Access to front seats is fairly easy as the front doors are longer than the hatchback, although you do tend to sit quite low, so watch out if you have mobility issues.
Ease of Use
Access to front seats is fairly easy as the front doors are longer than the hatchback, although you do tend to sit quite low, so watch out if you have mobility issues. Forward vision is good, side vision is reasonable but rear vision is hampered by the vertical pillars of rear door.
The MINI Clubman features the 'Clubdoor' on the driver's side of the car which hinges back, opening against the direction of travel to allow easier access to the rear of the car. It can only be opened when the driver's door is open. The problem is that although it does aid access to the rear it is on the wrong side for the UK. It should be on the passenger's side or the kerb side - I wouldn't want my children stepping out into the traffic.
Although there are five seats, you will struggle to fit three adults in the rear seats, in fact you might struggle to fit three children. According to MINI the middle seat is only suitable for passengers weighing less than 49kgs. There is an option for only two rear seats which I would imagine would give the two rear occupants more space.
There are ISOFIX fittings on the two outer rears seats which ensures the secure installation of child seats. The front passenger airbag can be deactivated with a key should you wish to place a child seat in the front.
Access to the boot is superb via the split rear doors which hinge on the outside opening to the left and right. The rear light clusters are fixed on the main body structure of the car (rather than the rear doors) to meet legal requirements that state rear lights must be visible from behind at all times.
The boot can swallow 100 litres more luggage than the hatchback at 260 litres. We could fit in our child's pushchair, without folding down a seat. With the rear seats folded down the luggage space increases to 930 litres (250 litres more than the hatch). There is also some space under the load floor and cubby holes in the rear doors.
Although retro and true to the original MINI we do not like the centred mounted speedometer it is not particularly natural to your line of vision but you can select to have the speed digitally displayed in the rev counter which is in your line of vision.
We still find the toggle switch gear awkward to use and sometimes difficult to locate - not really an improvement on the first generation MINI but I guess you would get used to it.
The MINI Clubman is a comfortable place to be, the leather sports seats are supportive and well padded. We do not like the seat tilt levers, preferring rotary dial controls to get the ideal recline.
There is a little more road noise than we would have liked but it is not that bad and you can enjoy the Cooper S engine note.
We were surprised that you only get air-conditioning as standard and not climate control as and cloth seats - leather is extra.
Our test car was fitted with optional Bi-Xenon headlights which if I was doing a lot of night time driving I would specify as they make an excellent job of lighting the road ahead and increase the distance you can see.
We liked the optional ambient lighting package fitted to our test car which allows the interior lighting of the car to be changed from blue through to orange - not for practical purposes but for fun.