2009 Mini Cooper Clubman Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman was new.


Performance: 8.2

The consensus opinion is that the Clubman is a blast to drive. Between the zippy acceleration (especially on the more powerful S and John Cooper Works trims) and the sharp handling, critics feel the Clubman's performance gives it an edge over most of its rivals.

  • "The 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman may be longer than the regular Mini, but it retains the phenomenally fun driving experience associated with its smaller brethren. Responses to driver inputs are cat-quick, and the Cooper Clubman delivers lots of feedback through the steering wheel, driver seat and pedals." -- Edmunds
  • "I'm surprised to find that whipping around with the additional length and 177 extra pounds is not a problem. The Clubman is a long and heavy kitty, but she's still a cat. This much is clear as we bound from corner to corner; slow in, only to claw out fast under full throttle -- so quick, I question whether the regular Mini would be better out here." -- Motor Trend
  • "With its distinguished rally-racing history, the Mini is born for twisty roads, where it feels alive, edgy and high in testosterone. Especially in tighter quarters, the Mini can bob, feint and counterpunch its way to an upset over weightier, stronger competition." -- New York Times
  • "The Cooper S is very powerful and as a result, there is noticeable torque steer at launch and coming out of corners. It's not as easy to drive fast as the base car, but has plenty of grunt when the boost comes on." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The biggest concern with building a bigger Mini is the loss of the gokart-like fun-to-drive feel of the base model. Fret not because the Clubman is just as fun to drive as the regular Mini Cooper." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Even with the Clubman's stretched wheelbase, a Mini is still the closest thing going to a street-legal shifter kart." -- The Auto Channel

Acceleration and Power

The base Clubman and the S produce 118 and 172 horsepower, respectively. The John Cooper Works variant steps it up even more, making 208 horsepower. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the base 2009 MINI Clubman with an automatic transmission at an estimated 25 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway. The manual transmission model gets an estimated 28/37 mpg city/highway. The S model doesn't fare as well, with the automatic getting an estimated 23/32 mpg city/highway and the manual getting an estimated 26/34 mpg city/highway.

  • "Response increases with throttle application - press gently on the accelerator, and it's quite civil, and reasonably quick. Foot to the floor it's a nasty little hooligan in the best possible way, with a definite tug on the steering wheel and a strong desire to head forward very quickly." -- The Auto Channel
  • "In terms of power, the base Cooper's engine is surprisingly zesty. ...generally, the base engine provides more than enough power for most buyers. That said, the turbocharged Cooper S and John Cooper Works versions are superb, providing a satisfying swell of low-end power whenever the driver dips into the accelerator. With so much power routed to the front wheels, though, torque steer can yank the tires to-and-fro when you really gun it. No matter which Clubman you choose, prepare to have fun." -- Edmunds
  • "The base engine in the test car delivered more than enough spunk." -- Kansas City Star
  • "The problem is, when we drove the 1.6-liter, 118-horsepower Clubman, we found it struggling to give us the power we needed.... The Clubman S, however, was a different story. The car had plenty of pep, and while we didn't take it up any steep hills, it was able to reach highway speed and pass other cars with relative ease." -- CNET
  • "The Clubman S is undeniably more fun to drive, as that extra horsepower makes highway passing much easier, and winding backroads just that much more interesting." -- Orlando Sentinel

Handling and Braking

For the most part, critics applaud the handling of the MINI Clubman. They feel the added length of the Clubman over the Cooper does little to detract from the fun factor, and that it actually improves the smoothness of the ride. However, the ride is still firm, especially with the optional sport suspension.

  • "While the Clubman's rack-and-pinion steering is electrically assisted, it avoids the synthetic feel of many other electric systems. The steering is also bullet-quick, but on rough pavement the Mini can feel twitchy compared with, say, a Volkswagen GTI." -- New York Times
  • "The Clubman will put a smile on your face with accurate steering, a sweet gearchange, and great handling" -- BusinessWeek
  • "The steering feels quick and responsive." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "While the handling, which Mini describes as 'go-kart' style, was pretty quick and responsive, the car just couldn't keep up with our demands." -- CNET
  • "Handling is as crisp and precise as ever, steering is almost telepathic: All the things Mini owners love about their cars, they'll love about the Clubman." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "One downside is a somewhat stiff ride quality, particularly on the John Cooper Works model and the Cooper S with the optional sport-tuned suspension." -- Edmunds
  • "In no way sloppy or floppy, the Clubman simply does a better job soaking up bumps than the shorter hardtop does now, or ever did, while retaining the agile steering and tight handling that have been part of the Mini Cooper's appeal." -- USA TODAY
  • "But, as with any size Mini, Clubman's sports-tuned suspension makes it so agile and nimble, and steering response is so quick and accurate, that the machine feels more potent than it is." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "If driving comfort is your thing, this is not your ride. The Clubman S suffers from torque steer, wheel hop, stiff crashing suspensions." -- The Truth About Cars
  • "The Clubman is just as fun as the Mini Cooper and is actually a bit more stable in long, sweeping turns. Plus, the added length helps the Clubman iron out bumps better, improving upon a notorious problem for the Mini Cooper, especially the S." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "One thing that didn't change was the noise (from both tires and engine) and the hard ride, the latter problem exacerbated by my test car's optional sport suspension. If you're not a hard-core enthusiast, skip it." -- About.com

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