The Mini Clubman, with its iconic retro-modern styling, seems an unlikely candidate for off-road modifications. But a growing number of owners are enhancing their Clubman’s abilities beyond the pavement with aftermarket upgrades.
Turning the eccentric and fashionable wagon into a lifted, rugged little overlander takes some creativity. Yet the compact size that limits capability also lends suitedness to winding backroads. With the right blend of all-terrain tires, increased ride height, skid plates, and roof-top accessories, the plucky Mini Clubman can transform into an adventure-ready microcamper. Let’s explore useful mods that maximize the Mini Clubman’s off-road talents.
- The Mini Clubman has some basic off-road capabilities from its ALL4 all-wheel-drive system, but ground clearance is only 5.7 inches
- Adding all-terrain tires on 16″ wheels with a lift kit can improve off-road performance
- Roof racks, rooftop tents, awnings and other overland mods make the Clubman better for camping and adventures
Off Road Capabilities & Mods
Intelligent ALL4 all-wheel-drive system in Cooper S/SD models
The Mini Clubman features an advanced ALL4 all-wheel-drive system in the Cooper S and Cooper SD models. This gives the Clubman better traction and control in wet, snowy, or loose ground conditions. However, with only 5.7 inches of ground clearance, the stock Clubman is still limited in its true off-road abilities.
Ground clearance: 5.7 inches (144mm) – too low but can be improved with a lift and tires
The Mini Clubman sits quite low to the ground, with just 5.7 inches of ground clearance. This is enough for improved winter traction, but rules out most serious off-roading. Adding a lift kit and larger, more aggressive tires can help increase ground clearance for better clearance over rocks and obstacles.
Off Road Wheels & Tires
Aftermarket modifications are quite limited for the Mini Clubman, but a Japanese shop RDBase.jp successfully installed a lift kit and BF Goodrich T/A KO2 all-terrain tires on a 2nd gen Clubman (2015-2023). The installer did not provide the exact size of the tires, but based on the BF Goodrich size chart they look to be 215/65/16. Per wheel and tire calculator their overall diameter is 686mm which is 4cm bigger than stock 225/35/19 tires (640mm overall diameter).
Installing a lift kit on the Mini Clubman has several benefits for off-roading:
- Increases ground clearance for clearing rocks, ruts, and other obstacles
- Allows fitting larger, more aggressive tires for better traction
- Improves approach, departure, and breakover angles
- Levels out suspension and prevents bottoming out
The exact lift height needed will depend on the tire size, but a 30-40mm lift is common for compact lifted cars like this (Check this lifted Hyundai Kona or a Volvo V40 Cross Country off road builds). This can be achieved by using coil spring spacers or extended travel coil springs. Custom fabrication may be required to ensure proper alignment and suspension geometry after the lift.
Roof racks are almost essential for carrying gear on overland trips. They allow hauling spare fuel, water, tools, and recreation equipment securely on the roof. Low-profile designs are available that minimize wind noise and fuel economy impacts. Thule Motion XT Rooftop Cargo Carrier is a convenient platform that attaches to load bars on your roof rack.
For multi-day journeys, a hard shell or fabric rooftop tent provides comfortable sleeping quarters off the ground. Models are available that fold out to over 5 feet long, with thick mattresses and storage space underneath. Just watch out for low overpasses! Thule Tepui Foothill Low-Profile Rooftop Tent is compact and light tent good for 2 people.
Auxiliary LED Lights
Several companies offer LED light bars or pod lights that mount to the front bumper or roof racks. These supply extra illumination when driving at night off-road through dark forests or rocky terrain.
A side or rear door awning provides shade from the sun and shelter from rain or snow while camping. Manual or automatic roll out options are available, offering coverage between 160-270cm wide depending on model. DANCHEL OUTDOOR Overland Awning (5×8.2ft) – Pull-out style compact awning that works for cars and even hatchbacks.
Pressurized Water Tank
Adding a pressurized fresh water tank in the 8 gallon range gives a handy water supply while overlanding away from taps. An electric pump with switch powers a tap to dispense water on demand. Tanks can mount in the spare tire well or custom fabricated mounts. WaterPORT Weekender Portable Water Tank with Camping Shower – it offers the capacity of 8-Gallons and can be mounted on a roof rack.
The Mini Clubman seems an unlikely overlander, but with the right modifications it can transform into a surprisingly capable mini adventuremobile. What the Clubman gives up in ground clearance can be offset with smart upgrades like all-terrain tires, a lift kit, and thoughtful camping accessories. Just don’t expect to conquer the Rubicon Trail or traverse the Outback in one – focus instead on improved dirt road travel and weekend warrior fun.
Photos by: Hirotaka Kanemoto
Matt is a professional mechanic, experienced off-roader, writer and founder of Offroadium. With over 15 years immersed in the off-road community and 100,000+ miles logged on rugged trails across the Americas, Grabli shares extensive real-world knowledge. He previously worked as an automotive technician before shifting focus to specialty off-road projects. His passion is prepping capable rigs for off-roading and helping others to build the 4x4s of their dreams.