First Drive

First Drive: Mini Clubman City

The story:
Mini has launched a new fleet-focused entry model, with the City being kitted out with a number of items company car customers look for, including satnav and rear parking sensors.
Category:Lower medium
Key rival:Audi A3 Sportback
Mini Clubman City Auto
Price:£19,735
MPG:48.7mpg
Emissions: 131g/km
On sale:Now

The Clubman City is a new addition to Mini’s core lower-medium model line-up, and is designed to offer most of the kit company car drivers will be craving, but in a P11D-friendly package.

Although Mini says it will sell the car to retail customers if they ask, the core target for the City is the company car sector.MINI Clubman City - first drive - 12th November 2018 - image 6

Which means this Clubman is fitted with satnav, Apple CarPlay, DAB radio, Real-Time Traffic Information and rear parking sensors as standard, over and above the One specification that Mini used to sell; One included aircon, a sports steering wheel and cruise control.

The second-generation Clubman is bigger than its predecessor, to the extent that it’s now a true VW Golf rival. Nevertheless, it retains its core character of recognisable Mini styling, a fun and capable chassis set-up and the unusual side-hinged rear doors that are either more or less practical than a regular hatch, depending on the situation. But mostly less.
MINI Clubman City - first drive - 12th November 2018 - image 1The City has 17-inch alloys, with two alternate designs offered as a no-cost upgrade, and a set of 17-inch black alloys available as an optional extra.

The City comes with either the peppy 102hp 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine driven here in manual form, or a 116hp diesel. A new automatic gearbox is also available for an extra £1560, and drops the CO2 figure by 1g/km to 130g/km. The diesel only comes with the auto, and emits 109g/km of CO2. That’s tricky to compare with the Golf, because VW has been very slow off the mark with the latest WLTP test figures, and the Golf’s new emissions numbers are yet to be published – like most of VW’s range.
However, this Mini undercuts its big rival – the Golf 110hp 1.0-litre SE Nav – by more than £1000, which makes it an interesting way into something different that is still under £20,000 in petrol manual form.
And although it doesn’t always feel like a high-spec premium model – items such as automatic headlights are missing – it’s fun to drive, has very sensible running costs and is a good move by Mini to pitch a decent spec of car at a decent price to the fleet community.
Paul Barker

 

 

 

 

 

The verdict

A useful addition, and a fairly cost-efficient way into a fun little hatchback with all the essential equipment and a premium badge.