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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
#1589 of 2671 Ontheroadagain
Oct 08, 2003 (11:32 am)
I have the automatic version of the MINI Cooper, also known as the CVT. The CVT Cooper although it is an automatic, there are no gears. I couldn't be happier with it. It's great for my commute and driving the hills of San Francisco and Marin. You have 3 driving modes...D mode is for regular driving...SD is a sport mode which holds the revs higher in each simulated gear to give you more high end ooomph before the next shift....finally, +/- Mode (or Manual mode) allows the driver to control the shifting. Tap the center stick down to upshift and tap up to downshift. You can shift between all 3 modes on the fly. To get into SD mode, you tap the center stick once to the right. You can only enter Manual mode from SD mode. To enter Manual mode you tap the stick again either up or down. To get back into regular D mode you tap the stick back to the left. There is a digital display on the odometer which tells you what mode you are in or what simulated gear you are in when in Manual mode. The only peculiar combination is when you want to change from Manual to SD mode. In this case, you would tap the stick once to the left to exit Manual mode and enter D mode and then tap it back to the right again to get into SD. Unless the paddles were added to the 2004 models, there are no steering wheel paddles as in some other cars. I hope this answers some of your questions.
Oct 08, 2003 (12:13 pm)
Unless I'm misinformed, paddles only came with the MultiFunction Steering wheel before but I think now you get them even without that wheel.
#1591 of 2671 Steering Wheel
Oct 08, 2003 (12:37 pm)
What is the multifunction steering wheel? I have a 2003 Cooper with the leather steering wheel which also has stereo and cruise control on it. Is there another? I was never given the option of paddles, although I have heard rumors of them being added at some point.
Oct 08, 2003 (6:32 pm)
Just took the MINI automatic/CVT for a test drive - it was a 2003 loaded to the max...with run flats. I have to admit I liked the car but wish I could have driven it for more time. Before I make a decision, I'd have to go back.
When I asked the salesman about the differences between the 2003 and 2004 he said only their costs. Is this really true?
My first impressions were that it was much more roomy in the front than I expected and that front dash board is a bit overwhelming at first glance. I did use the Sport drive, though not the Manual mode.
It's a very cute car, there's no doubt about it. The only three negatives that I noticed were: the very small rearview mirror, the lack of much of a trunk and that I didn't see any sort of compartment for "stuff" other than the glove compartment. Did I miss something?
It's very tempting. The salesman was quite nice - a young guy just out of college. No hard sell at all... I'm thinking hard about this one.
I've been reading through all the posts from the beginning and am now up to page 58 - I appreciate the suggestion to look up "drivinisfun's" posts, too - very helpful about the CVT, etc. - and ozone1 many thanks for your explanation as well!
Now as to "paddles" not a word was mentioned about them to me today.
#1593 of 2671 paddles, storage, mirror
Oct 09, 2003 (4:35 am)
I may be misinformed about them. I thought they were always available but I could be wrong or perhaps in UK and Europe but not North America. Sorry for the misinformation.
The MINI has storage in the doors, on the back of the seats (mine at least has nets on the back for storage) and there are rear cubby holes on the car sides as well. Plus, there are the cup holders and you can get an armrest and an organizer to fit in the space under the HVAC, behind the cupholders to increase the storage dramatically. The trunk is small with the rear seats up but very large with them down.
If the rearview mirror seems small then you may be sitting too far away. It seems fine to me now but first I was sitting very far away and it was kind of small.
#1594 of 2671 HVAV? and changes for 2004's?nd nd
Oct 09, 2003 (5:56 am)
Sorry I'm not to swift on the acronyms, hpulley4...do you mean between the two front seats but behind the parking break? Is this something you have to buy from some sort of after market catalogue?
It's a very enticing car but I was disappointed by what appears to me to be very poor planning for things like useable cup holders - we commuter/driver/parent types that spend our lives in the car need to have our cup of coffee, tea or bottle of water handy.
How do you all deal with this? I know it may sound silly, but it's got me stumped.
And can anyone tell me the differences in the 2004..or perhaps I should just look at their webiste?! Thanks all!
#1595 of 2671 Ontheroadagain...again
Oct 09, 2003 (9:28 am)
I would agree with you about the storage space, but i guess it depends on what you have to store. I've had to get a bit creative or at the very least find certain places where I put certain things. For example....cell phone and sunglasses go in the passenger side cup holder...coffee (as long as it isn't a jumbo sized cup) goes in the left cup holder....passenger coffee goes in the center cup holder (the one between the two front seats) or my Gatorade/Water bottle goes there....wallet and extra CDs go in the driver's side cubby on the door. There is an aftermarket product which can slide into the open space right behind the two front cupholders. Once you see it, you'll know what I mean. You'll be surprised how much you can fit in the little car, especially with only two passengers.
I've had issues with the rearview mirror also, but you do get used to it. Go back for another drive, sounds like you may need to.
Oct 09, 2003 (10:59 am)
Thanks Ozone, I will have to go back. I guess it's kind of like looking at a new house or apartment in that you can get swept away by the view or whatever and not notice some of the specifics. I only remember what looked like two really small cupholder holes in the front and then they had this larger holder that appeared to pivot? Didn't notice on between the seats at all!
The car seems great and maybe a second experience will push aside all my puritanical upbringing's guilt at the very idea of considering buying such a sporty little car!?
The only other car that's gotten my interest lately is the 2004 RAV4...and I haven't driven it yet. It's bigger, but not too big and has the advantage of being more practical for a family (all 3 of us plus dogs)car...but now that my husband is getting his new used Suburban from the local police department's auction...maybe he'll keep it clean enough for us to use for our long drives to the Outer Banks of NC?
Thanks for your help. This forum is a great sounding board and it's filled with some very helpful information.
One more question: if one gets separate rims with snow tires for the winter is it better not to buy them through the dealer? Or doesn't it really matter? I asked the salesman about snow tires and he acted like they didn't need them, but from what I've read here it sounds like it's a good idea to have them.
Appreciate your help!
Oct 09, 2003 (11:04 am)
Just got my 2003 Red Mini with 5 spoke wheels and sunroof, and after three weeks and a few hundred miles I'm tickled to death. Handling is remarkable, the car goes like spit for a 1.6 litre engine, and the gadgets are fun.
Only one problem. Though the stiff clutch and brakes loosened up, the manual transmission feels kind of pokey. It gives the impression of resisting shifts. It's hard to make smooth shifts unless you pause in the middle of the shift throw.
My old Honda had no such problems.
In your expert opinions, will this smooth out over time? My local mechanic says no - that I should bring it in for immediate service. Of should I continue driving it hoping the gearbox will smooth itself out.
To 2003 Mini owners who have been driving a long time, I ask whether time (driving) should cure this problem or should I bring it in?
Thanks for your kind opinion.
#1598 of 2671 What's new for 2004 Mini Cooper
Oct 09, 2003 (11:11 am)
ontheroadagain- You'll find details on what's new for the 2004 Cooper in Edmunds' New Cars Pricing Guide. It's listed in the Editors' Review section, which can be accessed via the left hand column of the individual vehicle pages. Please keep us posted on your purchase. Happy shopping!
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