The regular MINI Cooper had loads of curb appeal and an undeniably fun air about it, but MINI quickly realized that the standard Cooper's limited space was driving away some customers. In order to address the needs of those who simply needed a little extra storage room for their weekend getaway gear, MINI introduced the 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman, a lengthened version of the classic MINI Cooper.
One of the most significant challenges facing the MINI Cooper Clubman design team was how to preserve the MINI's cute and quirky styling elements while at the same time adding a few extra inches in both wheelbase and overall length. Many in the automotive industry worried that the standard Cooper's character would be lost in translation, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman has still got "it." Edmunds reviewers state that the "modern-day Clubman is a four-seat, two-door hatchback that's a bump up in size and price from the iconic MINI Cooper." Just how much bigger, you ask? The 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman, which is available in base, turbocharged Cooper S Clubman, and top-of-the-line turbocharged John Cooper Works Clubman, is approximately 10 inches longer than its baby brother. Overall, the exterior styling is quite similar, so much so that Jalopnik reports that "at a distance, it's nearly impossible to differentiate between the two variations." Once you step a little closer, though, the differences become apparent. This is most notable in the rear of the car, according to Cars.com, which says "the Clubman's rear-quarter pillars are painted in contrasting black or silver" that "matches the rear bumper and, if desired, the roof." The 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman also features "a rear access door on the passenger side and...split rear 'barn' doors at the back," notes MyRide.com. The third passenger door won't open independently of the regular passenger-side door, but it does make entry and exit from the rear seats significantly easier.
Exterior differences among the different trims of the 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman aren't very significant, according to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com. MyRide.com observes that the "base model has a three-bar chrome grille, while the S's is black mesh." The MINI Cooper S Clubman also features a front hood scoop and larger lower air intake, two characteristics it shares with the John Cooper Works Clubman. Buyers opting for the top-end MINI Cooper John Cooper Works Clubman won't find much to distinguish their vehicle from a standard Cooper S Clubman; Autoblog reviewers say "a pair of small John Cooper Works badges grace the lower right corners of the front grille and tail-gate," and that is the extent of the extra badging.
Inside the cabin of the 2009 MINI Cooper Clubman lineup is a retro-themed interior that clearly emphasizes form over function. Jalopnik observes that the MINI Cooper Clubman's interior is "mostly identical to its smaller brother from the cockpit-view forward," including the "rail-protected flight switches [that] control much of the electrics." In case you've never seen the unique instrument layout of the MINI Cooper before, MyRide.com states that "only the tachometer is located in front of the driver and a larger round speedometer is featured at the top of the center stack, to the driver's right." Edmunds reviewers say that the MINI Cooper Clubman features "stylishly arranged climate and audio controls," although they note the layout is "ergonomically unfortunate, however, as these controls will befuddle those used to a more traditional dash layout." ConsumerGuide agrees, warning that "many audio functions are tough to negotiate due to cryptic markings and the need to drill through multiple menus in order to get to a desired setting."