It's a Mini. It's a van. But it's not a minivan. That's because the sort of van we're talking about here is a panel van – think of the Ford Transit Connect or recently departed Chevrolet HHR Panel – a vehicle with two seats up front, a partitian behind the cockpit and nothing but a flat load floor in back. These little workaday runabouts are immensely popular in Europe, and Mini has decided to get in on the action with its latest concept, the Clubvan, which will officially debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Mini Clubvan ConceptSeeing this concept confirms earlier rumors about a potential Clubman-based panel van, and aside from the removal of the rear seats and the addition of a stainless steel honeycomb partitian, there isn't much else to separate the Clubvan concept from its passenger-friendly Clubman kin. That makes us think this concept could rather easily make it to production.

But unlike more work-focused vans, the side walls and load floor of the Clubvan are lined with anthracite-colored cloth rather than a durable plastic compound. Then again, Mini is touting the Clubvan as the perfect fleet vehicle for fashion designers and gallery owners rather than drywall contractors or heating and cooling repairmen. The Clubman's five-door layout (that's a driver's door, passenger door, passenger-side suicide door, and dual barn doors out back) remains intact, and Mini has added six attachment loops throughout the rear cargo area to secure goods while they're being transported.

So, why a panel van? The company states that the Clubvan "combines the driving fun for that Mini is renowned with increased load-carrying capability," and that, "The Mini experience will therefore find its way into new areas of life, the brand's distinctive character gaining new popularity among target groups not previously on the Mini radar." We'll definitely be checking this one out in Geneva in a few weeks, but in the meantime, hit the jump for the official press release and scroll through our attached image gallery to see the Clubvan concept inside and out.
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- Compact lifestyle van for business and leisure
- First concept of its kind in the premium segment
- World premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show 2012

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – February 18, 2012 – Stand-out-from-the-crowd style can also be amazingly practical – and practicality can be surprisingly attractive. The MINI Clubvan Concept paves the way for an innovative vehicle concept without parallel in the premium small car segment. The MINI Clubman-based concept car, scheduled for its world premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show 2012, combines the driving fun for which MINI is renowned with increased load-carrying capability. The MINI experience will therefore find its way into new areas of life, the brand's distinctive character gaining new popularity among target groups not previously on the MINI radar.

The closed-off load area behind the front seats and the opaque rear side windows of the new concept set it apart most strikingly from the MINI Clubman, the platform used as its base. The MINI Clubvan Concept uses its broader skill-set to open up new usage possibilities – both business and leisure. Where a business's customers, product range or operating environment demand a particular style for its vehicles, this premium model can make the perfect delivery solution.

For example, a car in the mould of the MINI Clubvan Concept would fit excellently into the fleet of a fashion designer, art gallery owner or catering service. And its abilities as an all-rounder also tick the right boxes for a photographer with a stack of camera, tripod and lighting equipment to ferry around during the week – and bulky sports and leisure gear to pile on board at the weekend. The MINI Clubvan Concept pulls off the trick of blending enhanced practicality and a well-judged lifestyle focus with natural ease. This ability is based on the impressive adaptability that goes to the heart of the MINI brand's heritage.

Calls for maximizing the load capacity of the classic Mini began as early as 1960, just a year after the car's birth; and they were soon heeded. With its 10-centimeter-longer wheelbase (3.94 inches), separate load compartment and split rear doors, the Morris Mini Van was perfectly equipped for commercial use. It also provided the basis for the fully glazed, four-seat Morris Mini Traveller, one of the precursors of today's successful MINI Clubman. And so, more than 50 years on, the MINI Clubvan Concept sees history repeating itself – albeit in a slightly different order.

Two seats, five doors, endless usage potential.

Limiting the car to two seats creates the capacity its owners will need on a day-to-day basis, as well as opening up a whole new world of customization potential. The load compartment of the MINI Clubvan Concept embodies the car's fresh and rigorous interpretation of the principle used in the classic Mini – 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.

Six attachment loops recessed into the load compartment floor use elasticized straps to hold items of varying lengths, heights and widths in place – without the risk of them sliding around. The partition grille, which is fixed securely to the car body, ensures that items stowed in the load compartment are kept safely away from the front seats. The lower section of the partition is made from solid aluminum, while the upper section consists of a silver-colored stainless steel honeycomb grating. The side walls and floor of the load compartment are trimmed in high-quality anthracite-colored cloth. The anthracite roof liner, meanwhile, extends along the full length of the interior. This uniform color scheme emphasizes the pure-bred, practicality-oriented character of the MINI Clubvan Concept.

Like the MINI Clubman, the MINI Clubvan Concept is a five-door car with a twist. 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 generous levels of space on board the concept car can be exploited in a variety of ways. Commercial users will be particularly pleased to discover the scope for configuring the load compartment to personal 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.

Exterior design: shields from prying eyes, cuts a distinctive figure.

Impressive practicality and the brand's time-honored style lend the MINI Clubvan Concept its unmistakable character. Sharing the exterior dimensions of the MINI Clubman and boasting cleverly increased storage capacity, the concept car is the first premium model in the small-car-based van segment. The exterior appearance of the MINI Clubvan Concept marks it out immediately as a MINI – and therefore as a premium product. The function-led design modifications have no impact on the car's proportions and hallmark MINI design language, but they do give customers the opportunity to combine the demands of commercial use with an appreciation of individual style. The MINI Clubvan Concept comes with British Racing Green exterior paintwork, which extends to the roof, C-pillars and exterior mirror caps. As is usual for vehicles charged with transportation tasks, the rear side windows of the MINI Clubvan Concept are opaque. Polycarbonate sections – their outer surfaces painted in the car's body color – and heavily tinted glass for the rear doors make it difficult to see into the load compartment.

The unbroken paintwork along the car's flanks offers extensive scope for individualization, which the MINI Clubvan Concept highlights to eye-catching effect. The sealed side windows bear 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. Indeed, the ultra-versatile MINI carries both its cargo and the company's promotional message with a uniquely stylish verve. The MINI Clubvan Concept presented in Geneva lends this form of customization a piquant authenticity – on two fronts. The British company that has literally left its stamp on the MINI Clubvan Concept creates similar vehicle graphics for its customers. And the MINI Clubvan Concept showcases how these might look when applied to a MINI van.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      If they bring it here with a small diesel and price it low, I think it would do very well for commercial businesses.
      Geoffrey Swenson
      • 3 Years Ago
      I rather like the looks of this. I also really like the pleasant proportions of the Ford Transit. Ford could possibly put seats in it, and perhaps a bit more engine and have a rather cost effective people mover. The could even sell it with rubber mats, as the ultimate practical car, wash it out with a hose. We could do that with my Dad's '65 chevy van. I don't think having carpet everywhere inside an everyday car, especially in muddy midwest winters, is everything it's cracked up to be.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I could so bring my art to shows in this shebang. Love it.
      Just me...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh, boy! Yet still another further different special special edition special edition Mini!
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      A Clubman with no rear seats, no rear side windows and a cheap looking partition.....hmmm It looks to me as though a standard Clubman with the rear seats removed would offer more storage space aswell? Mini, I love you, but this is just a lazy effort
        • 3 Years Ago
        What do you think the original Mini van was? Just a Traveller with the rear seats and windows removed. Many other small vans - such as the Vauxhall Astra van - employed the same tactic. In doing this, it means VAT registered businesses can reclaim the input Vat which they couldn't withbthe regular four seats and windows estate variant.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why every Mini looks so damn ugly.
        • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Mini doesn't get remarkably better mileage than anyone else and isn't particularly roomy to begin with. I would rather grab a Kia Rio or Hyundai Accent, gut the interior myself and call it a day. No requirement for premium fuel, more room, and better gas mileage. Lets not even get started on Mini reliability. At least the Korean pair come with a 100,000 mile warranty. You'd save $300 a year in gas for every 12,000 miles driven.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The regular Clubman has 32.8 cu. ft. of space with the seats down. A Honda Fit has 57.3 with its seats down. This is a cute vehicle, but I'm surprised more businesses don't use a Fit for light delivery work. Anyway, do you think they'll offer a JCW version? I bet someone out there would buy it just to have (guessing here) the lightest production JCW model.
        DCI Gene Shunt
        • 3 Years Ago
        Going from an '02 MCS to a '11 Fit meant I could actually haul things. A Fit is a dang TARDIS. Carried 2 pinball machines(separately) with it.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Because these vehicles are often the face of your delivery company and free advertising. A Mini is considered far more attractive than the oddly proportioned Fit by most.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The standard-bearer in the diesel or any kind, for that matter) delivery van is the Sprinter. If you can't afford it, there's the Transit Connect, every bit a Ford with its ugly exterior and lackluster (gasoline only, in the US) engine. This one though, would make a great hearse. For small people.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Orin O'Neill
      • 3 Years Ago
      They should sell plenty of these to galleries, fetishized coffee vendors and other twee urban businesses that are presently using 1.0 Scion xBs...
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