Mini Clubman long-term test review: interior issues
Jukebox-like interior lighting is already beginning to grate
It’s funny how your opinions on a car can change so dramatically with a little time, the initial wave of contentedness morphing into annoyance, dislike or even hatred.
It’s not like the catalyst for this change of mood even has to be particularly big. Sometimes the little things make all the difference.
And so we come to the Clubman. I would argue that one of its finest attributes is its interior, a classy and well-built environment that invites you in with supple leather seats, high-quality finishes and enough Mininess to make it a more interesting alternative to the ubiquitous Audi A3.
Even so, within that cabin is something that would grate if I had to drive this car every day. Surprisingly, it’s not to do with practicality. (It may not be as roomy as an A3 Sportback, but it’s perfectly acceptable.)
No, it’s the interior lighting that really grinds my gears – specifically, the LEDs that surround the central infotainment screen. No matter what you do, they always seem to be flashing one colour or another. Switch driving modes and the colour changes. Increase the volume on the stereo and the lights flash. Have the sat-nav on and they signal your approach to a turning.
During the day, this isn’t really a problem.If anything, the sat-nav linkup can be quite handy. Try driving the Clubman at night, though, and the LEDs go from an amusing light show to a serious distraction.
Where an infotainment display adjusts itself to account for darkness, the Clubman’s LEDs continue to glare with the ferocity of a vintage Wurlitzer jukebox. Factor in their continual changes in colour and brightness and you feel like reaching for the duck tape to cover them up.
I have since found a sub-menu for the central display that allows you to adjust the brightness of the disco lights at night or turn them off completely. Hopefully that means the duck tape won’t be necessary…
MINI CLUBMAN COOPER D
Price new £21,810 Price as tested £29,925 Economy 49.6mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 12.10.16