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2013 MINI Clubman Overview

Justin Cupler
Automotive Editor - December 31, 2012

The Mini lineup is a lot older than most people may think, as it dates back to 1959, when BMC developed the first Mini model - a compact four-cylinder car to combat fuel shortages in Europe. Mini became a part of the BMW auto group in the 1990s, after the German automaker snatched up the Rover Group. BMW later offloaded the Rover Group, but retained its rights to mini, knowing that this brand has a bright future. In 2002, BMW brought the Mini Cooper to the U.S., and the Cooper Clubman - a three-door model - debuted in 2008.

Coming into the 2013 model year, the Cooper Clubman is a carryover from 2012. This model comes in three trim levels, Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works. The Cooper trim level focuses on giving the customer great fuel economy – 35 mpg highway and 27 mpg city – and a well-proportioned interior with basic amenities. The Cooper S trim level adds in significantly more power, via a turbocharger, and still gets the same gas mileage as the Cooper model. The Cooper S trim also adds in some performance aesthetics, like larger rims, aluminum pedals and others. The John Cooper Works trim level offers awesome performance, dropping 0.5 seconds from the Cooper S’ 0-to-60 time, plus it adds in a few extra features, like its exclusive interior pattern, electronic differential and others.

The compact hatchback market is undergoing a comeback in the U.S., so the Mini Clubman has some stout competition. A key competitor to the Clubman is the 2013 Fiat 500, which has an engine lineup ranging from a 1.4-liter engine with 101 horsepower to a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 160 horsepower and gets between 34 and 40 mpg on the highway. The 2013 Hyundai Veloster is another one on the list with its engine lineup ranging from a 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter to a 201-horsepower, turbocharged 1.6-liter, while getting 35 to 37 mpg on the highway. Next up on the list of competitors is the 2013 Volkswagen GTI, which has a 200-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which nets the GTI 31 to 33 mpg highway.

As expected, the Mini Clubman has plenty of competition, but it is really the car that launched the hatchback revival in the U.S. Even with its place in history firmly set, the Mini still needs to bring plenty to the table to hold onto its market share.

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