Read Sam Smith’s comments on driving the 2008 MINI Cooper Clubman S.
The Clubman doesn’t offend me as much as it does Marc – if I had to choose between it and a SWB Mini (at least the current one), I’d probably go with the Clubman, purely on a practicality basis. (I haul entirely too much junk – and people – on a regular basis to sacrifice the amount of room required to own a SWB car.) Like Marc and Rusty noted, ride quality and interior room are the two biggest selling points here; the back seat is now actually usable for long trips, and the third door is a clever, if somewhat inelegant, way to get around the access problem.
Still, I find myself turned off by the new Mini in general. The Clubman works for me because it takes all of the new Mini’s attributes – fatter/faster/bigger/quieter/comfier than the “old” new Mini – and expands upon them, turning the Mini into something resembling a normal car. Would I still rather have a last-gen Mini? Of course. If I had to have a new car? I guess it’d be the GTI…I guess