Attention all small business owners: MINI has your new ride (so they claim).
MINI has just revealed the production version of their 2013 Clubvan. Now, for those who've gotten lost in the recent blitz of unnecessary models from the brand, the Clubvan is basically a Clubman without the rear seats and side windows. The purpose for their removal was to turn the Clubman into a fashionable commercial car for caterers, flower shop owners, etc. Ok, fair enough, there is a market opening due to the discontinuation of the Honda Element, Chrysler PT Cruiser and the Chevrolet HHR Panel.
The Ford Transit Connect, however, is what plumbers who've downsized from an E-Series wagon drive. No offense to plumbers. The new Clubvan has decent cargo space, with 30.3 cubic-feet, which is slightly more than the HHR. However, the Clubvan has a fourth of the Transit Connect's space (129.6 cubic-feet). MINI was also wise to downgrade a few things in the Clubvan in order to prep it for its work duties. This includes standard cloth seats and a single engine for U.S. buyers: a naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter four pot with 121hp. The Euro version will be offered with a diesel as well (so what else is new?).
A six-speed manual is standard and an automatic is optional. Other options include a navigation system, HID and adaptive headlights, automatic climate control, and park distance control. The Clubvan certainly isn't bad looking and we've always thought the Clubman has never been given its full due. Still, with pricing not expected to be cheap for a work van, it'll be interesting to see if small business owners take an interest. After all, they'll need to replace those PT Cruisers and HHR's sooner or later. Official pricing will be announced this fall.