Juvenile Verve

Consumerism and globalization have proven to be such a great occurrence, not just for those that produce goods, but also for the consumers that purchase them.

Having options and variety is always a good thing and it always will be. I don't like pickles on my hotdogs. This provides an opportunity for fair competition and in the end, the people can decide which product best suits their needs. Over time, needs will change. People evolve just as much as the products do. In a silly sense, we, mere mortals, are shaped by cutting-edge technology. The description in the rise of the millennials and whatever generation comes after that, always has an anecdote on technology - whether it be in the form of mobile devices or social media. In retrospect, this kind of progress has allowed conglomerates to create brands that are now considered institutions. 

Take camera film for instance. There’s Kodak and Fujifilm, the rest are just noise. There are so many general products in this world that we call by a brand’s name, like Jacuzzi for instance. Jacuzzi is a brand of hot tubs. They make sleeping mattresses too, but when you say Jacuzzi, you’re only talking about the jet-spraying tub. It’s no different with the likes of Xerox, a brand that builds photocopying machines, but isn’t actually what you call a machine that photocopies images to paper. Similarly, two decades ago, when you talked about Porsche, you were most certainly talking about a 911 - in the same way that MINI is a Cooper, so what in heaven’s name is a Clubman?

"The mark of a true MINI is based on theater and youth - which this is oozing with." 

You see, all these carmakers believe that they must create a car for every single person and every single millennial disorder. That’s why soon you’ll have a BMW 15 Series and a Mercedes-Benz Z-Class. This decade old Blitzkrieg approach to making so many different models has plagued many brands and their customers with an identity crisis. Unless you're the kind of person who enjoys a Turken for Thanksgiving, then this has created a little bit of a problem.

However, the Cooper S Clubman, is a bit of a different story. Back in the day when MINI were at the grasp of British Leyland, they had a designer that gave the Cooper a nip and tuck. Since Ford was his former employer, the cars had similarities to the Escorts and Capris of yore. Needless to say, they haven't gone down very well in the history books. However, their Clubman Estate was thought to be worthy of a reincarnation by BMW - and they were right. 

Runs on irregular.

I’ve never been a fan of the Clubman. I saw it on the internet when the car was launched and I’ve always thought that it looked like an ambulance for Oompa Loompas. Upon seeing the car in the flesh, I must admit that it has an air to it. It’s got this “I could’ve bought a real MINI Cooper, but I’ve bought this bread van instead” vibe to it. It’s longer than the MINIs we’re used to and it’s well-dressed too.

Whatever this off-white paint job is, it’s the color to have for this car along with those black stripes. The Clubman is as theatrical on the outside as the rest of MINI’s lineup, and that’s a good thing. After all, nobody buys a MINI because it’s practical. Even if this Clubman can fit your dogs and a suitcase, the mark of a true MINI is based on theater and youth - which this is oozing with. 

"These little details when put together remind us why being a child was one of the best times of our lives - simple, fun, and honest."

The interior is a work of art, at least in the eyes of my nieces. It looks like it was designed by a toddler, with splashes of neon colors on the infotainment system. I think it’s a rather lovely touch, seeing as it is, that many brands today no longer keep in touch with their heritage. This MINI celebrates being juvenile even when it has clearly grown up. The seats are sporty and supportive. The driving position, pretty much perfect. The infotainment screen is derived from BMW’s iDrive, the best in the business, and therefore works without any hiccups.

You have got to love those toggle switches. It’s like the launch sequence of a rocket ship from the Cartoon Network. These little details when put together remind us why being a child was one of the best times of our lives - simple, fun, and honest. The doors for the boot open the same way an ambulance does, and that makes loading and unloading things at the back, the easiest of chores. The rear seats offer ample space. Don’t expect 7-Series levels of legroom, but let’s just say that you can keep both of your legs if you decide to hop in the rear. 

Defy labels.

Driving this thing is joyful. It has the sporty elements that we’ve grown accustomed to with these German-engineered British cars, like the deliciously precise steering. Under the hood lays a 2-liter TwinPower Turbo engine which easily propels the car into hot hatch territories of performance. Of course, we all know that this isn’t a hot hatch, but it’s good to know that it can keep up with the best of them. Through the corners, it handles tightly and the 8-speed automatic transmission is quite the Einstein. It always gave me the correct gear that I needed to power out of the corner.

The Clubman is a great car, but you have to fall under a certain bracket to appreciate what it offers, because otherwise, there is no reason why you shouldn’t get the 3-door MINI Cooper S. It will only make sense if you so desperately want a Cooper but need the extra space. Either way, the Clubman will not disappoint in power, handling, theater, and feel. It has all of the hallmarks of the iconic British brand but with a hint of practicality and docility. It’s a real MINI through and through. So I guess consumerism when essential, isn't always that bad.

Go with your gut.

2017 MINI Cooper S Clubman

Engine: 1998cc, DOHC 16v Inline-4, TwinPower Turbo
Fuel: Gasoline
Power: 192 bhp @ 5,000-6,000 rpm
Torque: 280 Nm @ 1,350-4,600 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Sport Automatic, FWD
0-100 km/h: 7.1 seconds
Top Speed: 229 km/h
Fuel Economy: 8.7 km/L Overall
Price: PHP3,300,000
+: Peppy engine, sporty handling, surprisingly practical
-: A bit too pricey, loses a little bit of the go-kart feel
Verdict: All the MINI theatrics that you can enjoy with more people
Rating: 9/10

Ex-Automotive Executive

Instagram: @enzoteodoro