We have discussed the odd and directionless state of today’s van industry in depth and at length in previous Vroom articles. With this post we will not be focusing as much on the broader industry, but only on one diamond wave, cresting like a unique crystal upon a sea of mediocrity. Of course I can only be talking about one thing, and that one thing is the new MINI Clubvan Concept.
Debuting at the Geneva Motor Show, the MINI Clubvan seeks to address an unfilled need in the modern auto industry: Getting around town with storage/passenger room, fuel economy, and style. The MINI Clubvan is particularly compelling because it blends two seemingly opposing brands, that of the MINI(miniature) and the spacious. make no mistake though, the MINI Clubvan IS a van, not just a cute name.
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.
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.
Right now the MINI Clubvan is only a concept, thus we have no definitive word on production dates or times of arrival in North America or the Phoenix Valley area specifically. Phoenix Valley auto enthusiasts should however keep an eye out for elements of the MINI Clubvan concept to be showing up in production models in the next year. Regardless of whether and when the Clubvan concept goes into production, the vehicle does mark a positive direction for MINI, as it marks a stepping up to the alpha leadership plate in the currently beta phase van market.