October 30, 2020

Talksteer

Motoring Magazine

Brilliant little piece of Britain

Front

 

By Costa Mokola

Cooper Clubman: Sets you apart from the rest

About 4 weeks ago, I marked the beginning of the end of my life as a single man. Not only was I giving up the gents’ nights out at the Rock Raceway, but my precious time with my beloved PlayStation was replaced with a wife and kids.

Yes, I finally tied the knot! But let’s hold the applause for the end.

I never knew how stressful these events could be, especially when you’re waiting for the “car of the hour” to arrive and drive you to the wedding venue.

To make things worse, I arrived a bit late – I’m probably the only man in the family to have kept the bride waiting – because I had to arrive the only way a family man could on his big day, in a fancy set of wheels.

On my arrival, my best man, Shizi, looked a little dumbfounded and assumed I had dumped my beloved BMW for a three-cylinder Cooper Clubman.

The same could be said for my brother-in-law, except he did not have much to say after admiring the Clubman as he dragged me inside to set up the Zoom wedding.

Later that night, after nervously signing my life away, the missus and I had to make a trip –the driving ended up making the majority of our honeymoon. But before we did, we got down to examining what this Mini was all about. It’s not far from the quality you get in a BMW (who have owned the brand since 2000). The interior fascia, the turn signal stalks and that flat-bottomed steering wheel made me feel at home like I was in a Beemer. But in the looks department … that’s an entirely different story.

Just as Porsche has kept their flagship model (the 911) the same throughout the years, with just a few modern, tasteful touches, so, too, can you clearly see, without even hunting for any badges, that you’re in a Mini. The wife asked: “Babe, did you notice the British flag on the taillights?”

Only then did I realise the Clubman stood out as an aristocratic Brit. Oh, the flag can also be found on the rims, the headrests and probably a few other places that I’ve not had the chance to check out yet. But the one stand-out feature was those airplane-style switches that decorate the lower dash and the sunroof configuration unit. I think Mini is the only manufacturer that offers this.

The start switch pulses with soft red light and intensifies as your right foot engages the brake. Kind of how a chocolate cake screams “eat me” four days into a strict diet … and you eventually cave in. Even the kids made me feel like Dexter (a character on Cartoon Network), with my eldest child eyeing out the switches, waiting for that one moment to pounce and toggle that stop-start switch.

Not much can be said about space in the boot. We did manage to fit two bags and just a few shoes in, but that was it. The car may have the appearance of an estate car but it’s just a little family car much like a Ford Focus or VW Golf. Gismos aside, this is the first three-cylinder vehicle I’ve ever driven. I figured that out after I was fooled into thinking it was a four-cylinder, because I stopped reading after learning online it was a “1.5 litre”.

What I did not like was its thirsty nature, but I forgave it because it felt fast. This obviously piqued my curiosity so I set out to find its power figures. After fiddling with the infotainment system, I had a look at its live power figures displayed on the screen, I thought “hold on, only 220Nm and 100kW?”

It feels like it’s giving more than what’s stated, but that could be due to the design of the vehicle. With that cheeky turbo response, as I mischievously gave pedal my right foot, the kids loved the rush they got when daddy was in
“overtake mode”. It might be pricey, but it’s a brilliant little piece of Britain that lets you stand out from the rest.

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