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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
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?
Apr 05, 2003 (5:41 am)
I've also made up my mind on which car I'm getting, and I'm going with the MINI also. Red Cooper with black top, 5 sp, combo #1 plus cold weather (need those heated seats in Chicago), DSC. I guess this is one climate that is better in Chicago than SF - the MINI car buying. I got $500 off MSRP, plus a 4.9% interest rate.
#1296 of 2671 Congratulations, minime5
Apr 05, 2003 (9:22 am)
Nice work, Minime. Like gasoline and houses, popular cars are inflated in price. Oh well, what can you do. We are getting the white top on our Red MINI. I usually don't like red cars, but the MINI red is really very nice, especially with the extra chrome on the bumpers.
Apr 05, 2003 (1:07 pm)
I've long ago decided that a cooper s would be my ride of choice. Even had a chance to drive one here in boise. I'm considering placing an order, but have this nagging concern about being so far from a dealer. The closest warranty service is some 300 miles away in Murray Utah. I'm not really a car enthusiast, and wonder if I'm just asking for trouble if I do this. Am I crazy for considering a Mini this far from the stable?
#1298 of 2671 Change in color
Apr 06, 2003 (11:58 am)
Went to the dealer to take home the red, and found a Pepper White w/black top, 5sp with combos #1, #2 and #3. Took it home yesterday, and haven't stopped driving it since! It's the smoothest car I've ever driven - me and the wife will be fighting over this "extra" car.
#1299 of 2671 Ozone1, I would not buy a demo
Apr 07, 2003 (7:47 am)
Be careful of that demo with 500 miles. Those 500 mi. are all driven a few at a time on a cold car = lots of wear/tear. I know from the 3 test drives that I've gone on, nobody drives the mini easy during testing. The dealers tend to push the car to demonstrate the great handling. Not all Southern Ca dealers are marking up. Irvine and Long Beach have no mark-up, and lots of Coopers in stock. Irvine had a large mark-up in prior months, but they recently started MSRP on existing stock and orders. Good luck.
Apr 07, 2003 (8:03 am)
Thank you for the advice, croy. The car has only been a demo for less than a month, but I certainly can see your point. As of today, we're still going to purchase it, but this could change. We have until Saturday to make up our minds.
#1301 of 2671 Test Drives
Apr 07, 2003 (8:19 am)
Have test driven the S once and the Cooper twice and have to say how impressed I was with the Coopers power. I know part of the sensation comes from the size of the car but still very impressive. I currently drive a 225TT and am seriously considering the base MINI. My only dislike on the base model is the chrome. Has anyone been able to do anything with it yet? Like remove it or paint it. And does anyone have a real date for when the 04's will arrive?
Apr 07, 2003 (9:03 am)
I like the chrome but which parts do you dislike? The bumper inserts don't have to be chrome, they can be body coloured. The grill can be changed for a black or stainless steel one. That leaves the light surrounds and window/door top trip -- do they bother you as well? For a bit of money I'm sure you could easily get the window/door trim done but the lights will be more difficult. Anything can be painted for a price.