Review: Mini Cooper Clubman Black Pack

Review: Mini Cooper Clubman Black Pack
Review: Mini Cooper Clubman Black Pack

What does a new trim level add to the estate?

If you buy a Mini then you almost certainly buy some personalisation to go with it. About 80 per cent of owners have gone for the Chili Pack, which adds 17-inch alloys, mood lighting in the cabin and more. Mini has obviously noticed this, and has come up with another pack, this time the Rat Pack – sorry, the Black Pack.

Really, what Mini has done is to gather up some optional items and put them all together, which means you can buy them for £700 rather than the £900 they would have cost separately. That gives you some of the black stuff, with black 17-inch wheels, black bonnet stripes and piano black trim in the cabin.

Mini Cooper Black Pack Clubman

Price: £21,430
Engine: 1.5-litre, four-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Power: 134bhp
Torque: 162lb ft
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Kerb weight: 1375kg
Top speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 9.1sec
Economy: 55.4mpg (combined)
CO2/tax band: 118g/km, 22%

These embellishments, you may be surprised to hear, haven’t knocked any time off the 9.1-second dash to 62mph nor added an iota to the 127mph top speed. All other numbers stay stubbornly the same. Which is a surprise – those bonnet stripes ought to be good for another few miles per hour surely?

On the other hand, the Mini Cooper Clubman remains the car it is, with a chirpy 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine that delivers all you really need, even if delivery is a tough gruff at the top end. Actually, it doesn’t feel that refined but nor does the rest of the car, with quite a lot of noise intruding into the cabin.

The cabin is one of the strengths, enhanced now with that piano black splashed about the place. It’s a place full of character and energy, even if it’s not as sophisticated or premium as some of the competitors like the Audi A3 Sportback or BMW 1 Series.

Handling is not a particular strong point. The brief to make this biggish car handle like a go-kart was the wrong brief really, so it does dart about the place but you pay the price of a over-firm ride and a general handling package that could prove tiring over long distances. But the steering is well weighted, the manual gearbox is great, better than the automatic, and you can have some fun with the driving experience.

And, of course, with the Black Pack you can stand out even more from the madding crowd. Is that worth £700? It might well be to many owners. Mini expects about 10 per cent of new buyers to opt for the Black Pack so, actually, you won’t stand out from the crowd that much after all.

Review: Peugeot 208 GTi

This hot hatch is the most extreme version of the 208If you’re in the market for a hot hatch, then the Peugeot 208 GTi deserves a look,

Group test: Used Honda CR-V v Used Mazda CX-5 v Used Subaru Forester

Honda CR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE Navi auto (3 stars) Engine size: 1.6-litre diesel List price when new: £30,520 Price today: £17,500* Power:

Review: Mini 1499 GT

The Mini 1499 GT name won’t be so familiar, but the car that inspired it might be: the 1970s Mini 1275 GT. It’s a special edition

Review: Range Rover Velar P300

The Range Rover Velar is a very upscale premium SUV. Up to now, we’ve enjoyed it in both V6 petrol and diesel guise – the P380