Mini doesn’t seem to get that it has a real problem: it’s vehicles for the most part are getting bigger. It’s making the brand a little ironic, and not in a good way. That point has been illustrated again with the release of the next-generation Clubman.
The Clubman is technically a wagon, which can be pretty functional and fun-to-drive vehicles. Unlike the past generation of the car, this new version doesn’t share a platform with the Cooper Hardtop. That changed allowed Mini to make the Clubman longer and wider than any other model it offers, surpassing even the notoriously large Countryman. The wagon measures 10.9 inches longer and 2.9 inches wider than the 2015 model.
Sadly, in the press release Mini sent out, the company seems to be pretty happy about how much bigger the new Clubman is. Perhaps that attitude comes from the belief that modern car shoppers just want large, utilitarian vehicles. Maybe that’s true, but it’s still disturbing that Mini has strayed so far from its roots. You can blame that fact on the Germans or that people are getting fatter from eating so much processed food, but in the end it means that Minis are becoming less about fun and more about practicality.
What makes things even more annoying is that Mini also mentions the Nurburgring when it talks about the 2016 Clubman’s handling ability. No lap times are cited, with the company only saying that “extensive testing” was done on the racetrack. Would conducting a lot of tests on the ‘Ring with the Sienna help Toyota sell more? Probably not, because everyone who buys a minivan knows it’s not a performance vehicle. Somehow, a good number of Mini owners genuinely think that the Clubman is a performance model.