Max-Mini: Mini Clubman Perplexes
Obviously, the only thing wrong with the Mini Cooper is that it doesn't offer a Max version. But it will, starting this fall in Europe and coming to the U.S. in the first quarter of next year.
That’s sad, because the initial attraction of the machine was its size — a David out to do battle with all the Goliaths. Its petite size won many fans for the Mini camp, including people who found it easy to park along congested streets or in cramped downtown garages. In the garage at home, you could slip the bike, mower, and car into the same one-vehicle garage stall.
Of course, if you have six kids and two dogs, it's not the car for you. It’s also a mite out of place for soccer moms, considering how many Minis you could fit in a soccer goal. But the Mini is cute and cuddly, and that's what won over fans.
Apparently, though, a number of Mini enthusiasts said that while they were deeply, madly, head-over-heels in love with their car, there was one teenie-weenie little problem: The car wasn't big enough. So the automaker decided to give them what they want — a Clubman edition with a wheelbase extended 3 inches and an overall length that's nearly 10 inches greater overall. It will be available starting with the 2008 model year.
"The added length will be almost evenly split between the rear seat and the rear cargo area for those who love the car but said they feel they need more space," said Mini spokesman Andrew Cutler.
Duh! Need more space? It's called the M-I-N-I, not the XXL, for a reason. What’s next, a Mini SUV with four rows of seats for those who think the three rows in a Chevy Suburban isn't enough? Or perhaps a Mini pickup truck aimed to take on the Toyota Tundra?
If memory serves, wasn't there a little two-seater called Thunderbird that sized itself out of the market?
The Clubman will be powered by a choice of a 120-hp, 1.6-liter four-cylinder or a 175-hp, 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder. A 1.6-liter turbo-diesel will be sold in Europe, not the U.S. The European version will also shut the engine off at idle to conserve fuel. Mini said that feature won't be offered in the U.S.
Both the European and U.S. versions will feature a small rear-hinged access door on the passenger side of the vehicle, behind the passenger door, for easier access to the rear seat.
No word yet on price or mileage — or if an even-bigger version is coming. If you still want more space, buy a Honda Fit.