Re: Thinking about a Mini Cooper
There is some disagreement as to the use of premium: is it required or recommended.
As far as I know, Mini recommends premium for all models past and present. These engines run over 10:1 compression so more anti-knock additives / octane boosters are required in the fuel used. Of course knock sensors are used in these engines to control timing advance / retard so if you do use lower octane fuel, it would likely only cause some non-destructive knocking at cold start-up.
I don't like the price of premium fuel either but in a car that gets such good mileage, I consider it cheap insurance and the way to get all the horsepower the engine has to offer.
I too like the looks of the Clubman and think the additional capacity and access would be most welcome hauling around kids and drums.