Despite its station wagon classification, the 2021 Mini Cooper Clubman JCW feels more at home among hot hatchbacks, both in size and driving demeanor. The Clubman JCW is one of the quickest offerings in Mini’s lineup and churns out 302 horsepower from a turbocharged four-cylinder. All-wheel drive comes standard, and the Mini’s athletic underpinnings make it a joy to pitch down a twisty road. Plus, its charming exterior styling and unique cabin trimmings exude a youthful edge. The sportiest Clubman offers more cargo space than the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Honda Civic Type R hatchbacks but it also starts at a higher price, bumping up against competitor wagons from luxury brands, such as the Volvo V60.
What’s New for 2021?
Following last year’s introduction of a more powerful 302-hp version of the Clubman JCW’s turbo 2.0-liter four, the 2021 model receives few updates. Mini now includes in-dash navigation with real-time traffic updates on the mid-range Signature trim as well as Apple CarPlay capability and a digital gauge display.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- Cooper Clubman JCW: $40,350
The Cooper Clubman JCW requires a big investment for such a small car, so we’d take it easy with options. Upgrading to the Signature trim adds 18-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, a Harman/Kardon audio system, a panoramic sunroof, and an upgraded infotainment setup with a 6.5-inch touchscreen. You also get the aforementioned in-dash navigation, Apple CarPlay interface, and digital gauge display.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The JCW upgrade from the mid-range S model is nothing to scoff at: The S has a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 189 horsepower, but the JCW is a beefier cut, with 302 horsepower. The Clubman’s long wheelbase is more adept at handling bumps and pavement imperfections than the smaller Cooper models, making it more comfortable for road trips. That advantage disappears once the Clubman is tuned for performance by JCW. Its lowered and stiffened suspension turns the ride brittle, which makes it less than pleasant as a daily driver. Steering is heavy and quick, and turn-in is precise, but it’s not quite the go-karting experience we’ve come to expect from Minis.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Even with the new Mini Clubman JCW’s performance aspirations, it still achieves decent fuel-economy numbers. And while we haven’t tested the 2021’s turbo four on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy test route, know that the lower-powered 2019 model outperformed its EPA fuel-economy rating in the real world, delivering a 32-mpg result.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Although some might be turned off by the unconventional interior setup of the Clubman, there’s no denying that this car stands out from the blandtastic stylings of the Subaru Outback and Buick Regal TourX. Cabin materials are not up to snuff with the entry-luxury pricing, but this car’s unique layout and offbeat design serve to make up for some of that. Those who appreciate it will likely dig the aircraft-style toggle switches, the checkered-flag accents, and the in-your-face circular infotainment surround. Those who aren’t so easily amused will feel some frustration with the small hard-to-read gauge cluster, the strangely placed infotainment rotary-knob controller, and the cheapo surfaces. What the Clubman gains in style points, it loses in practicality. The Clubman’s side-hinged rear doors and fold-flat back seat make it easy for owners to load stuff into the cargo area. However, there’s not a lot of room for that stuff, as this Mini is, well, mini. The cabin’s cubbies are similarly stingy, with storage space for phones and not much else. However, a giant bin under the cargo floor offers some utility.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Like most things with the Clubman, if you want the good infotainment stuff, you’ll have to hand over the cash. With the Touchscreen Navigation package, buyers can equip their cars with Apple CarPlay capability, navigation, and an 8.8-inch touchscreen to replace the base 6.5-inch unit. The standard system comes equipped with voice controls and Bluetooth connectivity, though, so that’s a win.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have tested the Clubman’s performance in crash tests. A host of driver-assistance features are offered but none come standard. Key safety features include:
- Available automated emergency braking
- Available forward collision warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Minis offer slightly better warranties than many other small cars. Only Volvo and sister brand BMW match Mini’s program of three years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for three years or 36,000 miles
More Features and Specs
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