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2017 Mini Cooper Clubman review: All-weather ALL4

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I came home to the 2017 Mini Clubman S ALL4 at the airport and was pleasantly surprised when it had a standard (manual) transmission. It had been a few weeks since I rowed my own gears and it was good to get back in the swing with a well-thought out six-speed. The Clubman has good clutch weight and the takeup point seems close to the middle. The shifter feels a little wiggly, and I hate that reverse is right next to first, but the throws are true and there's no notchiness between gears.

Even this Clubman S model doesn’t have a ton of power, so throttle engagement/tip in doesn't break the tires loose unless you're really trying. It does feel quick on the road and I had no trouble spinning a few tires with the traction control off, in the rain. The ALL4 AWD system will let the fronts slip for about a second, maybe two, and then the rears kick in, sending you out into traffic no matter the road surface. It snowed the night I had it, but by morning it was just wet. I was hoping for a little more rally in my commute.

Some traditionalists are complaining about Mini getting bigger, but the Clubman didn’t feel huge to me. It easily darts around traffic and the suspension is softer than some of the smaller Minis, which can get downright harsh depending on tire and wheel combination. 

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