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The Cooper Clubman’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Cooper Clubman and the Golf SportWagen have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.
The Cooper Clubman’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Golf SportWagen’s (12 vs. 10 years).
MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Cooper Clubman for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Golf SportWagen.
A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Cooper Clubman’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Golf SportWagen’s camshafts. If the Golf SportWagen’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that MINI vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 23rd in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 7 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The Cooper Clubman S’ standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 42 more horsepower (189 vs. 147) and 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 184) than the Golf SportWagen’s standard 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. The Cooper Clubman S’ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 21 more horsepower (189 vs. 168) and 7 lbs.-ft. more torque (206 vs. 199) than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The JCW Clubman’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 133 more horsepower (301 vs. 168) and 132 lbs.-ft. more torque (331 vs. 199) than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION’s optional 1.8 turbo 4 cyl.
On the EPA test cycle the Cooper Clubman S ALL4 eight-speed Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Golf SportWagen S 4MOTION Auto 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. (23 city/32 hwy vs. 22 city/29 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the Cooper Clubman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Cooper Clubman Auto’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The MINI Cooper Clubman comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Golf SportWagen.
The Cooper Clubman offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer an SMG.
To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the Cooper Clubman has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer an up-shift light.
For better stopping power the Cooper Clubman’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Golf SportWagen:
The Cooper Clubman stops much shorter than the Golf SportWagen:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
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For better traction, the Cooper Clubman has larger tires than the Golf SportWagen (225/45R17 vs. 195/65R15).
The Cooper Clubman’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Golf SportWagen S’ standard 65 series tires. The Cooper Clubman’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Golf SportWagen SE’s 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Cooper Clubman has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Golf SportWagen S. The Cooper Clubman’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels on the Golf SportWagen SE.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the Cooper Clubman can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The Cooper Clubman offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Golf SportWagen’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Cooper Clubman’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Golf SportWagen (105.1 inches vs. 103.5 inches).
The Cooper Clubman S handles at .87 G’s, while the Golf SportWagen SE pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The Cooper Clubman S ALL4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Golf SportWagen S (26.5 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .63 average G’s).
The Cooper Clubman is 11.1 inches shorter than the Golf SportWagen, making the Cooper Clubman easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The front grille of the Cooper Clubman uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Cooper Clubman has 1.6 inches more front headroom and .2 inches more front legroom than the Golf SportWagen.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Cooper Clubman’s available rear seats recline. The Golf SportWagen’s rear seats don’t recline.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Cooper Clubman’s available cargo door can be opened just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
When different drivers share the Cooper Clubman, the optional memory seats make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer memory seats.
The Cooper Clubman offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The Cooper Clubman’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Golf SportWagen has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.
If the windows are left open on the Cooper Clubman the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Golf SportWagen can’t use the remote to operate the windows.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Cooper Clubman offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The Cooper Clubman offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Golf SportWagen offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The Cooper Clubman’s optional dual zone air-conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer dual zone air-conditioning.
The Cooper Clubman’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer automatic air-conditioning.
The Cooper Clubman’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Golf SportWagen’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the MINI Cooper Clubman offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Cooper Clubman’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Golf SportWagen doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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