Mini has already expanded its range to include a fleet-friendly five-door model, but the company is hoping to win over additional fleet users with the more practical new Clubman.

Boasting no fewer than six doors – courtesy of rear ‘barn doors’ instead of a hatchback – the new Clubman measures 4253mm – just 2mm less than the ubiquitous VW Golf.

Corporate sales currently account for 15% of Mini sales, with the brand on target to sell 10,000 fleet vehicles this year. However, the new five-door and Clubman should see this figure rise to 17% in 2016, according to James Morrison, Mini corporate development manager, speaking at an exclusive preview event at BMW Group’s Hampshire HQ.

This could be the tip of the iceberg, though, Morrison added: “I think there’s bigger opportunities still for the five-door as more and more fleets become aware of Mini – as a brand and not just one car. And then the Clubman is a huge opportunity in the [lower medium] C segment, where we’ve never had a car before.”

Measuring 270mm longer than its predecessor, the Clubman offers much greater interior space than before, with the boot growing to 360 litres, or 1250 litres with the rear seats dropped (with run-flat tyres fitted and no spare) – just 20 litres shy of the Golf in both instances.

Similarly, the new car has a 100mm longer wheelbase than the five-door, freeing up space for those in the three rear seats and allowing longer doors that make access much easier, although those in the middle seat may not be as comfortable as in some rivals.

Meanwhile, Mini has added satnav across the Clubman range, along with a standard-fit electric handbrake, Bluetooth, air-conditioning and digital radio, while the bespoke dash feels more upmarket than lesser Minis.

While Morrison expects the Cooper D to be the fleet favourite, the petrol Cooper could be better value for those covering 20,000 miles per year, at around 2.5p per mile less to run.

The Clubman’s increased size and weight sees the Cooper’s official fuel economy drop from 60.1mpg to 55.4mpg, while emissions rise from 109g/km to 118g/km, and the 0-62mph time increases to 9.1 seconds on the old model. The price, meanwhile, jumps by £3890. A Cooper D diesel and Cooper S petrol will also be available from launch in the autumn.

User-choosers may be spoiled with dozens of hatchbacks to choose from, but Morrison insists that the latest Mini offers a different proposition to rivals from Volkswagen, Audi and Mercedes: “We’ve got really good, low cost of ownership factors: residual values, fuel consumption, emissions, benefit-in-kind.

All those things make it a very practical choice, but it’s this tug on the heart strings that Mini does so well.”
Helping to extend Mini’s fleet appeal are new higher-mileage ‘TLC’ servicing packs, which could run for up to 80,000 miles for instance. According to Morrison, these are likely to go live in 2016, cutting whole-life costs for many user

Meanwhile, a larger new Countryman is also likely: “I think, based on the Clubman, we can certainly expect it to grow in size.