2016 Mini Cooper Clubman gas mileage review

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We're fond of Mini Coopers around here.

The little British cars are fun to drive, often produce smiles from others, and in their latest incarnation, are considerably more fuel-efficient than they used to be.

We've already tested the third-generation Mini hardtop in both its three-door and the new five-door variants.

DON'T MISS: 2016 MINI Cooper Clubman: More Maxi Wagon With Six Doors

Now, we've had a chance to test the newest version of the Clubman wagon, which has grown up into a proper four-door wagon but retained its vertical "church doors" in the back.

The previous generation of Clubman had a single door on the left and essentially a door and a half on the right; it was a much smaller car than this latest version.

Our 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman test car was fitted with a 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that sends 134 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels.

2016 Mini Cooper Clubman in New York's Hudson Valley, Apr 2016

2016 Mini Cooper Clubman in New York's Hudson Valley, Apr 2016

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While there's expected to be a future version of the Clubman that offers Mini's All4 all-wheel-drive system, for now the only AWD Mini is the Countryman crossover SUV.

The EPA fuel-economy ratings for the car we tested are 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 35 mpg highway).

That's considerably lower than the rating of 33 mpg combined for the three-door Cooper we drove almost two years ago.

ALSO READ: 2015 MINI Cooper S Hardtop 4-Door: Gas Mileage Review

That three-door Cooper Hardtop gave us real-world gas mileage of almost 40 mpg over a long trip that was mostly highway miles.

For our recent Mini Clubman, the mileage shown on the vehicle's display ended up at 36.4 mpg over 323 miles that was about two-thirds highway, one-third local traffic.

We'd view that as more evidence that the three-cylinder Mini Coopers can deliver remarkable fuel efficiency if you drive them at a normal pace.

2016 MINI Cooper Clubman 4-door HB Dashboard

2016 MINI Cooper Clubman 4-door HB Dashboard

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One unexpected feature of the Mini's powertrain was rev-matching, meaning that the car's control software automatically raises or lowers the engine speed once the driver shifts into a new gear.

That makes the clutch takeup exceptionally smooth, but it disappointing to realize it was the car doing the work—rather than us being exceptionally good at using the manual gearbox and stiff clutch.

Other notes from our four days with the new Mini Cooper Clubman:

  • The standard start-stop system works predictably, though on the manual the driver has to put the gear lever into neutral for it to switch off
  • The optional sports seats are truly excellent: comfortable and bolstered in just the right places, complete with front-cushion extenders

CHECK OUT: 2014 MINI Cooper: Gas Mileage Review With 3-Cyl Engine + Manual (Sep 2014)

  • Rear seats have a surprising amount of legroom
  • The interior plastics, seat fabric, and matching door panels felt much higher-quality than you'd expect in this small a car
  • Needs more than one USB port for front-seat passengers

2016 MINI Cooper Clubman 4-door HB Instrument Cluster

2016 MINI Cooper Clubman 4-door HB Instrument Cluster

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  • Instruments are legible, but a 160-mph speedometer means only half the gauge range is used in the real world—which is just silly
  • We couldn't get the car's infotainment system to display Pandora song information from an Android phone
  • Flip-down rear-seat headrests open up rearward vision—a feature we wish all cars had
  • Our favorite feature: the LED that projects a winged "MINI" logo onto the ground when you approach the driver's door

2016 Mini Cooper Clubman in New York's Hudson Valley, Apr 2016

2016 Mini Cooper Clubman in New York's Hudson Valley, Apr 2016

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Our 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman carried a base price of $24,100. The British Racing Green metallic paint added $500, and the cloth-and-leatherette upholstery in Black Pearl a further $750.

A $2,000 Sport Package bundled sport seats, LED headlights, 17-inch silver alloy spoke wheels, and dynamically-adjusted shock absorbers. On top of that, a $1,750 Technology Package added rear parking-distance control and a rear-view camera.

With $500 for heated front seats, $300 for SiriusXM satellite radio with a one-year subscription, and a mandatory $850 destination charge, the bottom line came to $30,750.

Trivia: This is one of very, very few cars you can buy that have twice as many doors as cylinders.

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