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2009 Mini Cooper Clubman Interior

This interior review was written when the 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman was new.

Depending on what you're looking for, you'll either love and/or hate the MINI Clubman's interior. Critics applaud its character, but feel MINI went too far in some instances where practicality was traded in for the sake of standing apart from the crowd. The Clubman is longer than its Cooper sibling, with the extra space making life more pleasant for rear-seat passengers.

  • "As with its smaller partner, the Clubman blends inspiration and annoyance." -- New York Times
  • "Hop in the driver's seat and the first thing you notice is that the Clubman has the same avant-garde interior as the Mini Cooper." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "The interior continues the funky presentation: charming or alarming, depending on your taste." -- USA TODAY
  • "Rear visibility is compromised a bit by the design of the rear doors, and the center pillar is thick. But you get used to it eventually." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The glass over both tilts to let in air, but only the front panel slides open. All that glass provides an open-air feeling and makes the cabin seem larger and roomier than it is." -- Chicago Tribune

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Seating

Reviewers tend to like the Clubman's seats, finding them comfortable and supportive. With regards to the second row, the "Club Door" makes entry/exit easier and there is more interior space than that found in the Cooper -- but critics still find the cabin cramped.

  • "Front seat occupants will find plenty of room. The high roofline offers lots of headroom and the seats move back far enough to allow tall guys to fit.... The seats are nicely bolstered to keep you in place when you inevitably hustle through the turns. The available sport seats are even better. Visibility from the front seat is good as well, though the line where the rear doors comes together is a bit of a distraction in the rearview mirror." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Seats are to BMW high standards, among the best made for comfort and support." -- The Auto Channel
  • "Front seat comfort is just OK. Seat adjustments were awkwardly placed and hard to use." -- USA TODAY
  • "The rear seat is roomier but still slightly claustrophobic, the chassis is ever-so-slightly less willing to rotate in tight switchbacks, and rear visibility -- owing to the thick C-pillars and the central post created by the twin rear doors -- stinks." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The Mini Clubman's biggest advantage over the standard Cooper is rear-seat legroom -- as in, it actually has some. If you've ever ridden in the backseat of a regular Mini, you know what we mean. The Clubman's passenger-side access door also makes climbing in and out of the backseat a much easier proposition." -- Edmunds
  • "The third door, which opens up suicide-style on the passenger's side, makes it easy for back seat passengers to get in and out -- but it does look a tad strange." -- CNET
  • "While leg and knee room is better, an adult still wouldn't want to venture cross country in back. And if the headrests are left down they are pure torture." -- Chicago Tribune
  • "Rear seats are still quite tight, but since the Clubman has a half-door on the passenger side, it's much easier to climb into the seat, or just put cargo there. As with other such three-door vehicles ... that third door can't be opened from the outside, and the front passenger door must be open before the third door can be opened." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "Most of the Clubman's extra length (9.6 inches, with an extra 3.2 inches between front and rear wheels) is dedicated to the back seat, and the results are fantastic: There's room for a full-size adult (two, actually) to sit comfortably..." -- About.com

Interior Features

Reviewers tend to think the Clubman's interior puts form over function. While the aesthetics are pleasing, the layout is awkward and the controls aren't intuitively placed. MINI offers a ton of customization options, so you can make your Clubman one of a kind -- just be wary, as it can quickly add up to an intimidating price tag.

  • "Just like the regular Cooper, the Clubman features a snazzy, retro-inspired control setup that unfortunately works poorly in practice. The audio controls are bunched confusingly below the huge center speedometer, and both manual and automatic climate controls are poorly designed." -- Edmunds
  • "The Cooper's classy dash carries over intact, with its ginormous speedometer and confusing audio controls and all its charm." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The Clubman's interior materials are well chosen. Though there are many plastics, they have a quality look and feel. The same goes for the base upholstery, which is leatherette instead of cloth." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Seriously, my 1990s Chrysler had better mouse fur in its trunk than the MINI has for its headliner." -- The Truth About Cars
  • "Inside, the Clubman cockpit is pretty much Mini, with some instruments and controls designed and configured more for looks and symmetry than function." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "From the front seats forward, the Clubman is virtually the same as the standard MINI Cooper. The dash is dominated by the huge center-mounted speedometer, and the gun-slit windshield limits how much you can see out front. The view out back isn't much better thanks to the thick post between the two cargo doors, which dominates the scene in the rear view mirror." -- About.com
  • "As with the other Minis, the Clubman's interior is highly-styled, but easy, simple function is not sacrificed to style." -- The Auto Channel
  • "It takes design risks - aircraft-style toggle switches, door pulls that seem borrowed from a funhouse ride - that Toyota wouldn't dare. But the clock-sized center speedometer is so tackily oversize that Flavor Flav might be offended. Audio controls are so enamored with their own looks that they can't be bothered to work effectively." -- New York Times

Cargo

The Clubman's two barn doors that swing out, rather than up, to access the cargo area, generate some controversy.  Most critics think they're cute, but not as practical as a standard lift gate. The Clubman has 9.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat up and 32.8 cubic feet of cargo room with it down.

  • "The cargo area is accessed through a pair of 'barn doors' - think '70s party van -- that, like some other Mini touches, seem more indulgent than intelligent." -- New York Times
  • "Swing open the twin rear doors and you'll find a cargo area more than 50 percent larger than the regular Cooper's, although with only 9.2 cubic feet of capacity behind the rear seatback, it's not exactly cavernous." -- Edmunds
  • "Around back, dual swing-open doors give access to the cargo area. Arguments will abound about whether the dual doors are handier than a swing-up hatch. I like them, except that the center post obscures rear vision." -- Kansas City Star
  • "Despite the cute looks and length increase, the cargo area is still too small for serious grocery-getting. Warehouse store runs should only be attempted if you are bereft of passengers." -- The Truth About Cars
  • "There's decent space behind the rear seats for some luggage or groceries, or you can fold the rear seats flat for even more room. Those rear doors each swing out wide, past the taillights, making for easy access. Mini engineers agonized over this rear hatch configuration, considering a more conventional flip-up window and drop-down tailgate, but this seems like a pretty good solution." -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "The Clubman's trunk boasts more room than the standard Cooper, but at 9.2 cubic feet it's still pitifully small compared to the Nissan Versa hatchback (17.8) or the Honda Fit (21.3). But the problem isn't just the lack of space -- it's those silly double doors, which are always in the way if you're loading from the curbside. Try as I might, I can't see a single advantage over a proper top-hinged hatch lid." -- About.com
Review Last Updated: 11/30/09

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