MINI Clubman opens its doors

The MINI Traveller has finally arrived, and we are shutting off the "No Vacancy" sign. OK, so the car will officially be called the Clubman when it arrives in dealerships "in the next three years." Traveller has been deemed too protected to legally secure for use here. But as William Shakespeare once said, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other word would smell as sweet."

Sporting the split rear doors and taillight-concealed hinges of the show car, this MINI wagon looks as stylish as it is practical. With seating for five allowed because of the longer body, MINI has also added a pair of reverse opening rear doorlets, making this a six-door model. And the trick rear hinges will allow a wider opening than would fixed taillights and conventional hinges, so BMW appears to have maximized the utility of this MINI.

Finally allowing five adults room to breathe, and still bring along some luggage, the Clubman answers our few complaints about the original. Clever and cute are what MINI has been doing best since the beginning, but with the extra room and clever split rear, they are taking it to the next level. One note of caution, owners should prepare themselves for the inevitable, "Hey buddy, your barn door's open," jokes.


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