In a new development since the relaunch of the brand, MINI is re-establishing itself as a fixture in the commercial delivery sector. Modern-minded companies keen to display their sense for individual style and premium quality while delivering their goods are recruiting the MINI Clubvan as the new star of their van fleets. It also brings the driving fun MINI owners know and love to business traffic-dominated urban roads. Two seats, five doors and ample load capacity in the rear make the MINI Clubvan conspicuously well qualified for the special load-carrying requirements of day-to-day commercial life – not to mention a well-earned after-hours spin when the work is done.
As a convincing all-round commercial performer, the MINI Clubvan follows in the tyre tracks of the Morris Mini Van on sale between 1960 and 1986. The creative use of space for which the brand is renowned was also valued highly by commercial users back in those days. The combination of a wheelbase 10 centimetres longer that that of the classic Mini and a split rear door satisfied their need for practicality. And now the MINI Clubvan is delivering this concept to the 21st century with the poise and assurance of a master of its trade. A longer wheelbase once again provides an increase in load area, while the split door serves as the main access point to the cargo bay.
The world's first premium-segment compact van shares all this – as well as its exterior length of 3,961 millimetres, width of 1,683 mm, height of 1,426 mm and 2,547 mm wheelbase – with the MINI Clubman. The distinctive right-side Clubdoor also serves the cause of practicality, allowing quick and comfortable access to loads stowed behind the front seats.
Beyond this resemblance, the MINI Clubvan has a character all of its own, headlined by its clear working brief. The absence of rear seats allows the Clubvan to focus squarely on maximising load-carrying capacity. The cargo area is 115 centimetres long and, even at its narrowest point just behind the rear doors, 102 centimetres wide. The partition behind the front seats, comprising a solid aluminium lower section and an upper section of stainless steel grating, is firmly attached to the vehicle body. The partition prevents objects in the load compartment from slamming forward into the passenger compartment under heavy braking. It also allows loading right up to the roof, so that full use can be made of the rear compartment's 860 litres of cargo space. The MINI Clubvan has a maximum payload of 500 kilograms.
The high-quality carpeting covering the flat load compartment floor and side walls is fit-for-purpose and stylish in equal measure. Six attachment loops recessed into the floor at the edge of the load area can be used to secure cargo of all shapes and sizes, preventing items from sliding around when the vehicle is on the move. Elsewhere, an anthracite roof liner runs the full length of the vehicle, two additional load compartment lights illuminate proceedings during loading and unloading, and 12-volt sockets in the cargo area can be used to power electrical equipment.
The MINI Clubvan shields its cargo from curious eyes while on the move and during drop-offs thanks to a combination of opaque, blocked-out glass in the rear side windows and Clubdoor, and the darkened glass in the rear doors. The side window surfaces are body-coloured on the outside and have polycarbonate reinforcement on the inside. This paves the way for a new form of individualisation, the van's flanks offering the ideal location for company signage or a brand logo. All of which allows the MINI Clubvan to double up as an attractive advertising platform for the urban street scene. It certainly provides a fitting showcase for style-conscious companies.
Customers can specify their MINI Clubvan in the exterior colours Pepper White, Ice Blue and Midnight Black metallic, while a choice of 15, 16 and 17-inch light-alloy wheels are available as optional alternatives to the standard 15-inch Delta Spoke items that are exclusive to the MINI Clubvan. Inside, the MINI Clubvan comes as standard with Cosmos Carbon Black cloth seats, while the cloth/leather combination Ray Carbon Black, Punch Leather Carbon Black and Lounge Leather Carbon Black trim are all included on the options list. The black interior colour shade contrasts with Fine White Silver interior trim strips as standard. However, these can be swapped for a selection of three other interior trim strips, three Colour Lines and a leather-covered instrument panel. And the MINI Clubvan also offers customers a wide variety of options with which to optimise comfort, driving fun, safety and practicality.
Ensuring that the MINI Clubvan offers reliable just-in-time delivery is a line-up of three lively four-cylinder engines. The MINI One Clubvan produces 72 kW/98 hp, the MINI Cooper Clubvan is fitted with a 90 kW/122 hp unit and the third string to the MINI Clubvan's bow – the MINI Cooper D Clubvan – puts 82 kW/112 hp at the driver's disposal. The diesel variant's power delivery boasts attention-grabbing immediacy and raises the bar in terms of economy. Its average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle stands at just 3.9 litres per 100 kilometres (72.4 mpg imp), to go with CO2 emissions of 103 grams per kilometre. Power is channelled through the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although all variants of the MINI Clubvan can also be specified with a six-speed automatic as an option.
The MINI Clubvan uses its inimitable allure to lay down an attractive marker in the commercial supply sector. The MINI Clubvan will be welcomed onto the fleet of any company needing to display a stylish appearance and appreciation of premium quality as part of the job. But it is also a frequent sight on the roads beyond the timetable of the working day and the usual places of business. Indeed, for transporting larger sports equipment and other leisure gear you'll be hard pushed to find another two-seater that combines driving fun and functionality with the flair of the MINI Clubvan.