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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
Apr 03, 2003 (11:29 am)
1. 2002 MINI Cooper, built March '02, Delivered April 23rd, 15,750 miles
2. As I said earlier a fair amount of my driving is around Cleveland, with average speed below 30, that usually gets mid 20's milage depending on how slow I am moving. Road trips, with cruise usually set in the mid 70's usually 31-32. I got a different kind of gas (Sheetz) on my last trip and got 34 on the second half. Go figure. My driving's running errands around Cleveland and road trips to visit friends.
3. I replaced the 3rd brakelight with the clear version, I replaced the front turn signals with silvered bubls (got rid of fried egg look) I've got a blitzsafe for my iPod. I bought a set of rubber mats for winter use. I've got mudflaps that I haven't installed yet. As I said above, I bought aftermarket alloys for snow tires. I also picked up an K&N filter.
4. One oil change, at about 9,000 Miles, as scheduled by computer. Had recalled shifter linkage, got new style seat handles, had A/C blower die, that got replaced. (Though disconnected all lights in process, so had to go back) Surging/stalling was fixed w/ updated computer software. Had shifter assembly start squeaking, got replaced. Had Airbag light go one. Wiring harness replaced for side airbag in driver's seat.
All of that was warranty stuff.
I came back to the car after a week's vaction, and noticed the windshield has cracked. Seems to be from a small rock hitting it right by the VIN, haven't fixed or checked into cost yet.
Someone backed into me, leaving a baseball sized dent by the headlight. Had hood and bumper painted and de-dented. Cost a bit over $1k. (Their insurance paid, no problems)
5. I bought the car when I was in Rochester NY, so drove around there a bit, then moved to Cleveland in May. I've gone from Cleveland to Rochester twice, Cleveland to Madison WI, Cleveland to Flint MI, and several trips to NY. I went to a MINI meet in Pittsburgh (in a snow storm, it was fun) and in Dayton at the Air Force museum. I tend to think I drive and corner much more aggresively then your average person. (I've found for instance its quite fun to rotate the car with the e-brake on empty roads to go around curves, still working on parallel parking with that) I had tons of fun driving the car around windy roads in WI and in NY. The more boring straight roads in the midwest are entertaining as people still ask me what kind of car it is. (Happened yesterday at a drive through). I still love days when its warm (like above freezing) since I'll put the heated seats on, and drive with the windows and sunroof open.
Interesting packing.. I've fit a 27" tv in the back, at the same time as a vacuum. I brought home a 5 1/2' table (took two trips, second one for the legs). Moved myself with like 10 MINI trips. Those are the most interesting things.
6. The car is awsome to drive. Its still really unique, and really just fun. I always smile when I see it. Almost everyone compliments it, and when they don't, its usually something inane, and they just don't understand not everyone needs 30 cu feet of space. I often time feel like I'm driving a BMW, but don't have the negative of it being an expensive 'Yuppie' car. Its not the most reliable thing ever, but I've never been stranded, and I'm sure many of the problems relate to my getting such an early production. I've dealt with 3 (really 4) dealers, they seem to vary. Often times I feel like I'm not amazingly important, because everyones BMW's are more expensive. The one dealer I went to that had separate MINI service was really nice. It horribly irritates me that MINI doesn't offer loaner cars for warranty work, sometimes dealers offer them if you purchased the car there. (I haven't gotten any service at the dealer I bought my car at, since I moved a month later) Recently, since my car's been problematic, the dealer seems to be coming up with loaners, though they're still things like Kias or Civics. I'd probably be happier if when I brought in my car for things that weren't my fault, they gave me a 3 series to drive. Somehow a Spectra just isn't the same.
I sorta regret not getting some of the more recent options as I've said, but I figure I can get them on my next MINI, I do like having the car so early. I think the paint's a bit soft, seems to have gotten rather pockmarked from sand and gravel if you look closey.
About it from off the top of my head. Yay MINI.
Apr 03, 2003 (11:35 am)
Your dealer isn't lying, I can't remember where the info was, but the IIHS test here: http://www.iihs.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/0222.htm doesn't seem to say that, but it was said when the tests came out.
If you're actually ordering your car, 8 weeks seems about right. It takes about 4 weeks from once the car is made to go across the ocean (longer for the west coast) and it takes at least a week to make it. There was a backlog before, so actually you're probably close to as fast as possible.
#1287 of 2671 rubber mats, back seat tests, rentals
Apr 03, 2003 (11:54 am)
I forgot, I got a set of rubber mats for winter too. Will be coming out soon but not this weekend as a storm's a'comin'.
The back seat really is too small for a crash test dummy and the sensors that go along with it. Look at others in the category and you'll see the Celica and other coupes also were too small to test the rear area. I think it is fine back there, the car is very strongly built and looking at pictures from some MINIs in horrible accidents the chassis holds up really well. I don't worry when my son is back there, especially since the MINI makes avoiding accidents easier than in bigger vehicles, being so maneuverable.
For some body work (hit'n'run by a cyclist if you can believe that) I got a Chrylser Sebring boat. This morning my lock problem got worse with the car thinking the driver's door was open so the window didn't want to stay up and it wouldn't lock. They took the car on short notice and gave me a Ford Taurus as a rental in case they aren't finished by tonight. Why do I always get boats for rentals? I'm not sure I'd prefer a Kia but these mid-sized cars really feel like river barges after driving my MINI (even our family Saturn LW200 wagon feels better, being based upon an Opel Vectra -- europeans know how a car should drive, IMO). Actually, they gave me another MINI Cooper once so I don't always get a boat. Hope they give me a Z4 demo some day
#1288 of 2671 another update
Apr 03, 2003 (1:30 pm)
'02 Mini Cooper, BRG/white color combo w/bonnet stripes (a must if you ask me). Got on the waiting list last February (pre-launch in the US) and took delivery mid-May. I now have just over 11,000 miles on it.
As for maintenance, the 10K mile service came due for me around 9500 miles, only had to wait around 2 hours for that. Also had the transmission linkage and seat lever recalls done at the same time. Recently, the airbag warning light came on, so I took it in and they fixed that as well as lubricating the sunroof mechanism that got some grit in it after a long winter of staying shut. All under warranty. The back of the driver's seat came loose on mine as well, but all it required was my own ingenuity - it snapped right back into place and hasn't come loose again.
The only "accident" I have had is when I put the first ding in the door at the gas station. Opened the door right into the concrete barrier around the pump. Oh well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, and my wife was relieved that I did it first.
I also got the rubber floor mats and will likely spring for some carpet mats this summer as well. Couldn't resist buying a hat while I was in the spending mood also. That's the extent of my foray into the abyss of mods and aftermarket extras. I am curious about the center console/armrest, but don't want to sacrifice the rear cup holder in the process.
Saying I love this car is like saying Tiger Woods is a pretty good golfer. I have never had so much fun behind the wheel. Now that the warm weather is here (sorry hpulley4) the sunroof is open and I'm all over the twisties again!
As for packing, there is no doubt that this is a small car (ahem, it's called a MINI), but I am constantly amazed as to how much I can fit back there. I too brought home a 27" TV with room to spare. It's also fun to be the smallest car (some days the only non-truck) in the Home Depot parking lot while others watch me put things like 8' lengths of wood and a miter saw in the back, close the boot with ease, and drive off. Come August, I'll be able to report on baby seats, strollers, diaper bags, etc. I don't have any concerns about motoring among the SUVs, as the car feels quite solid on the road, which instills confidence. I was tailgated by an H2 the other day, however, and was quickly reminded how close the rear window is from the driver's seat. As others have said, though, the ability to avoid accidents is readily apparent when you are behind the wheel. Just requires being a tad more defensive in those situations.
As stryder said, the car just puts a smile on your face. Can't help it, it just does.
#1289 of 2671 A few more things
Apr 03, 2003 (4:16 pm)
I was driving to get dinner, (in 55 degree weather with the windows and sunroof open and seats warming, of course) And thought of the other two really cool things about my car.
A. Its like joining a club of really friendly really happy car loving people, with a rather expensive membership fee, but open to anyone. The flashing lights and waving at other MINIs, the history of the car are all just a part of the experience. No one buys one as transportation, its way more then that.
B. It spoils me. My roommate says I can't drive anything else, because I get fed up with all the features of the MINI. I drove a Neon, it had nice seats, but they didn't height adjust, so my head was nearly hitting the roof. I drove that kia, and got annoyed its lights didn't dim, etc, etc. People are always excited about features in their cars, my rommate's mom bought some Acura, and commented how neat it was that it had steering wheel audio controls. Roommate said yeah, but they're not on the back of the wheel, right where your fingerips are. Its all of the little luxury things that just make the car a great value. Driving around in the smallest luxury car is way better then driving around in the biggest economy car, I never find cool things on rental cars that just work but are expensive, like the hood struts, or the fog lights that turn off when you turn off the car, or the follow-me-home lights.
#1290 of 2671 San Antonio Mini Dealership
Apr 04, 2003 (6:36 am)
Has anyone been to the San Antonio Mini Dealership? If so, what was the experience like?
I have had bad experiences with the their BMW dealership, however I want to go look at the Mini's.
Apr 04, 2003 (8:28 am)
Reading all these stories are making me envious. After two weeks, our new Mini S (British racing green, white roof, White bonnet stripes) is still sitting in New Jersey. The truck won't leave for Wisconsin until it has a full load. My wife, who is normally patient, no longer is.
In reality, we are to be wed next week Saturday. (I call her my wife because it is easier to type and I can never spell fioncee/fancy/fiunci correctly).
Thought it would be cool to drive out to our Honeymoon. Looks like we will have to settle for the Saturn Vue. I guess I could drive with the sun roof open and try some ebrake maneuvers like stryder, but it won't be the same..and a rollover probably would ruin the moment. -sniff-
#1292 of 2671 Did a test drive today
Apr 04, 2003 (3:08 pm)
I test drove a Red Mini CVT Cooper today in San Francisco. What a great car! I was supposed to test drive the S version also, but after driving with the CVT, I decided not to. Why not have the best of all worlds, an auto and manual? Just seems to make sense to me especially given the traffic and hills of San Francisco. However, dealers here on the West Coast are still charging a markup, $1995 on the Cooper and $2995 on the S. We are considering purchasing the CVT we drove which has been the demo for the dealer. It currently has 500 miles on it. As I said, it has the CVT,plus the Premium Package, 6 CD Changer, Alarm, Sports seats and the extra chrome on the bumpers and tailpipe. They want $24k for it. We priced out the Lease and Purchase option, tell me what you think:
Purchase: 60 months 6.99% with 5k down, $445 per month
Lease: 36 months, $1157 drive off, $419 per month. 10k mileage restriction (which is fine for us), $14080 Residual Value at end of lease
Also, despite the markup, the salespeople in SF are great, no pressure, laid back and they know their product. Apparently, the markups are worse in LA still.
Apr 04, 2003 (4:17 pm)
1) 2002 Chilli Red "S" with 12,500 miles to date. Bought in Early OCT 2002. I bought mine in Salt Lake (even though I live south of SF, CA) because they didn't charge markup, had shorter waits, and would do factory orders. They were wonderful.
2) I beat the doodee out of my little car (~95 on the freeway, really pushing it in turns) and the milage is a pretty constant 24.8 MPG (by the odometer.....) The MPG has come up by one or two since new, but I wasn't really paying too much attention.
3) I got the leather, directions control, Nav system, the Xenons, the Sport Package, the cold weather package, MutliFunction steering wheel and the trip computer. I think that's it. I haven't added anything aftermarket, but the John Cooper Works set up looks sweet.....
4) For maintenance, I've been really happy (less one item). I did have a loose "S" badge, replaced under warranty. There is one issue I'm fighting. My trip computer keeps saying I'm getting 34.4 MPG when the odometer is telling me 24.8. This is wayyyyyyy to much of an error to be acceptible. Peter (service manager) at Mini of Moutain View seems to think that's working fine, so this has yet to be resolved to my satisfaction. They wanted to charge $40 to rotate the tires, and that was too much so I did it myself. I did get a real big crack in my windshield (the windshield is pretty verticle, so rocks going at 100 mph make a real big WHACK) but the CA DOT paid for replacement because it happened someplace they were doing construction. (FYI, it was $603 for the new windshield). Since theres a lot of weight on the front end, the tires pretty much were down to the wear bars at 12K miles, but the rears looked brand new so maybe I'll get another 12k out of the set. Overall, the tires don't impress me much (I have the Pirelli's). The run flat is nice, but they're SO HEAVY! And Mini of Mountain View wants $300 a tire (~$170 at Tire Rack) so I won't be getting any tires from the Mini dealer.
5) The first interresting trip was from Salt Lake to my home in Woodside, CA. I wanted to take the senic route, so I entered "Tuolome Meadows" into the Nav computer and it directeb me accross the Nevada diagonally. Talk about stares! I filled up with gas at some town that wasn't even on the map (about 20 buildings with a Gas Station) and everyone stopped what they were doing as I drove by. Also, even during break-in, 6th gear at 4500 RPM is well over 100 mph. I rested a little while past Yosemite, and was home a bit after that. 17 hours total with 11.5 of that driving. When I pulled into my driveway the average speed indicator was at 75, and that included crossing the bay on one of the bridges. I too have used my car to get stuff at Home Depot. I bought some Pergo on sale to do a new floor for my kitchen. I got lots of suprised looks when the whole lode of crap when into the back and I drove away.
6) Pros: Handles like a slot car. I live up in the hills above the bay, so every day I drive I hit the windies! The car handles so well that I really push it pretty much all the time (hence the wear on the tires) . There's a very interresting benefit to the DSC system. If you hit a turn too hot or with the weight set wrong, Mom (I call the DSC system that) will break individual wheels or cut the throttle to keep you from crashing. I've found that if you set up the turn just right, the computer can't really do anything and it won't intervene up to and including very slight four wheel drifts (not full slides, but you can feel the tires starting to go). So it's been a really grat coach for cornering.
CONS: the cup holder suck. They're really only good to hold my cell phone and some change. There isn't really anyplace to put anything, the way I drive it just rattles around the footwells. My wife leaves everything she owns in the car when she drives it, and when I get it back, all her crap flying around is pretty distracting. The lack of low-end torque is a problem, until you get used to a two gear downshift. If the revs are over 3500, it pulls just fine. That's about all I don't like.
Some other comments. I have quite a stable of cars. An Acura MDX, a modified 65 Mustang convertable, a 99 Civic SI and a 75 Fiat Spyder. The wieght distribution is like the MDX, (too much weight up front) but after driving the Mini for a while, I find myself scared that the MDX will roll over. So high and heavy with body roll. But setting the two vehicles up for turns is pretty similar. The Civic SI is another front drive car on steroids (160 HP VTEC) but that car needs to be at 6000-8000 RPM to really dance. It has better weight distribution, but it doesn't handle as well. Those 17" wheels and the (relativly) large wheelbase for the Mini really pay off. The Fiat is on jack-stands, but when I do drive it, I'm really suprised at how mushy the car feels. And it used to be my nimble little plaything. It's about the same weight, but it's old and sloppy now. The Mustang is fun, but in very different ways. It has a 5.0 FI motor and 5 speed from a 92 CHP car, 13" breaks with PBR calipers up front, 11" rotors in the rear and other toys and tricks. It's top goes down and the Mini's doesn't. It has real torque (any gear, any time) and that's very different than the Mini. They weigh the same, but the mini is much more rigid. They're really different driving experiences. (I got the Mini as a winter commuter, no way would I put my restored and modified Stang through all the winter crap). But I've put more than a couple Mini's worth of money into my Mustang, so in value for dollars, the Mini is wayyyy ahead. I
I also noticed something in the back of the last Road and Track (or Car and Driver, are they really different magazines?) Look at the 700 ft slolom times in the table at the back of the mag. You need a Porche Boxter S or a Viper Competition Coupe to do it faster. No Ferrari, no Corvette, no Lotus or Jaguar or Infinity or Nissan or anything else will do the slolom as fist as a Mini "S". So now I know how I keep on the tails of all those motorcyclists up near where I live.
Overall, I really reccomend the car. Great utility, great fun, and really low costs.
#1294 of 2671 Power & Handling Upgrades?
Apr 04, 2003 (4:54 pm)
Has anyone started to modify their Minis here? If so, what have you tried and what was your experience. I've seen some neet coil-over set-ups, some camber/caster plates, a nice Borla exhaust, Cold air kits and a few blower overdrive pullies. Any experience out there?