Mini will reveal a new stand-out-from-the-crowd concept at Geneva International Motor Show next week. The Mini Clubvan concept is a compact van for business and leisure, and the first premium model in the small car-based van segment.
The Mini Clubvan concept proves that style can also be practical, and that practicality can be attractive. Mini says the Clubman-based concept car combines all of the driving fun and distinctive design for which this carmaker is renowned. And at the same time, the Clubman has an increased load-carrying capability.
This concept opens the door to a completely new market for Mini - premium small businesses which want to combine sharp driving dynamics with low cost of ownership, while also making a style statement with their company van. Not to mention, VAT registered businesses can reclaim the VAT content of the purchase price of the van, and similarly with ongoing diesel and maintenance costs.
Mini says its ability to adapt goes back to the heart of its heritage. Calls for maximising the load capacity of the classic Mini began as early as 1960, just a year after the car’s birth, and so the Morris Mini van was born. With its 10-centimetre-longer wheelbase, separate load compartment, and split rear doors, it 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.
Limiting the car to two seats creates the capacity needed by business owners on a day-to-day basis, as well as opening up a whole new world of customisation potential. The same principle used in the classic Mini is applied in the Mini Clubvan – to provide the maximum amount of interior space on the smallest possible footprint.
The flat load area which reaches from the split rear doors right up to a partition grille behind the two seats makes full use of the interior’s depth. Six attachment loops recessed into the load floor use elasticated straps to hold cargo in place. The fixed partition grille, made from solid aluminium in the lower part and a stainless steel honeycombe grating, ensures items stowed in the rear won’t fall into the front cabin. The side walls, floor and roof lining of the load area in the Concept are trimmed in high-quality anthracite-coloured cloth.
Just like the Mini Clubman, the Clubvan concept is a five-door car with a twist. Front doors for the driver and front passenger, two side-hinged rear doors and the rear-hinged Clubdoor on the right-hand side all create useful access. The Clubdoor gives owners the option of loading smaller items from the side of the car as well as the rear.
The generous levels of space can be customised to suit the needs of the customer, for example, tools and goods can be stored neatly and securely in made-to-measure drawers or shelving units, and 12-volt plug sockets in the load compartment also provide additional practicality.
The Mini Clubvan concept shares the same exterior dimensions as the Mini Clubman. The Mini Clubvan concept is finished in racing green paintwork, which extends to the roof, C-pillars and exterior mirror caps. The rear side windows are opaque with polycarbonate sections and are painted in the car’s body colour. The rear doors feature heavily tinted glass making it difficult to see into the load compartment. Nice one Mini.