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First Drive: Mini Clubman City

Mini is best known as a retail brand, but with the City its aiming to open its six doors to fleets…

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SECTOR Lower medium   PRICING £19,995-£23,855   FUEL 48.7-68.9mpg   CO2 109-131g/km

Working closely with its business customers, the new Mini Clubman City is firmly aimed at fleets, with all the bells and whistles customers could wish for.

Powered by a choice of either 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol or diesel, Mini’s engineers have worked hard to keep emissions down, with the diesel emitting the lowest of any Clubman model at just 109g/km CO2, while the petrol offers 130g/km for the auto and 131g/km for the manual transmission. Interestingly, Mini is only offering the diesel with its auto box. And of course, all figures stated are WLTP rated – with Mini having issued up-to-date figures in July, well ahead of the September deadline.

The big business incentive comes when looking at the equipment specification. 6.5-inch sat nav, real-time traffic info, E-call, rear parking distance control, Apple Car Play, DAB and Bluetooth hands free are included in addition to the Clubman’s standard kit. 16-inch wheels are standard, but 17-inch alloys are available for no extra charge with a choice of two designs. All this compares well to competing Golf and Focus models.

Where this car differs from its nearest competition is by way of quality inclusions like leather steering wheel and useful split rear tailgate, unique to the Clubman.

Pricing starts from £19,995 for the Mini One Clubman City petrol with manual transmission, through to £23,855 for the diesel auto.

Living up to the brand’s ethos, the Clubman is a sprightly and rewarding drive complemented by sharp handling and a taught, short-shift manual gearbox. The petrol three-cylinder isn’t going to win performance awards, but it offers plenty enough poke not to embarrass you. Crucially, it falls silent on a motorway cruise despite it’s pseudo V6-esque accelerative rumble. The driving position is comfortable and accommodating, although rear vision is obscured by the boot doors’ central shut line.

Has Mini managed to create a credible fleet offering? The City nomenclature takes away the usual fleet compromises from the Clubman that already offered an interesting alternative to the fleet defaults. And, in City guise it matches or excels the competition in terms of specification, leaving the engine as the only choice left to make. While diesel will remain appealing to high mileage drivers, it’s the petrol that stands out, offering both business sense, refinement and fun.

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.