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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
Nov 14, 2002 (8:09 am)
I have a 2002 MINI Cooper CVT. 0-60 times (Based on my own experience) are more into the 8 second time frame. The CVT has 3 programming modes:
Steptronic (Simulated 6-speed clutchless shifting).
The car takes off with gusto from the get go in either Sport or Steptronic modes...and yes with 4 people in the car.
I would suggest for you not too read too much into enthusiast magazine's opinions and take a test drive for yourself. You'll be pleasantly surprised.
Also, if you want the best ride/handling dynamics, stick with the standard 15" wheels/tires combo. The 15" tires provide the smoothest ride in comparison to the 16" and 17" runflat rubber available in the MINI (The 15" tires are regular non-runflat tires with a spare) and still deliver great handling and cornering (Plus grip) due to them being much lighter than the bigger wheels. The lightest wheels in the MINI are the 15" 7-hole design wheels, closely followed by the 15" 8-spoke design wheels which are the ones that I currently have in my Pepper White/Black roof Cooper.
The Runflats sound good in paper but I was not too convinced to get them due to their stiff sidewalls, harsh ride characteristics, increased tire/wheel weight and hefty cost of replacement (Around $220 per tire) plus the need for tire repair shops to have specialized runflat repair equipment plus trained technicians (Are you going to find a runflat repair store in the middle of highway 50 in Nevada? Don't think so...)
The Runflats offer increased safety as they allow you to drive up to 50 miles with them, but it figures...the car comes already with 4 years/50K miles of 24 hour roadside assistance anywhere in Canada, US or Puerto Rico...so why bother with runflats?
Having said this, I do dig the 16" 5 star wheels and wish that MINI would offer a non-runflat option for them.
Take the MINI for a test drive and discover for yourself why this is the most talked about car of all time.
Oh and by the way, the MINI is a SUBCOMPACT car with a short length wheelbase. If extreme smooth ride quality is your main concern, then you need to take a look at the bigger Compact cars such as the VW Golf, Jetta, Beetle, Focus, Civic, Corolla, Sentra, etc.
#1080 of 2671 runflats, tires, wheels
Nov 14, 2002 (8:52 am)
Runflats do not cost $220 each! Not $400 each either as I've seen posted elsewhere. I don't know where the runflat-haters find these expensive tire prices. Tirerack has 16" V rated Dunlop 5000 DSSTs for $149 each and 16" H rated Dunlop 3000 DSSTs for $139 each and you can do better than tirerack (the 16" H rated WinterSport M3 DSSTs are $170 on tirerack but I got mine for $128 each at a local tire shop so you can do MUCH better than tirerack). Non-runflats are cheaper still but not by as much of a factor as you've indicated.
If you don't drive too far on runflat tires while flat, you can get them plugged/repaired just like any other tire. The runflats will take you 90 miles with absolutely no air in them, 500 miles if they are holding 14PSI or 1000 miles if they are holding 22PSI (approximate numbers from memory, check your owner's manual). If you have to go farther on them than these distances then you can continue driving with them but instead of a patch you will probably damage the tire so that it needs to be replaced.
The runflat tires are heavier than non-runflats but if you are carrying a spare tire, jack, etc. then you make up for the difference, though I admit this is in sprung weight which is not as much of a performance penalty as unsprung weight. The can of fix-a-flat is of course much lighter but will only fix certain types of punctures, not full rippin' blow-outs.
The 16" X-lites are 17.5lbs which is not much heavier than the 15lb 8-spoke 15" wheels. Some dealers might let you swap out the tires for non-runflats if you asked them. That said, the spare tire is 15" so riding with 3 16" wheels and one 15" wheel might be weird so you wouldn't want to do it for long.
I've driven a MINI with 15" 8-spoke wheels and from a standing start you can feel that there is less inertia to overcome compared to the 16" with runflats. The handling is good, the cornering is good, grip isn't quite as good but with 195 wide tires instead of the stock 175 width it would likely be very close. I still prefer the 16's but you aren't giving up much if anything by going with the 15s, except for runflat technology and the look of 16" wheels which is subjective anyways.
It is funny to call the Golf and Focus big cars but the other day there was a Golf parked behind my MINI and a Focus ZX3 behind the Golf and the ZX3 is bigger than the Golf which is bigger than the MINI. None are land yachts but they look pretty big compared to the MINI (which dwarfs its predecessor by 2 feet!). Still, for the length differences which are several feet, the MINI's wheelbase is less than 2" shorter than that of the Golf and wheelbase is what gives stability, not car length. There are many cars with shorter wheelbases, e.g. the Miata, the Geo Metro.
Nov 14, 2002 (9:24 am)
Don't count me among the "haters" of runflat tires. All I am pointing out is the factors that I do view as negatives about owning them. I priced a few of these runflats in a couple of local Goodyear owned retail stores and they are priced around $220 a pop. So I am basing my comments on the prices I was quoted over the phone.
I applud the technology but it is far from perfect. When these tires become more affordable I will gladly pitch in. $150 per tire is much more of what I am used to pay for 16" replacement rubber.
I am glad to know you are happy with your choice. I am happy with mine.
Nov 14, 2002 (10:32 am)
If the Goodyear Eagles on my summer wheels cost $220 each to replace then I'll be getting Dunlops instead. I thought $128 for the runflat Dunlop winter tires was quite reasonable.
Like all things that are newly introduced, it takes volume before the price comes down. Hopefully by the time I need to replace my tires in 2-3 years the price may already have dropped, we'll see. With the mandatory tire pressure monitoring systems coming into effect very soon I think these tires will become more popular.
Nov 14, 2002 (11:46 am)
I hope so.
Nov 14, 2002 (1:42 pm)
The Cooper that I test drove with the base suspension ("Sport Suspension") and the 16s had a wonderful ride, if you ask me. It transmitted good road feel while at the same time soaking up the harsh bumps. For comparison, I test drove an Acura RSX immediately after that and found the ride much harsher and the handling nowhere near as good.
Thus, I've never really understood the press' complaints about the ride. Maybe the S with 17s is bad, but certainly not the Cooper.
#1085 of 2671 Suspension Thoughts
Nov 14, 2002 (4:02 pm)
It depends where you live, what your view of the suspension is. My Cooper has only Sports, but 16"s and I drive around on brick roads fairly often, and on city roads (Cleveland) otherwise. I like the suspension, and think its a good balance, other people who ride with me think its horribly harsh.
Certainly I can't stress enough in all of this suspension debate, just go out and drive the car. Its easy enough to compare suspension and power of the Cooper vs. S.
People also tend to forget the runflat's have nothing to do with the wheel, and I think all new Coopers still come with jacks (check this). So you can easily get the looks of the 16"s and replace the tires in a year or two (they are performance, so they won't last) with anything you like and use the spare.
Nov 14, 2002 (7:47 pm)
Might be that all cars get jacks going forward but at present in Canada if you order runflats you get no jack or spare, just an empty storage nook (good for holding a compressor, etc.).
#1087 of 2671 Help me Please
Nov 16, 2002 (12:17 am)
I have a problem. I currently drive a 1998 Lexus GS400 and I love my car. Its got plenty
of power, handles well, easy to drive, it even looks good (to me anyway). But lately, I'll
go to sleep at night and when I wake up there's a puddle of drool on my pillow and I can't
get the image of a Dark Silver/Black Mini Cooper S out of my head. Over the past week
I have read all the posts on this board. 1055 of them. I've been to mini2.com, minicooperonline,
even mini-madness.com. But I have never even taken a test drive - the nearest dealer is
250miles away. Each way. I have only seen 1 on the road on my daily 30-mile commute.
I now have arguments with myself at work about why the Lexus is a good family car, and
the Cooper would be cramped with two kids and the wife along for the ride. Then I am
forced to remind myself that I didn't buy the Lexus cause it was a good family car; that
was just the excuse I used for the wife - I bought because it had a 300hp V8 and was a
blast to drive. And besides, when its time for a driving vacation, we'll be taking the wife's
SporTrac - that's what its there for. So why do I want a Cooper so much? After all, I am
in my 40's, not my teens, and I am supposed to be sensible. Then I think that I would be
having less of an impact on the environment by using a more economical car. Then I think
that if I bring the car in to the dealer like I should for sevice, thats a 500 mile trip. Then I
remember that I'd be driving a Cooper, and I start drooling all over again.
My head hurts.
So seriously, how long is the wait for an S - if I am not too picky about every single option?
We will be driving down to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws (ugh) but I was able to weasel
out a promise to stop at East Bay Mini in Pleasanton on the way back in exchange for a
promise to behave just so we can actually drive one. I'm not really picky about the color
except no yellow/no red, and don't need the sunroof, and I'm sure that I'll be replacing at
least the speakers and probably the whole stereo system. The MultiFunction Steering
Wheel sounds great, and I read at mini2.com about a doohickey that will let you retain
the use of it with a different head unit - yes? Otherwise, I think the heated seats would
be a big seller for the wife, and I can't say that I really need much else. Does the driver's
seat lean all the way back? Like enough so that I could sleep in it?
I apologize for the lengthy post - its my first. Now I'm feeling anxious.
Nov 16, 2002 (4:19 am)
Yes, the seats go all the way back.
And yes, the heated seats are a GREAT selling point with the wife; was with mine anyways.
The 500 mile trip _shouldn't_ be required often. The first service isn't until 10K miles and services are every 15K miles after that. That said, it is a MINI/BMW, not a Lexus/Toyota so the reliability may not be quite as high as what you're used to. My car is great but if you've read all those websites you've undoubtedly come across stories of some which are not.
The MINI really is a car that you can't get out of your head. I test drove small cars for months and didn't decide but put a deposit on a MINI the day after I test drove one. I've had mine since April and I still love to stare at it from the window at work and look forward to the daily commute.
It really is a unique little vehicle and IMO anyone who cross-shops it against other vehicles doesn't "get it". It's OK to want one and then decide not to get one based upon a test drive or reviews but to cross shop it against other vehicles seems wrong somehow.