"You want a large for $.25 more?" That's what the popcorn drone behind the concession counter asks when you order a medium Coke at the movies. You may not need it, but hell, it's offered, so you pull the trigger. The same thing is happening in auto showrooms. Why settle for just an Escalade when you can have the ESV? This year, even BMW-owned MINI is getting in on the act. The result is the MINI Cooper Clubman, which your local MINI salesperson will happily offer for just $2,000 more than the regular Cooper.
So, what does that extra two grand (before options) really get you? After all, the regular MINI Cooper is a tidy little package; it's great looking, fun, and economical, while offering a high level of factory customization and/or personalization. Want more performance? Buy an S. Want even more than that? Get the JCW. If you wanted more room, however, you had a problem. Until now. Enter the Clubman. MINI has decided to expand the niche it occupies by combining the red meat its core customers want -- the cars' signature styling and entertaining nature -- with more room for people and stuff. But not too much more, because then it wouldn't be a MINI. The idea was to get bigger while remaining small. What a conundrum. Go too big, and you squash brand identity, don't go big enough, and the whole exercise is a waste of everyone's time.