How many van drivers get to enjoy their own, disco-style in-cab light show when hurtling down the M5 in the dead of the night? Only those in a Mini Clubvan it would appear.

after dark, lights on the a-pillar, near the door handles, beneath the dashboard and in various other locations start to work their way through most of the colours of the rainbow.

Perhaps referring to it as a disco show is a bit of a misnomer. It is all far too gentle for that, and the shades of green, blue, yellow and so on are pastel rather than strident.

Not everybody is in favour of this interior illumination. Describing it as “irritating”, one co-driver said it was a bit like sitting in a Santa’s grotto, and a dodgy one at that. However, I don’t find it in the least annoying

or distracting. If anything, it is rather soothing as you sit in yet another bumper-to-bumper traffic jam in the pouring rain.

We’d like to revise our criticisms of the Clubvan’s side-loading door. While it is in the wrong position for the uK, and too narrow, its offside location is only a problem if you are parked in the street. If you are in a car park or on somebody’s drive it
is much less of an issue. Indeed, it makes it easy for you to reach into the 0.9m3 load area without having to open the back doors and crawl half-way inside.

Fuel usage is improving to around 54mpg despite the grim seasonal weather – having the heating on usually means burning more diesel – compared with a claimed 72.4mpg.

On the subject of heating, the Clubvan’s cab does take rather a long time to warm up first thing
in the morning. Perhaps it’s an indication that its 112hp 1.6-litre diesel is so efficient it produces little waste heat. When you have an icy early start, however, you tend to prefer a touch less efficiency and a bit more warmth.