Mini could call the previous Clubman a five-door on a technicality, in as much as it had five doors. But two of them were for access to an enlarged but still restrictive boot, and only one granted access to the back seats – and via the wrong side of the car for the utmost convenience of British buyers.

The new model is what the rest of the car-making world calls a five-door – and yet Mini calls it a six-door, now that it has four side doors and retains two at the rear.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The boot doors is a feature from the Austin Seven Countryman, but the seam where the doors meet creates a blind spot

Whatever it is, it’s clear that Cowley only intends to apply the word ‘ordinary’ to this car in inverted commas.

Its number of doors isn’t what sets this car apart, though. The Clubman is now a full-size car. At more than 4.2m long, it fills a typical UK parking space and is 270mm longer than a Mini 5dr hatch, 100mm longer in the wheelbase and 73mm wider.

Mini has done a fine job keeping the car low to the ground and employing idiosyncratic design so the car is still recognisably a Mini – and much less of an affront than the odd-looking Countryman.

But your perspective on the car’s authenticity to its roots will be informed by how important you think compactness is.

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For us, the fact that the car looks low and at least relatively slight by full-size hatchback standards makes it just about ‘Mini’ enough.

Built on the same UKL1 platform as the Mini hatchback, the Clubman diverts from its sibling’s mechanical template with entirely redeveloped strut-type front suspension and multi-link rear. Decoupled dampers, mounted on triple-path support bearings, promise better rolling refinement than the regular three and five-door cars, and variable damper control is on the options list.

British buyers can choose from a range of three and four-cylinder turbo petrol and diesel engines. A 1.5-litre triple powers the petrol-fuelled Cooper, with it producing 134bhp and 162lb ft of peak twist, while the Cooper S and JCW variants are powered by a 2.0-litre, four pot engine producing 189bhp and 228bhp respectively. The diesel range is made up of two tunes of the same four-pot diesel engine, with the Cooper D's unit punching out 148bhp and the Cooper SD a more heady 188bhp

Those wondering where the entry-level One D variant of the Clubman is, it was dropped from the range due to a lack of demand for the oilburning triple.

Our test car was a 148bhp 2.0-litre Cooper D manual, which means it missed out on the other two mechanical departures for the Clubman: an optional eight-speed automatic gearbox and Mini's All4 four-wheel drive system - which is only available on Cooper S and Cooper SD variants.

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