The world of panel vans has never been one of where words like 'trendy' or 'image conscious' have ever been thrown around. Strange, because many businesses do like to think of themselves as premium or somewhat funky and wouldn't they want a delivery van that reflects this?
That gap in the market is exactly what Mini is counting on with its new Clubvan. Described by its maker as “the world's first premium compact delivery van”, the Clubvan is based on the Mini Clubman and next year you'll see them in South African depots and loading zones. Our contact at BMW SA has confirmed that the van will be launched here during the first quarter of next year, albeit in rather limited numbers.
A REAL WORKHORSE?
Thankfully, this van appears to have the substance to go with the style and does what it says on the box.
It has a closed-off load area extending from the rear doors to just behind the front seats and as you'd expect, these occupants are protected by a fixed partition. Goods can be loaded either through the split rear tailgate or via a right-side door.
While the rear side windows are painted body colour, the driver can still see what's going on behind him or her thanks to tinted glass tailgate windows that still keep the cargo concealed from prying eyes.
The load area might be considered a bit too fragile for some though, with the flat loading floor and side walls trimmed in high-quality carpeting and the roof finished in anthracite but at least there are some useful features like 12-volt sockets for firing up electrical equipment and six attachment loops recessed into the floor for securing cargo.
As for carrying capacity, the loading zone can swallow 860 litres worth of cargo and it measures 1150mm in length and 102cm in width. The maximum payload is 500kg.
THREE ENGINE OPTIONS
Pulling it all along is one of three engines. If petrol's your poison, there's a choice between a 72kW Mini One and 90kW Mini Cooper - both fitted with different versions of Mini's 1.6-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine. Diesel heads can opt for an 82kW Cooper D and all three versions can be had with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
Of course, and as some of our readers will no doubt remember, the Clubvan is not the first panel van to come from Mini.
Various goods were also hauled in Mini style when the Morris Mini Traveller was around in the 1960s.