2022 MINI Clubman Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
When it was introduced, the first generation of the MINI Clubman was a welcome addition to the aptly named MINI family. The MINI Cooper (which is now known as the 2-door Hardtop) has always been diminutive but generally well-liked. The Clubman offers more space in the cabin and cargo area but is still very much a MINI. The 2022 MINI Clubman offers buyers a hatchback/wagon body style with a more spacious design than the 4 Door Hardtop. But, on the Clubman, you don't get the added mass and lifted height of the Countryman SUV. In other words, the Clubman is a nice middle ground between the Cooper and the Countryman.
This year's Clubman delivers some superior handling capabilities. Even the base Clubman has stellar handling. And there is nothing sluggish about the engines equipped on these models. The John Cooper Works (or JCW for short) can sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds. With an upscale cabin design and plenty of customization options to choose from, the MINI Clubman is meant to feel uniquely yours.
It has some drawbacks though. The JCW does give you a harsher ride quality than the other trim levels, and it is uncharacteristically rough for a vehicle in this segment. On top of that, compact hatchbacks with similar equipment are more affordable than the Clubman. The more options you tack on, the higher the final cost becomes.
The Clubman can be a fun ride for the right buyer. But is it the vehicle for you? Let's go over what is new for 2022, what there is to like about the Clubman, what holds it back from putting in a perfect performance, and how it stacks up against a couple of rivals in its segment.
What's New for 2022?
A few changes have been made to the 2022 MINI Clubman. First and foremost, every trim level is now equipped with lane departure warning and an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen display system. The Signature trim level gains standard integrated navigation. Other than that, everything from the 2021 line-up carries over.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2022 MINI Clubman – The Pros
1. The JCW's Turbocharged Engine
The base engine - a turbocharged 2.0-L four-cylinder that serves up 189 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque - does a fine enough job on its own. However, if you want a real power upgrade, the JCW's turbo 4-cylinder engine does a thorough job of delivering 301 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard on the JCW, and the engine is accompanied by an 8-speed automatic transmission that smoothly directs power to all four wheels. The JCW only needs 4.7 seconds to get from 0 to 60 miles per hour, which is quite the accomplishment for a vehicle in this class. Even in your typical daily driving, you can get a good amount of low-end torque.
2. Responsive Steering
While it lacks the old Mini's ability to steer like a golf cart, the Clubman remains composed - especially the JCW with its sport-tuned suspension and enhanced chassis bracing that elevates the vehicle's stiffness. Despite feeling heavier than you might assume, the Clubman has a responsive steering that gives you enough feedback. You will get a minor amount of torque steer even with all-wheel drive equipped on the JCW.
3. A Quiet Ride
Overall, the Clubman offers you a quiet and relaxed ride inside of its cabin. You will hear very little in the way of wind and road noise. The one thing you will hear is that turbo engine making a pleasant growl, indicative of the power it puts out. Otherwise, you can crank up those tunes and enjoy conversations with rear seat occupants without any noise getting in the way.
4. A Well-ventilated Cabin
The Clubman's standard dual-zone automatic climate control system works well at keeping the cabin at your preferred temperature. The ventilation up front feels perfectly fine, and there are even rear seat heating ducts so that passengers back there can get cozy. The system is effective at reaching and maintaining temperatures, and the fan blows as it should.
5. A Spacious and Boxy Design
This boxy wee number offers a remarkably spacious interior design. Its upright design means that there is plenty of head room fore and aft, making it easy for taller folks to fit into any seat. Even leg room is decent, especially compared to the MINI Cooper. For being small in stature, the Clubman exceeds expectations for space.
6. Clear Outward Visibility
Thanks to its boxy shape, wide windows, and slender roof pillars, you can see all around the MINI Clubman. Blind spots are minimal, so you won't need to rely on blind spot monitoring to see what is creeping up to your side. There is a rearview camera for rear visibility, but even in tight parking spots, you should be able to see out the back window just fine.
7. An Easy-to-use Infotainment System
MINI equips the Clubman with a user-friendly infotainment system. It echoes what you get in a BMW, just with a MINI interface. Menus are direct and easy to read. All of the features included on this system are functional, and it has a more premium vibe than what you will find in a lot of direct competitors. The voice recognition system is effective at understanding natural speech patterns, and the turn-by-turn navigation you can get is definitely helpful.
8. Refined Advanced Driver Aids
The Clubman's list of advanced driver aids is decent, and what you get is about as refined as can be. The adaptive cruise control holds up- and downhill speeds well, and it keeps a tight enough gap between you and the vehicle in front of you. The other driver aids work well, and you get to opt for an automated parking system with the Driver Assistance package.
9. Cargo Area Utility
Sure, the Clubman looks like it might not fit a lot into the cargo area, but the space is designed to maximize its utility. Its 17.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats is on par with what you get in this segment, but the space opens up into 47.9 cubic feet if you fold the rear seats down. You get a lot of underfloor storage, plus the split rear doors make loading and unloading cargo easy enough.
10. A Strong Fuel Economy
Fuel economy is where the MINI Clubman really shines. Even the AWD-equipped JCW gets an EPA estimated combined 26 miles per gallon, besting the likes of the Veloster N and Civic Type R, which both get a combined 25 mpg. The EPA estimates hold up in real-world tests, getting about 28-29 mpg in combined driving.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2022 MINI Clubman – The Cons
1. An Overly Firm Suspension on the JCW
The JCW's sport-tuned suspension provides quite a bit of stability, but it is too firm for any real enjoyment. It desperately needs some re-tuning in order to provide occupants with a more comfortable ride quality. As it stands, most buyers will want to stick with the standard suspension, which is more comfort-oriented.
2. Too-firm Seats
The Clubman's seats are overly firm, especially on the JCW. They do not provide a ton of support, and you likely won't find yourself enjoying a long road-trip in these seats. The padding has an awkward feeling to it, not really providing support in the places where you need it most.
3. No Android Auto
Sorry, Android users. Android Auto is not available, so you cannot sync your smartphone to the Clubman. Only iPhone users can pair their phones via Apple CarPlay. MINI has not yet expanded to include Android Auto, which might serve to alienate some potential buyers. Most rivals do offer this feature as standard.
4. It Is Small
This is just a given, but the MINI Clubman is small. MINIs are, well, mini. If you are looking for a family-hauler with a ton of extra space, this is not the vehicle for you. But it can be adequate for single folks, couples, and those with small families. You just won't really have a ton of leg room regardless of where you sit.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2022 MINI Clubman vs. 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI
The 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI is competitively priced and designed. While its higher trim levels get quite expensive and the standard all-season tires lack proper road grip, the Golf GTI has a lot to offer. It has spunky handling capabilities and a smooth ride quality from the optional adaptive suspension. Also, this roomy cabin is decked out in high-end materials for a distinctly European design.
2022 MINI Clubman vs. 2022 Hyundai Veloster
Another popular option is the 2022 Hyundai Veloster. It is more affordably priced than the MINI Clubman and has an engine option that pumps out a fair amount of power. Its three-door body style isn't something you see on the road too often, so it is certainly an eye-catching little car. Its handling capabilities are sporty, ranking right up there with the Clubman. However, you will have to skip over the base engine to get the more powerful version. You will have to put up with a lot of road noise and a long driver's door that makes getting out of a cramped parking spot difficult.
All in all, the 2022 MINI Clubman is a powerful vehicle that defies its diminutive size. The interior is more accommodating than you might expect, and you get a superb fuel economy for this segment. However, the line-topping JCW model has a too-firm suspension that makes its poorly padded seats all the more uncomfortable. And Android users won't be able to sync their smartphones, so if you are an Android owner, you just won't be able to pair your phone up to the Clubman.