2018 MINI Cooper Clubman Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 MINI Cooper Clubman was new.


Performance: 8.3

Performance is a strong suit for the 2018 Mini Clubman, especially if you opt for one of the more powerful uplevel models. Its handling dynamics sample enough of the go-kart-like qualities from the smaller Cooper to maintain an impressive amount of agility. That said, this Mini is more composed and highway-friendly than its smaller stablemate.

  • "This maximum Mini is still low-slung and feels like it hugs the road, but cornering isn't as sharp as the regular Mini Cooper. The Clubman has slightly softer demeanor. While the steering is quick and possesses a dash of feedback, a spirited drive reveals the car's limitations, with a less precise nature than smaller Minis. Opting for the S gets you wider, lower tires that sharpen the handling." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Minis are known for being youthful and fun, but 'youthful' was just a nice way of saying noisy, unrefined, and stiff-riding round town. We were pleased to find the latest ... Mini Clubman is still fun and engaging, but without those downsides. It's quiet, with little wind noise at speed, and even the engine growl at full throttle is nicely subdued." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "For most customers the minutiae of the Clubman's handling will take a backseat … to ride comfort. In this regard, Mini's largest-ever model is also one of its most comfortable, boasting a civilized character over both B-road bumps and city center imperfections. Secondary impacts are particularly well muted, with the Clubman's suspension managing the high-frequency rough stuff without much trouble. On larger impacts, suspension noises are limited, while the actual influence on cabin comfort is best described as minor." -- Autoblog (2016)

Acceleration and Power

Each of the three Clubman trims comes with a different powertrain. Under the hood of the base Cooper Clubman is a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine with a 134-horsepower rating. This engine is brisk in run-of-the-mill scenarios, but it doesn’t have the same pull as the other Clubman trims. Given the engine's small size, its fuel economy rating is surprisingly low: up to 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

Acceleration times are much improved with the 189-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that comes in the Cooper S Clubman. Even better is the 228-horsepower version of this engine, which powers the John Cooper Works Clubman. Gas mileage with the 2.0-liter engine slips marginally versus the base engine.

All three trims come standard with a satisfying six-speed manual transmission. A polished six- or eight-speed automatic (with paddle shifters on the John Cooper Works Clubman) is also available.

  • "In casual driving, the Clubman's 1.5-liter engine is adequate. But it can feel slow to respond when quick action is required to merge with traffic. Sport mode helps, but it's still outpaced by many competitors, needing 8.6 seconds to get to 60 mph." -- Edmunds
  • "Our turbocharged three-cylinder version delivers ample motivation. Although acceleration times are rather unimpressive -- 0-60 mph in 10.5 seconds with the six-speed automatic -- the car seldom feels underpowered when driving. However, sometimes there's a bit of hesitation before the power comes alive when pulling away from an intersection." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Mini's standard manual transmission remains a delight, and the optional automatic is smooth and refined. The standard 3-cylinder Clubman has adequate acceleration, while the Cooper S Clubman with its turbocharged 4-cylinder is downright quick. If you opt for all-wheel drive, we suggest stepping up to an S model. With the standard 3-cylinder powering all four wheels, acceleration is leisurely." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Handling and Braking

The Clubman has standard front-wheel drive and the option to upgrade to all-wheel drive. This Mini is athletic and sprightly, though it doesn't retain the same go-kart feel as the smaller Cooper. Still, the Clubman's composed suspension offers nimble handling and a reassuring ride. The suspension may feel a bit stiff for some, though it's not jarring.

  • "Usually renowned for snappy, playful go-kartlike handling, this Mini seems to be dialed back for a calmer demeanor. The Clubman still responds well to initial steering inputs and exhibits impeccable balance, but the overall feel is more composed and deliberate, not eager and frenetic." -- Edmunds
  • "Handling isn't quite as sharp as the regular Mini Cooper, but the Clubman still hugs the road nicely, turns into corners with verve, and snakes through the avoidance maneuver at our test track with ease." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Dynamically, the best thing about driving the Clubman is the taut, firm ride quality and the eagerness with which the car bends into corners and springs back for more. Around town, the car does ride stiffly, and lots of road noise gets transmitted into the cabin. But these are small prices to pay for nimble handling. It would be nice if Mini better dialed-in the steering, which frequently feels numb and delivers little in the way of road feel." -- New York Daily News (2017)

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