Those familiar with the MINI lineup might be aware of the MINI Clubman, a MINI that offers slightly more space for carrying luggage relative to your Cooper and Countryman models. MINI thinks there is a market for the customer who would want much more cargo space and would be willing to pay the premium a MINI commands. MINI is so confident they have presented examples of fashion designers, people who run art galleries and photographers. Come to think of it, that does makes sense.
MINI helpfully points out that polycarbonate sections that form the rear side windows and heavily tinted glass for the rear doors make it difficult to see into the load compartment. The unnerving possibilities of the applications of such a car aside, the new MINI retains the signature look, painted in British Racing Green. The Clubvan Concept shares exterior dimensions with the MINI Clubman, but loses two seats, has a cleverly designed cargo space and MINI claims, is the first premium model in the small car-based van segment.
MINI says the function-led design modifications have no impact on the car’s proportions and hallmark MINI design language. The British Racing Green exterior paintwork extends to the roof, C-pillars and exterior mirror caps.
The plain canvas that is the side of the Clubvan Concept offers scope for branding, which the MINI Clubvan Concept highlights to eye-catching effect. Shown in the pictures is the Clubvan Concept with sealed side windows bearing the logo of a sign design company based in the MINI’s native Great Britain. The hand-applied graphics lend the vehicle a personal look.
The Clubvan Concept gives customers a choice of a vehicle that combines the demands of commercial use an yet retains individual style. Unlike the Clubman which has four seats and five doors, the MINI Clubvan Concept has only two seats but the same five doors that opens up a whole new world of customisation potential. The load compartment of the MINI Clubvan Concept is designed on the principle that classic Mini’s were designed upon – of providing the maximum amount of interior space on the smallest possible footprint. The load area reaches from the split rear doors right up to the partition grille behind the two seats. The totally level floor makes full use of the interior’s depth, and that allows the concept car’s load capacity to exceed the maximum achieved by the MINI Clubman. The Clubvan Concept also has a scope for configuring the load compartment to customer requirements. For example, tools and goods can be stored neatly and securely in made-to-measure drawers or shelving units. 12-volt plug sockets in the rear area of the load compartment provide additional practicality.
Six attachment loops recessed into the load compartment floor use elasticated straps to hold items of varying lengths, heights and widths in place – without the risk of them sliding around. The partition grille, the lower section made from solid aluminium, upper section made of silver-coloured stainless steel honeycomb grating, and fixed securely to the car body, ensures that items stowed in the load compartment cannot find their way into the front seats, even under extremely heavy braking.The side walls and floor of the load compartment are trimmed in high-quality anthracite-coloured cloth. The anthracite roof liner, meanwhile, extends along the full length of the interior.
Two front doors for the driver and front passenger, two side-hinged doors at the rear and the rear-hinged Clubdoor on the right-hand side create comfortable access to the interior. The Clubdoor gives owners the option of loading or unloading smaller items from the side of the car as well as the rear.
The Clubdoor has been a subject of great debate considering it is always on the right side of a MINI, regardless of whether it is a LHD or Right Hand drive car. In right hand drive markets this meant the passengers in the rear of a Clubman had to step out into the traffic instead of onto the pavement. Spy shots of LHD MINIs being tested with a club door on the left side of the led to the speculation that MINI will resort to twin Clubdoors. Now that we’ve seen the Clubvan Concept, again with a single Clubdoor on the right side, we wonder what the future holds for other MINIs.
Of course, since the Clubdoor will be used only to access cargo in the Clubvan Concept, there is also the possibility that ONLY this model will have the Clubdoor on the right, and the other MINIs will have twin club doors.