By on February 19, 2012

MINI will unveil their new Clubvan (isn’t that clever), a Clubman-based van with the rear seats removed and a metal screen placed in the back to separate the cargo compartment from the two seats up front.

Apart from that, not much else has changed. MINI also wants to gain “…new popularity among target groups not previously on the Mini radar.” It may be a substitute for the Chevrolet HHR Panel Van or (and this is a stretch) the Ford Transit Connect, but I’d rather buy a Clubvan outfitted in Cooper S JCW trim and have a factory lightened car for track days and the like. The Clubman’s long wheelbase doesn’t detract from the MINI’s trademark handling characteristics, and the extra space means room for tires, tools and a helmet bag.

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33 Comments on “MINI Clubvan: I See What You Did There...”

  • avatar

    Inexplicably, it’ll see service primarily as a paddy wagon for dwarf felons.

  • avatar

    They’re serious about this as a business vehicle? I mean, I can really see Joe, the owner of the local auto parts store, buying one of these so his pimply-faced 18-year old clerk can use it to run around town dropping parts off at local garages.

    Uh, right. First there’s the matter of aggressive driving. Then there’s the matter of maintenance costs compared to, say, or four cylinder Ford Ranger, er, Transit Van.

    • 0 avatar

      Well a local Seattle-area pizza restaurant uses MINIs for their delivery vehicles and was picked to deliver pizzas to Air Force One during the President’s recent stopover in Everett. No word on whether the delivery guys had pimples or not.

    • 0 avatar

      Because only auto parts stores need delivery vehicles. Sigh.

      How about flower shops, interior decorators, furniture restorers, fashion shops, Deli deliveries etc…

      Maybe not so suitable for rural Missouri, but perfect for Greewnich, Ct.

      • 0 avatar

        Exactly, this generally sucks compared to the utility of a Transit Connect, but it should cost about the same, and get better mileage. And the Ranger and HHR are gone, leaving this market open.

        Another thing to remember is that a delivery vehicle like this isn’t just a logistics tool, it’s a marketing tool. For a lot of small businesses a MINI fits the marketing image in ways that a Transit Connect does not.

        A non-S mini makes like 120 HP, with FWD, and, unless the actual owner buys it for him or herself, almost certainly an automatic. Not exactly hoon material.

        This will also make a good shaggin’ wagon for little people.

  • avatar

    I think it’s more after owner operated and image conscious businesses.

    A nicely styled mini still gets a smile, and getting people to smile while looking at your logo has value. Add a few entrepreneurs who would rather lease a mini than a transit for their own light duties and you have a niche for it.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s like a PT Cruiser wrapped in business vynil and plates “PHAT PT”. There’s also a firm in town called “Pacific Office Automation” that has Scions.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep, a local catering company here in Seattle/Bellevue uses the current xB as well as I think the previous gen variants as well as the venerable old Astro vans too for their delivery vehicles.

        Yes, they have the wrap signage and all too.

  • avatar

    Hopefully Mini charges more for this. After all, they did have to remove the seats, make the floor flat and install the cage. Thus the car makes eminent biz sense for those who are spending other business owner’s money.

  • avatar

    Private buyers might be interested too. The S model could be a good option for us dog-owning leadfoots, now that the only hot-rod wagons Volvo brings here are super-premium pseudo-SUV things. Drive this puppy like a V70 T5 and pin the Golden Retrievers to the back window…

  • avatar

    Part of me thinks: Ugh, more Mini rehash. The other part of me thinks: Yeah, this is a not a bad idea. It makes way more sense than that pointless and incredibly homely ClubMan. I can definitely see caterers… florists… courriers… gardeners… all kinds of businesses using this.

  • avatar

    Now the similarity btwn the Ford Flex and the Mini is more evident.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    OMG! They need a ‘Pink Edition’ of this vehicle for Tiffany and Brianna for their excursions to the mall.

    ……and the cost of these toys nicely optioned for mediocre quality is downright ridiculous.

  • avatar

    This isn’t a bad idea for those who run boutique type businesses that do some delivery work as well and need something equally boutique-ish to drive and this seems to fill the bill nicely.

  • avatar

    I know a certain bakery that specializes in complex, over the top wedding cakes. The owner usually makes the delivery/final setup himself. He currently has a small fleet of Mazda3 wagons. This would be perfect for him. It looks fancy and upscale without drawing negative opinions.

  • avatar

    An undertaker could buy a white one as a flower-car or as a hearse for children’s funerals, I suppose.

  • avatar

    That’s not a van and these types of vehicles use to be very common. A car based 2 door station wagon outfitted as a deliver vehicle is properly called a “sedan delivery”. Ford was the last American car company to make one.

    Behold the 1965 Ford Falcon sedan delivery.

  • avatar

    Had to be the last comment before I logged on.

    A genre called the sedan delivery existed in my youth. It was for the people actually described above – flower delivery/bakery etc. Heavier panel vans were for the plumbers etc and looked much the same. If you google image search for a 57 chevy sedan delivery, there are some pretty neat examples.

    BTW Tiffany is my grandaughter and Brianna is her daughter. I’ll tell them to come over to pick up their vehicle. They won’t insist on pink but it’s ok.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I always thought they should have done a PT Cruiser panel.

    Don’t forget the Vega Panel wagon. Blanked out side panels, low-back buckets no rear seat and a cargo area with a built-in compartment for tools or stuff.

  • avatar

    When I lived in the Netherlands in the mid ’80s, 2 door wagons outfitted exactly like this were extremely common commercial vehicles. Most of them were Ford Escorts and Vauxhall Vivas, the cheapest in their lineups IIRC.

  • avatar

    There was a van version of the original Austin Mini. It was based on the original Traveller. So this is actually a reintroduction of a previous model. I know someone that has a restored example.

  • avatar

    Is this based on a Clubman? I was set to buy a Clubman, but this utility concept kind of turns me off the vehicle now. It kind of cheapens it. I’m going to have to re-evaluate my choice.

    • 0 avatar


      I was interested in the Clubman, but the lack of utility (and the price) turned *me* off, and I bought a much cheaper Escape that can tow more.

    • 0 avatar

      A bit of life advice: “brand image” is a social construct at best, and completely bogus at worst. A car is a metal/glass/plastic construct — nothing more, nothing less.

      Don’t confuse the two.

  • avatar

    It fits well within the commercial van category in Europe, where they make vans out of everything, even Ford Fiestas…

    Only thing missing is the stamp out blanks in the body where the rear windows should be.

  • avatar

    I wonder how this stacks up against my mother’s original mini K van. Didn’t need those complex rear doors either. Just honest barn doors on exposed hinges. I think the floor was lower too, and steel, but no barrier. Probaly pack the same amount of gear in too.

  • avatar

    This is also done for financial reasons.
    In many European countries taxes for ‘light workcars’ are much lower.
    There are some rules to comply to: (from Belgium for example)
    – Half of the wheelbase must be used as cargo space
    – Separation after seats of minimum 30cm high
    – Rear safety belts must be removed

    Yearly taxes are then just 60-100€ instead of possible thousands of Euros.
    This is used on cars like a Renault Clio RS, Ford Focus ST, but also the big American cars like SRT10 (displacement is heavily taxed!). Big American vans are entered as campers to get them cheap on the road.

  • avatar

    It also may make sense for light delivery companies, who think about resale value as well as purchase and operating cost.

    After many years of Dominos Pizza using Chevettes and Metros as delivery cars, in the mid-1980s they started using S-10s Reason, I was told, was that those things kept resale value much better than the others.

    I don’t know what they’re using now; most pizza delivery drivers use their own heaps, and like it that way – they get mileage. But for florists, parts stores, couriers…if the company can afford the initial layout, they might do better as a total cost of operation.

  • avatar

    this sort of body style in France is called the societe or affaires, and many cars can be ordered this way: Clios, Pandas, Golfs, 207s, Fiestas, etc

    corporate car fleets should eat these up.

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