Mini shows off Clubvan Concept in Geneva

Andross Moonah - CAP staff
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When Mini came to market with its revitalized Mini coupe in 2001, many automotive enthusiasts were thrilled. But the British automaker later ruffled some enthusiasts' feathers when it expanded its range to include larger, less sporty models such as the Clubman and Countryman.

In truth, however, Mini historically built several variations of its original, iconic design including a pickup truck, a van and even a utility vehicle intended for the military. So vehicles like the Clubman and Countryman actually harken back to Mini's past, as does the new Mini Clubvan Concept which was revealed at this year's Geneva Motor Show.

Claimed to combine driving fun with increased loading-carrying capacity, the Clubvan Concept is based on the current Mini Clubman. Like the Clubman, the Clubvan Concept is a five-door vehicle. It features split rear doors, a driver and passenger door and what Mini refers to as the Clubdoor. The rear-hinged Clubdoor allows even more access to the cargo area and is located on the right-hand side of the Clubvan Concept, behind the passenger door.

Unlike the Clubman, the Clubvan Concept only has two seats, sacrificing the rear seats for more cargo room. A partition grille separates the front seats from the cargo area and is fixed securely to the vehicle's body. The upper section of the partition is made of silver-coloured stainless steel honeycomb grating while the lower part is hewn from solid aluminum.

Thanks to a flat cargo floor and no rear seats, the Mini Clubvan Concept achieves a greater load capacity than the Clubman. The cargo floor features six attachment loops that use elasticized straps for holding items down securely, and the side walls and floor are covered in anthracite-coloured cloth. In addition to its increased cargo carrying capacity, the Clubvan Concept also has made-to-measure partitions for tools and other goods, and even has 12-volt plug sockets for added practicality.

Though it's touted as a concept car, the Mini Clubvan Concept looks production ready and is quite similar in proportion to a van that the company built back in the 1960s. While a Mini would hardly be a first choice for carrying large and heavy loads, the Clubvan Concept is, by design, more practical than the current Clubman. With this fact in mind, a Clubvan may one day arrive in our showrooms.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Cargo Van, Mini, 2012, Clubvan Concept, Compact,

Geographic location: Geneva

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