Whilst there is a huge trend for compact SUVs at the moment, some are more style than substance. Looking like a 4×4 doesn’t necessarily mean it has all wheel drive, as many discovered whilst the British weather was being rather unpredictable. AWD has become increasingly popular as it adds an extra sense of security and usability to the family car. However, not everyone wants an SUV and so some manufacturers have started to offer their hatchbacks with a more capable response to terrain. This is the 2016 Mini Clubman All4 and it is a rather unique answer to the issue of lacking traction.
Visually the 2016 Mini Clubman All4 looks identical to its front wheel drive sibling, not necessarily a bad thing. Now, whilst proportionally this may look like a long car, it is a trick of the eye as this model is actually shorter than a Volkswagen Golf. Those big round headlights are pure Mini, but this is defiantly the most grown-up car from the brand. It looks premium with chrome detailing and its floating roofline. In SD form the bonnet scoop, sportier bumpers, and dual exhaust pipes, add a subtle sporting note. I rather liked this new blue featured on our test car too.
That word “premium” can be again used when it comes to the interior as the Clubman, much like the latest Mini hatch, has increased its perceived quality and design. Glossy plastics and metallic inserts look expensive and the interesting design of the centre console makes for a unique interior that could only be that of a Mini. Supportive leather seats are comfortable as well as heated. Amongst the aircraft inspired switchgear you will find dual zone climate control and the ergonomic controls to the cars infotainment system. The rear bench seats three with the two outermost posts happily accommodating adults, however, the middle passenger does have to straddle the transmission tunnel. Colourful ambient lighting, akin to that found in a trendy wine bar, that changes dependant on the cars mood is a nice touch. Open the Clubman’s signature double boot doors and you have access to a 360 litre boot with a nice flat floor. The only downside is that rear visibility is impaired by the divide those doors cause and so a reversing camera is a must.
Powering this Mini Clubman All4 SD is a 2.0 litre turbocharged diesel engine producing 187 BHP and a highly usable 400 Nm of torque. An 8 speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox option for the SD, but it is very good at its job. Upon request it will swap cogs quickly and smoothly to the point where passengers will likely not notice it happening. When left to its own devises it is rather unflappable too. Power can be sent to all four wheels via an electronic differential. During normal driving the car is primarily front wheel drive, but when the onboard computer sense a loss in traction all four wheels are powered. All wheel drive is also engaged during more spirited driving enabling better displacement of the Clubman’s power. This is notable in a faster 0-62 MPH time of 7.2 seconds. Top speed, incase you were curious, is 138 MPH. Select “Sport Mode” and enjoy weightier steering, faster gear changes, and a sharper throttle response. Whilst the Mini Clubman All4 does have a firmer ride than its competition, the reward is brilliant control over lateral body motion. In typical Mini fashion it is quick to change direction and feels alert. Factor in the added stability and grip from having all wheel drive and a strong argument for this being the best Clubman variant arises. Head onto the motorway and again the Mini pleases. Other than a bit of road noise refinement levels are good. Setting the radar guided cruise control, the car is very happy to munch motorway miles like they are going out of fashion. It has no issue with disposing of dawdlers either as you can responsibly summon it torque and be on your merry way. Mini claims that this All4 will do 58.9 MPG on the combined cycle and emit 126g/km CO2.
This Mini Clubman All4 SD is a very well rounded package offering all of the fun-loving Mini traits and a good dose of practicality. Specifically this car is now more versatile and equipped to deal with harsher weather conditions more confidently than many C-Segment alternatives. You can have the Clubman All4 from £24,285 in Cooper S guise or £27,390 as an SD. Trinkets such as satellite navigation come standard. The All4 is on sale now.