brisk, which, given its useful 400Nm torque figure, is a little bit disappointing.

Verdict

MINIs are a little bit niche by their nature, but the Cooper SD Clubman All4 takes it to a new extreme, fitting a very specific set of parameters and coming with compromises as a result. The Countryman SD does all that the Clubman does, only for less money. If you really need a four-wheel drive hatch then an Audi A3 quattro will entertain more - though would admittedly fade into the automotive scenery in a way no MINI will. A Skoda Octavia Scout fulfils the lifestyle diesel estate question better, with loads more space, and it you want a looker that'll stand out then the Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brake fills that brief. The Clubman's not without appeal elsewhere in the line-up, but it's not shown in its best light here.

3 3 3 3 3 Exterior Design

3 3 3 3 3 Interior Ambience

3 3 3 3 3 Passenger Space

3 3 3 3 3 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

3 3 3 3 3 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 20 May 2016



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2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.

2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.2016 MINI Clubman ALL4. Image by MINI.








 

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