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Are you a fan of the MINI Cooper Hardtop but need something a little bigger but not as big as the Countryman? Then you might be interested in the 2021 MINI Clubman. This stretched-out version of the Cooper gives you more cabin and cargo space while retaining the same cool, distinctly British styling elements. It is hard not to stare at this unique vehicle, as it does not look like any other SUV on the market.
Last year's big upgrade - a 2.0-L turbo engine on the John Cooper Works All4 - stands as the most powerful engine option for the line-up. Along with its 8-speed automatic transmission, the engine provides 301 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. But its more aggressive power does not equate a rough ride. The JCW used to be rather rough, but MINI has smoothed out a lot of the issues, creating an enjoyable ride quality.
The thing you need to know about the Clubman is that it comes with your choice of three main trims (the Cooper S Clubman, Cooper S Clubman All4, and the John Cooper Works All4). Then you get to add your pick from three sub-trims: the Classic, Signature, and Iconic. In other words, it is easy to configure your new MINI Clubman until your heart is content. But that can also be pretty overwhelming, especially if you are new to the MINI brand.
That being said, this trim level comparison review will first go over the three main trim levels, then the three sub-trims. The main trims are essentially the Clubman's mechanical specs while the sub-trims have the interior features. We will keep these comparisons separate from one another, but this should help give you a feel for how you might want to configure your shiny new 2021 MINI Clubman.
Compare the 2021 MINI Cooper S Clubman vs Cooper S Clubman All4 - What is the Difference?
First things first; we must started off by comparing the Cooper S Clubman to the Cooper S Clubman All4. These vehicles are mostly the same save for one glaring difference (as indicated by the 'All4' name) - the drivetrains. The base Cooper S Clubman has front-wheel drive while the Cooper S Clubman All4 has (you guessed it) all-wheel drive.
The Cooper S Clubman receives its power from a standard 2.0-L turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine that creates an output of 189 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque.A 7-speed dual clutch transmission comes equipped with it. The All4 also comes with this powertrain, but its standard all-wheel drive will give the vehicle improved traction and vehicle stability control, especially while you are driving along on slick road surfaces. If you live in a climate where inclement weather is frequent (and dangerous, of course), then having AWD on your Clubman could become a real life-saver.
Compare the 2021 MINI Clubman Cooper S Clubman All4 vs John Cooper Works All4. What is the difference?
The John Cooper Works All4 was tweaked in order to get more power from its engine for 2020, and the results? Drivers love it. This 2.0-L turbo inline-4 cylinder engine produces a massive 301 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard, as you can tell by the name. Also, the 7-speed dual clutch from the Cooper S Clubmans is swapped out in favor of an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Note that there are some special upgrades to the sub-trims' standard features if you pair them with the John Cooper Works All4. These upgrades include cloth upholstery on the JCW sport seats, a sport-tuned suspension, extra chassis bracing that creates more stiffness for the ride quality, bigger brakes, and unique styling elements (including those to the front and rear fascia and the roof mounted spoiler).
Compare the 2021 MINI Clubman Classic vs Signature - What is the Difference?
Before we jump into what the sub-trims have to offer, we need to address the three optional packages that can be equipped on any Clubman: the Driver Assistance package, the Touchscreen Navigation package, and the Connected Media System package. The Driver Assistance package bundles parking sensors and parking-adaptive cruise control. The Touchscreen Navigation package adds Apple CarPlay, a wireless charging pad, and a built-in navigation system. The Connected Media System (which comes included with the Touchscreen Navigation package) equips the vehicle with a number of remote connection features.
That being said, let us now dive into the three sub-trim levels on the 2021 MINI Clubman, starting with the Classic. The base Classic sub-trim level comes in your choice of four different color options: Moonwalk Grey, Chili Red, Pepper White, and Midnight Black. The roof and mirrors are all done in the chosen body color. You can select from either 17-inch Silver Vent Spoke wheels or 17" Black Net Spoke alloys. Either way, all-season tires and a space saver spare time come equipped.
On the inside, you will find a cabin padded for comfort and packed with fun features. The Classic comes with standard seats but leaves the option open for sport seats. Also, note that they have a built-in heating function that feels wonderfully relaxing on cold winter mornings. Carbon Black leatherette is the standard material used as upholstery, and there is a multi-functional leather sport steering wheel that can get upgraded to the JCW sport leather steering wheel if you go for the John Cooper Works All4. A checkered dash surface can come equipped, and there is an anthracite headliner included.
Technological features on the Classic include a 6.5-inch infotainment display for the system, Active Driving Assistant, and Rear Park Distance Control. Forward collision warning is also standard issue and will warn you of a detected impending crash and help you apply the brakes in order to avoid it.
Other things you can find on the Classic trim level include SiriusXM Satellite Radio, white or black bonnet stripes (your choice), roof rails, front fog lights, a rear fog light, and ambient lighting throughout the cabin.
The Signature is the mid-tier sub-trim level, and it packs in even more than the Classic. The Signature adds several body color options: Thunder Grey, White Silver, Coral Red Metallic, and British Racing Green IV Metallic. On this trim level, you can leave the roof and mirror caps with the body color or choose to have them painted in white or black. 17-inch Black Net Spoke alloy wheels are optional while the 17-inch Silver Vent Spokes are standard.
Inside, you get treated to the Signature Upholstery Package on the standard seats. The rear seat does become 40/20/40-split folding with a center armrest for extra comfort. The MINI Yours Sport Leather Steering Wheel gets tacked on as another steering wheel option, and you can also get a Piano Black interior surface design.
While the 6.5-inch Touchscreen Navigation Package comes as an option on the Signature sub-trim, you can opt for an 8.8-inch version instead if you want a larger screen and bigger buttons. Of course, you can choose to stick with the standard 6.5-inch touchscreen display, but that system does not give you built-in navigation.
As an extra layer of security, an alarm system gets added to the Signature. That is not to mention some of the luxuries that get tacked on. Those include a panoramic glass roof, LED headlights, keyless entry, a dual-zone automatic climate control system, adaptive suspension dampers (that can shift from comfort- to sport-oriented ride quality), and a premium sound system. A universal garage door opener and a digital compass are integrated into the rear-view mirror.
Compare the 2021 MINI Clubman Signature vs Iconic - What is the Difference?
Kick it into high gear with the line-topping Iconic sub-trim level. This trim adds the MINI Yours Enigmatic Black Metallic body color option. It also adds three 18-inch wheel options: the Silver Star Spokes, the Black Star Spokes, and the MINI Yours Masterpiece Wheels.
You can adorn the inside of the Iconic with a bunch of options. As far as seating goes, there are standard sport seats equipped. If the basic Carbon Black leatherette is not your thing, you can switch it for Carbon Black Cord Leather/Cloth, Black Pearl Leather/Cloth, Pure Burgundy Cross Punch Leather, Carbon Black Cross Punch Leather, Indigo Blue Chesterfield Leather, Satellite Grey Lounge Leather, or Carbon Black MINI Yours Lounge Leather. You can opt to include or leave out the Chrome Line Interior Trim, and you can upgrade to the Piano Black Illuminated MINI Yours Surface. You can also get a MINI Yours Interior in either Pure Burgundy Illuminated or Fiber Alloy Illuminated. The front seats are power-adjustable.
The Driver Assistance Package gets added to the Iconic sub-trim. This camera-based system comes with a pedestrian warning function that works from 6 to 37 mph and will help you apply the brakes if it detects an upcoming collision with a pedestrian. It can register possible collisions at higher speeds with forward collision warning. Also note that Apple CarPlay comes standard here, although Android Auto is missing from the entire line-up. Sorry, Android users; MINI seems exclusively attached to Apple right now. You do, however, get the wireless charging pad for quickly charging your device without needing to use a pesky charger cord.
The Harman Kardon premium sound system comes standard on the Iconic, and it will treat you to some concert-like sound quality pumped from all of its speakers. There is also an option for chrome exterior trim if the standard stuff does not suit your taste. Cornering lights come with the LED headlights for extra visibility while rounding through turns.
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Which Trim to Choose?
Overall, the 2021 MINI Clubman is a line-up that is perfect for someone who wants to essentially design their SUV from the ground up. You get a lot of solid choices as well as plenty of standard features packed in for good measure. Picking what you want might be a bit overwhelming though, so we would like to make a suggestion.
Stick with the base Cooper S Clubman but equip it with the Signature sub-trim. Why do we recommend going this route? Well, as much as we love the powerful John Cooper Works All4, we think it might be a touch too pricey for the average buyer. And that is okay. There is a nice market for those wanting that extra sporty performance, but most drivers are going to be fine with a more comfortable ride quality - something the Cooper S Clubman offers. Most people should be fine with the standard front-wheel drive, but the All4 is more practical if you live in an area where there is a lot of snow or rain.
And why the Signature sub-trim? We happen to think it balances standard and optional features pretty well. There are enough standard design elements that look and feel phenomenal, and the tech is just abundant enough without being overwhelming. You get a lot of choices as to what kind of technology you want, both in terms of infotainment and driver aids. That amount of flexibility - moderately priced - is why the average buyer will want to consider the Signature.
• Compare the 2020 MINI Clubman Trim Levels