Published on October 17, 2009
Section Alternative Vehicles
What a difference a rear end makes. The iconic MINI recently confirmed and released official photos of its much-rumored MINI Clubman, the make’s first major update since its 2001 re-release as the rambunctious stepchild of BMW. This boxy-behinded bulldog shares the base MINI Cooper’s front 2/3, which may cause a epidemic of double-takes when the first Clubmans (Clubmen?) zip by in the U.S. early next year.
All design changes come aft of the B-pillar, and what an aft it is: a roofline that just won’t quit, an extra 9.45 inches of overall length and fold-flat rear seats mean this utili-MINI boasts more than 32 feet of cargo space. A MINI driver’s friends, newly mollified by a 3-inch dose of surplus rear legroom, can access all this extra interior room in two ways — tiny versions of the clamshell doors more commonly handled by the SUV set and a set of unusual, asymmetrical, “butterfly” doors on the car’s right side.
The updates make for a cargo-capable-ish small car akin in overall philosophy to the Honda Fit, although with a price tag placing it somewhere between the MINI hardtop and convertible.