Small commercial vehicles are growing in popularity as evident by the Ram C/V Cargo, Ford Transit Connect and the upcoming Nissan NV200, but businesses looking for a little more luxury when delivering goods will soon have the 2013 MINI Clubvan to check out. Nothing has changed since we first saw the MINI Clubvan Concept at last year's Geneva Motor Show, but MINI did release a slew of new images for its commercialized Clubman as well as official details about the car. The 2013 MINI Clubvan goes on sale in the United States this fall, but pricing or availability have not been announced. As MINI's first model ever rated as a commercial vehicle, MINI joins Mercedes-Benz as the sole providers of premium-branded cargo vehicles.
MINI says that the 2013 MINI Clubvan is inspired by the Morris MINI van from the 1960s, but this modern interpretation should offer even more cargo capacity thanks to the fact that it shares its body with the MINI Cooper Clubman. The biggest difference between the Clubman and Clubvan, however, is the rear side windows on the former being replaced with opaque, body-color panels on the latter. Unlike other MINI models, the Clubvan's exterior can only be ordered in the same color (no contrasting roof), and exterior colors are limited to Pepper White, Ice Blue, Highlight Black Metallic and, of course, British Racing Green. The images provided for this article by MINI depict the European-spec Clubvan, so we're not sure if any equipment or styling changes are being planned for U.S. buyers.
Under the hood, the U.S.-spec MINI Clubvan will only be available with the Clubman's base engine which is the 1.6-liter inline-four producing 121 horsepower and 114 lb-ft of torque, and there is a choice of either an automatic or manual six-speed transmission. Although there are no plans to build a John Cooper Works version of the Clubvan, we're sure Chevrolet HHR SS owners could be enticed by this potential 208-hp model! With the 2012 Clubman having EPA estimates of 27 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, these are big advantages over the Ram and Ford products and it's even better than the HHR Panel.
As expected from a commercial vehicle, the interior of the 2013 MINI Clubvan has been reworked to maximize not only cargo space but also durability and security. The MINI Cooper Clubman's rear bench seat has been replaced by a flat, carpeted load floor that creates a cargo are that is 44.8 inches long, 401.1 inches wide (at its narrowest point) and has a maximum payload of 816 pounds. At 30.3 cubic feet, the available cargo volume in the 2013 MINI Clubvan is actually about 2 cubic feet fewer than a Clubman, but it adds must-have features for a commercial vehicle such as a aluminum/stainless steel mesh partition, six tie down loops built into the floor and two power outlets. Unlike other small vehicles in this class, the Clubvan ditches sliding doors for MINI's unique five-door configuration that includes the rear-hinged passenger-side cargo door.
We expect the base MSRP for the MINI Clubvan to competitively priced well under $25,000, but one area it should really stand out from other small commercial vehicles is the amount of luxury and tech options available. Cloth seats come standard in the Clubvan for maximum comfort, but leather-wrapped sport bucket seats are available. Other options include a leather-wrapped instrument panel, adaptive headlights, automatic temperature control and MINI Connected with navigation.