The Mini Cooper Clubman was introduced for model year 2008 as a wagon version of the standard Cooper, with a longer wheelbase, more interior space, a split rear cargo door and a passenger-side door.

Since then, roof rails, a rear spoiler, cruise control, a twice upgraded steering system, an upgraded optional sound system (Harmon Kardon), increased horsepower, trim updates, Bluetooth, and numerous interior and exterior style tweaks have been added.

Clubman took 2015 off, and comes back completely redesigned and bigger for 2016. The split rear doors remain, with four full-size side doors, two engine choices and 48 cubic feet of hauling capacity with the 60/40 rear seat folded flat (17.5 cubic feet behind the upright second seat).

The second row also offers a reclined position, by engaging a lever on the cabin wall at the top of the seatback.

Although the Clubman is small for a station wagon, it has a big personality. According to miniusa.com, 10 million configurations are possible, with prices starting at $24,100. The car’s boxy shape also makes it more versatile than you might think.

For 2016, the Clubman is a little more than a foot longer than the 2014 model, at 168.3 inches. The wheelbase is now almost five inches longer, at 105.1 inches, and Clubman is 4.6 inches wider, at 70.9 inches. Height remains the same –  56.7 inches.

Improvements extend to the interior with more premium materials in the form of better trim, softer plastic on the doors and dash (customizable with several trim coverings), and an optional ambient lighting system that changes color depending on the driving mode selected, using a ring at the base of the shifter knob.

Sport Mode adds extra oomph to acceleration and steering, Green Mode makes the car more fuel efficient, and Mid Mode gives a blend of exhilaration and efficiency.
Fuel economy is estimated at 26 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway with the automatic transmission, or 23/33 with the manual.

An automatic stop-start feature offers extra fuel savings, shutting off the engine while the vehicle is stopped and turning it back on when the brake is released. The function can be a little rough on restarting, but can be disabled via a toggle switch if the distraction is troubling. Toggle switches are used on the center console, with the glowing red ignition toggle in the center.

Ten exterior colors are available; two standard colors for no additional charge, seven metallic colors for $500, with British Racing Green II available only on the Clubman S model ($27,650), and one premium color (Lapisluxury Blue) for $1,000. Roof and mirrors are available in Body Color, Black and White for both models, and Melting Silver for the base model.

Interiors are offered in leatherette, cloth, leatherette/cloth, leather/cloth ($750), and leather in standard Carbon Black. Leather seating is also offered in Pure Burgundy, Indigo Blue and Satellite Gray, priced from $1,500 to $2,250, depending on model and packages chosen.

Mini offers lots of exterior and interior styling choices, from hood striping for $100, five roof decal styles (Checkered, Union Jack) for $175, checkered flag valve stem caps for $17; six wheel choices in 17- and 18-inch, from $750 to $1,200; Mini Yours piano black illuminated, fiber alloy illuminated, or pure burgundy illuminated interior trim for $400; and LED chrome or black driving lights for $532.

A standard Excitement Package adds special lighting with door handle and headlight welcome lighting, adjustable ambient colored lighting in the footwells and center console, and the extra special Mini logo puddle light projected from the driver’s rearview mirror.

My Clubman was the base model for $24,100, equipped with a 134-horsepower 1.5-liter, TwinPower Turbo three-cylinder engine, paired with a six-speed Steptronic automatic transmission ($1,500). It rode on 17-inch Net Spoke Black Wheels ($750) with performance run-flat tires.

Steptronic brought paddle shifters to the steering wheel for the thrill of a manual, if that’s your style. The TwinPower Turbo supplied torque immediately, and then steadily through acceleration.

The Melting Silver Metallic exterior with Black roof and mirror caps, and Pure Burgundy heated ($500) six-way adjustable Sport Seats ($300) and door panels were a striking combination, especially with the cross-punch perforated Tartan-style pattern on the thigh cushions and shoulder supports, and top-stitched Dinamica band surrounding the bolsters and neck area.

A perfect driving position was easy to find with the height adjustment and manual thigh-cushion adjustment, and the larger bolsters added extra support in sharp turns. The heated seats were especially nice as the temperatures turned lower.

Driver and front passenger had plenty of headroom, at 40.2 inches, and legroom, at 41.4 inches. Rear passengers (outboard) had 38 inches of headroom and 34.3 inches of legroom.

A Panoramic Roof ($1,000) covered more than 60-percent of the roof surface for incredible sky (or cloud) views – and provided fresh air front and rear. Mini Yours Interior: Fiber Alloy Illuminated ($400) featured aluminum plating trim on the dash, and door trim embossed with a fine herringbone pattern suggestive of English tweed – a very pleasing touch. There was also LED backlighting in the door bezel.

An intuitive Mini Connected system is standard and brings performance, entertainment and communications technology with easy-to-use controls. The system includes traffic, weather, and location updates, Pandora, driving modes, and support for Connected Apps.

Connected+Visual Boost with a high-def 6.5-inch screen was standard in my Clubman, displaying crucial driving information and acting as a portal to music, audiobooks, news, RSS feeds, Facebook and whole lot more.

My tester had a Technology Package for $1,750, which included Connected+Visual Boost XL, Real Time Traffic Information, Navigation System XL, Rearview Camera, and Rear Park Distance Control.

This package brought a crystal-clear 8.8-inch high-resolution display to replace the smaller standard screen, while maintaining the basic functions of the original system and replacing the standard center stack and audio controls.

The screen had nice, crisp graphics, and was operated by a controller knob and seven buttons (media/radio/telephone/nav/menu/back/option) on the center console. The location was a little awkward and it took a while to get acclimated to the functions of each button.

The toggle switches at the bottom of the center stack were easy to reach. But my elbow bumped the armrest when it was lowered and I reached for the controller knob, so I left it up (I would exclude it altogether).

While the Navigation System XL tells you where you are and gives turn-by-turn directions to where you want to be, the Real Time Traffic system brings traffic information to the navigation system to help plan a route around jams and delays.

A SiriusXM Satellite Radio package for $300 brought commercial-free music, sports, talk, news, comedy and entertainment with more than 140 channels (subscription required).

Standard is a six-speaker audio system with AM/FM/HD radio, auxiliary input and USB port. The multi-function Sport leather steering wheel had cruise and audio controls with ergonomic leather hand grips.

Standard equipment included dual-zone, fully-electronic automatic climate control with active cabin filtration system to help control malodorous scents and polluted air.

A storage package brought a removable glovebox and other compartment liners (cupholders/trays/cubbies) in a classic Tartan pattern, another special Mini feature. We also had a hinged multi-position cargo floor held up by spring-loaded levers to expose the deep under-floor storage well, 12-volt cargo power outlet, and cargo tie-down brackets.

The standard eight air bags included two front, two side-impact, two knee and two ceiling mounted side curtain bags with passenger monitoring to determine deployment based on position, seatbelt use and impact severity.

All three rear seats had a child safety seat system with lower hooks and upper tether brackets. Safety was enhanced by dynamic stability control, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution, antilock braking, and corner brake control.

Rain sensors, when engaged, detected rain and automatically ran the windshield wipers. The automatic headlights turned on when it became darker outside.

The Clubman for 2016 is fun to drive and to look at; easy to park; nimble and enthusiastic on curvy roads; fuel efficient, extraordinarily customizable, and versatile. The cabin was quiet enough for casual conversation, although the ride could be a little stiff.

With $8,500 in options and $850 destination charges added to the base price, the total sticker price for my Mini Clubman was $33,450.