Comfort and Quality » 7
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QUALITY | 7 out of 10
Every compartment, toggle and switch functions with the usual high level of BMW confidence
rear-seat "comfort isn't included
Car and Driver
Extra rear seat room and cargo space are compelling
appreciably roomier than the regular Cooper
In the tradition of the Mini Countryman and Traveller, the 2010 MINI Cooper Clubman adds some much-needed rear-seat legroom and back-end cargo space, as well as easier access to the backseats.
The Clubman's body is 9.4 inches longer than a Cooper hatchback, and the wheelbase gets 3.2 inches out of that addition, but doesn't disturb the adequate space set aside from front passengers in their nicely pocketed bucket seats. Up front, Kelley Blue Book reports "plenty of room-even for large folk." MyRide adds the "high roofline leaves plenty of head room in the driver's seat," while the pair of front buckets "move back far enough to allow tall guys to fit." In Clubman transition, MINI also cuts a small, right-side, rear-hinged Clubdoor to help access to the backseats; those seats offer more legroom, for sure, and adults will ride there willingly, but access still is difficult despite four times more entry space claimed by MINI. The stretch makes the "second seating row...a viable space to put two adults," according to MyRide. In the back, Edmunds notes that the bench seat "isn't huge, but there's adequate room for two full-size adults." Car and Driver opines bluntly, "the rear seat may be habitable, which can't be said for the standard Mini, but comfort isn't included."
The Clubman also sports more cargo space, with 32.6 cubic feet of room in back when the rear seats are folded down, 9.1 with them still up. The Clubman's tail gets barn-style doors and a flat load floor that can be fitted with a hard cover for security. It's truly more useful, even if you must open the right door before the left. MyRide confirms "cargo volume is 32.8 cubic feet versus 24.0 cubic feet for the regular MINI," enough for ConsumerGuide to call the Clubman "a surprisingly versatile hauler." Cargo space is boosted inside the passenger cabin as well, as Jalopnik notes that the MINI Cooper Clubman's "dual glove boxes and plenty of cup holders [offer] enough storage space for anything you might need to carry."
While the MINI's road noise is fairly subdued, all MINIs tested by TheCarConnection.com have had creaky bodies with squeaks and rattles coming from various plastic trim pieces; the MINI's cabin oozes with design flair, but material and build quality just don't live up to its price tag. LeftLane News picks on the "bland gray plastic surfaces of the audio and HVAC controls," which it compares to "something off a toy karaoke machine." Jalopnik points out some "Toys R' Us-grade plastic...in this price range, a buyer deserves a little better." MyRide says the opposite: "though there are many plastics, they have a quality look and feel." ConsumerGuide praises the "solid workmanship," while Jalopnik coos that "every compartment, toggle and switch functions with the usual high level of BMW confidence."
While the smaller Cooper is prone to significant wind noise, ConsumerGuide reports that "wind noise was fairly low" during their time with the 2010 MINI Cooper Clubman. And in TheCarConnection.com's experience, the MINI Cooper vehicles exhibit creaks and groans early in their life cycles, and plastic pieces tend to develop squeaks absent in other hatchbacks until late in their careers.
A few inches of wheelbase gives the 2010 MINI Cooper Clubman a far more practical rear seat and cargo area; quality's still an issue.