Believe it or not, when the new 2013 MINI Clubvan goes on sales here in the U.S. this autumn, it will mark the first time that “trend-conscious commercial users can … make a stylish and sophisticated statement when carrying out deliveries to their equally discerning customers.”
That’s because the Clubvan will offer the avant-garde appearance of today’s MINI along with the built-in functionality of a small panel van with a flat load floor. It’s reminiscent of the strategy that Chevrolet used with the Chevy HHR a few years ago, although MINI can look back to the Morris MINI van of 1960 to play the heritage card. That model, built on a stretched chassis of the original Mini, essentially swapped its rear seats for an unwindowed cargo area—just like the Clubvan will.
“The MINI Clubvan is a versatile choice both for upmarket commercial applications and for non-mainstream leisure and lifestyle use,” according to the brand. “It is in its element whenever special cargo-carrying jobs need to be handled in style.”
MINI Clubvan: The Clubman Gets a Haul Pass
The 2013 MINI Clubvan is built from the same basic platform as the MINI Clubman, itself about 9.3 inches longer than a MINI Cooper hardtop, and is thus 155.9 inches long, 56.1 inches in height and 66.3 inches wide—a few inches smaller in each measure than a Chevy Sonic hatch. MINI then blocks out the rear windows and transforms the Clubman’s rear passenger compartment into a cargo-friendly space capable of holding 30.3 cubic feet worth of just about anything.
Other advantages of the Clubvan’s cargo area:
- A robust maximum payload of 816 lbs.
- Width/length dimensions of 40.1 inches (at the narrowest)/44.8 inches
- A flat load floor and side walls covered in high-quality carpeting
- A full-height, fixed partition made from aluminum and stainless-steel mesh
- 12-volt sockets for plugging in electrical tools and devices
- Six tie-down rings for securing cargo
- A durable roof liner
- Body-color opaque side windows reinforced by polycarbonate in the cargo area
- Easy access to the back compartment via twin rear doors or a passenger-side “Clubdoor”
2013 MINI Clubvan: Maximum Driver Enjoyment
But while the Clubvan provides unexpectedly high levels of functionality, it also delivers exactly the kind of ownership experience one expects from a MINI. The brand’s new workhorse relies on the same peppy 1.6-liter I4 and nimble suspension that make the Clubman such a fun drive, with customers able to choose either a standard six-speed manual or similarly cogged automatic transmission.
The Clubvan has not been tested by the EPA for fuel economy yet, but should come in with scores similar to those posted by the Clubman, rated at up to 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway/30 mpg combined regardless of transmission—albeit with premium fuel.
There are plenty of choices to be had inside the Clubvan as well: The standard interior showcases a simple black appearance that’s offset by Fine White Silver trim, creating a clean, no-nonsense appearance befitting a commercial vehicle. Yet, as with its driving dynamics, the Clubvan’s interior also lives up to MINI’s strong reputation as an industry leader and can be customized with black sport seats (in leather or cloth), a leather-trimmed instrument panel, a variety of additional interior trim accents, automatic climate control, an up-level sound system with a 6.5-inch LCD screen and music-streaming capabilities, a navigation system, and more. Other available upgrades include Park Distance Control—an excellent option for dealing with urban parking—adaptive headlights, and 16- and 17-inch wheels; 15-inchers are standard.
Pricing on the new MINI Clubvan will be released a bit closer to its on-sale date, but it’s worth pointing out that, whatever its MSRP, the vehicle will provide owners with some notable tax advantages since it is classified as a commercial vehicle.