Monday, May 2, 2016

Used Car Review - MINI Clubman (2010-2014)

Have fun this month with something novel from Myk Belmonte that you can buy for less.

2010-2014 MINI Clubman

We all (or everyone) knows the success that BMW had when it purchased the MINI brand from the ailing Rover group back in the 90s, especially it launched a new model of the Mini Hatch at the turn of the millennium while killing the original one which shouldered on for decades. So successful that numerous spin-off models were made available years after which expanded to the likes of a convertible, coupe, crossover, and wagon body styles. One of the vehicles that we are going to review today is the MINI Clubman, the third member of the family born after the hatchback and its convertible derivative.

Launched in 2007 as a Mini Hatch variant, the Clubman name was first used as a facelift of the classic MINI back in the 1970s, while wagons of the same era use the Traveller or Countryman (the latter became its own model in 2010). This wagon (or estate, as fondly called by the Brits) became the first model in the MINI range to feature suicide doors but was dropped in its 2015 redesign. Just like most models in the brand, one can get the regular version, diesel engines, supercharged models, and the JCW. This model had a "Clubvan" variant, a vehicle designed for commercial purposes, added in 2012.

As part of the MINI brand launch in the Philippines, the Clubman was one of three models that the marque brought in. Just like any model in the stable, one can customize the vehicle to his/her desires from the exterior to the inside. It was dropped from the line-up in 2014, and two years later the second generation model saw local introduction.

Value and Costs
Sold to the tune of P2,150,000 when it was brand new, used ones rarely pop-up the classifieds block and you can get one for P1,950,000 for a locally released unit. Those sold via the grey market and private imports of old models can be obtained for less cash. Unlike the MINI Hatch, only the naturally aspirated and the suprcharged models were available.

If you aim for the supercharged models, make sure you drive it always to avoid carbon deposit buildup (yes, the main reason why you should drive). Another cause of concern if the previous owner had driven the car for a long time on low oil pressure which may take a toll on oil and timing-chain rattle.

Exterior and Interior
Obviously, the main differences here which we will first tackle lies with the exterior design since exterior length is longer than its smaller sibling and somewhat rides higher with a tall ground clearance. The magic here is its suicide doors which was mentioned in the preceding chapters, since the passenger side door swings out towards the opposite side which means easy ingress/egress for the rear seat occupants. Another case are the rear doors which open sideways as against the hatchback's upwards.

Just like what we mentioned in our previous MINI Hatchback review a month ago, stepping inside will give you a cabin that mixes the old and new. Bunches of circles are standard equipment and scattered around inside, with the centered positioned speedometer (which is large, by the way) being the highlight of the vehicle. If you are complaining with the space that the MINI Hatch offers you, rejoice since this one has lots of space but cargo room isn't that much.

Similar to its smaller brethren, interested buyers are only confined to one engine: a 1.6 but with two fuel systems. You'll encounter the naturally aspirated engine more often which powers the Cooper models displaces 118hp at 6,000rpm and 160Nm at 4,250rpm while going for the S rewards you 175hp at 5,500rpm and 240Nm at 1,600-5,000rpm on tap. Either of the two engines will satisfy your need for speed despite the added weight and size penalty but unlike the Hatch, only an automatic comes standard.

Driving Impressions
Some word of warning: handling and driving dynamics aren't that much close to the original Mini, no thanks to the added bulk and size. Although you may enjoy this one in some levels, you might not buy this for the fun to drive persona alone.

Success means expanding a vehicle line without anything to dilute the original formula it was known for. BMW expanding the MINI line produced various results which meant some didn't live up and some were done well. The Clubman isn't something for everyone, since driving capability is compromised and the exterior styling favors the practicality in you.

The Good:
  • Fun to drive
  • Additional practicality
  • More space
The Bad:
  • Not so good rear visibility
  • Funny exterior styling
  • Not for everyone
The Pick: Cooper model is more than enough

Engine: 1,598cc 16V I4 gasoline
Power: 118hp @ 6,000rpm (Cooper), 175hp @ 5,500rpm (S)
Torque: 160Nm @ 4,250rpm (Cooper), 240Nm @ 1,600-5,000rpm (S)
Fuel Consumption: 8-10km/L (city), 12-14km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear longitudinal strut

Price (New): P2,150,000-P2,400,000
Price (Now): P1,950,000
On Sale: 2010-2014

MINI Global City - (02) 856-6555

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