Motors 

MINI CLUBMAN (2015)

MINI CLUBMAN (2015)

Mini is without doubt the master at creating a plethora of models from a single platform, so it’s no surprise to see a concept version of the Clubman estate based on the latest Mk3 Mini underpinnings. Up front the Clubman has the same deeply sloping headlights and elongated bonnet as the Mk3 hatch, but it has two rear doors and a markedly different rear end. Instead of the single rear-hinged suicide door of the previous Clubman, the concept has two forward-hinged doors, making it a much more practical proposition. Not everything is new though, there are still two single, barn-style doors giving access to the boot, which is around 100 litres bigger than before. The new model is 26cm longer, 17cm wider and slightly taller than before, making the Clubman larger than the Countryman SUV. Inside, the driver is presented with a sophisticated electronic dash that apparently showcases the design of future models. But again there is a nod to the past – the centerpiece of the dash is the traditional large round dial. A true VW Golf rival, it’s the first Mini with enough space for five passengers. And with an estimated 360 litres of boot space, it should also be able to swallow all their kit. But for many people it’ll be the Mini Clubman’s looks that draw them into the showroom. And, as a more useable evolution of the previous model, the new Clubman will be far less of a compromise to live with. The Clubman is expected to be offered with the same engines as the Mk3 Mini hatch. That means a choice of three-cylinder 1.5 and four-cylinder 2.0-litre petrol and diesel units. A six speed manual transmission will be offered as standard, with a six-speed auto an optional extra. We expect to see a production version of the Clubman estate later in 2014, prior to a UK launch in early 2015. Estimated price: £16,995

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