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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
Mar 27, 2005 (8:11 pm)
greyscale, I'd just hang in a while and see how things develop. You're fortunate in that these cars have excellent resale so you're not going to get burned waiting a year or so. If the area you're in has a shortage and you were on a waiting list, you might even get about what you paid.
I was cross-shopping the Mini and the Prius. Both had something extra to offer over other competitive cars: the Prius had the fuel efficiency in a very comfortable package with Toyota reliability, while the Mini had the fun-to-drive factor. After test drives in which the Prius seemed like an motion appliance and the Mini seemed like a Italian sports sedan, the choice was easy. At my 7K miles/year average, the Prius was going to save me a $25/month on gas, but in the scheme of things, this just wasn't worth driving a car that I could respect, but otherwise didn't enjoy driving.
If you do get something else, the Prius will nail the gas problem, or you could look at something like the Mazda 3 or new VW Jetta. But, both of these cars are likely to get 15 mpg in the tough situation you're in. I have a 2004 Cooper S which gets about 23 mpg overall, with about a 70-30 city/highway mix.
Good luck with your decision,
#2072 of 2671 Re: The Shine is Wearing Off [greyscale]
Mar 28, 2005 (8:43 am)
Yeah, I had a MINI on order but at the last minute got a VW Golf instead; the MINI has the "cool" factor down pat, but I wanted just a little bigger car. I do miss the awesome "go kart" cornering that I experienced on my extended test drive, but I'll wait until they come out with a "MIDI" instead.
#2073 of 2671 Re: Shine [markjenn]
Mar 28, 2005 (8:50 am)
I'd recommend against the Mazda3 at this point. It failed the IIHS.org new side impact test. Of 14 small cars tested, only the Cobalt and Corolla, each with side impact air bags, passed the test. I was surprised the Mazda3 failed, since it is constructed on the new global platform jointly developed with Ford and Volvo and which is the basis for the Volvo S40.
Of midsize cars, the Camry and Accord with side curtain airbags do very well.
The Prius wasn't tested.
#2074 of 2671 Re: Gas mileage [greyscale]
Mar 28, 2005 (1:36 pm)
My experience is that PURE, 100% city driving has a huge impact on gas mileage. Last year I moved from the suburb to the city. Whereas I was doing about 85/15 hwy/city driving, I am now almost 100% city, squirting from stoplight to stoplight, with lots of idling, and shorter trips. And my mileage dropped almost 4 mpg. (My car is a '04 TL automatic).
#2075 of 2671 Re: Shine [micweb]
Mar 28, 2005 (1:51 pm)
Thanks for the info, micweb. Was the mini included in those crash tests? If so, how did it fare?
#2076 of 2671 Re: Gas mileage [bodble2]
Mar 28, 2005 (1:55 pm)
Yes, the only way to deal with it I suppose is to get the Prius. The Lupo currently isn't allowed in the States, from what I understand, but I'd love to have one of those! Like Mark, I went with the Mini because I didn't feel the banality and uninspired design of the Prius was worth the better gas mileage, so I guess I shouldn't complain.
And the bigger issue for me might be a lack of confidence in my driving skills. I was used to driving Volvos up until I bought the Mini, which of course is like driving a tank. Plus, I just don't DO much driving, so that doesn't help when I'm confronted with these quick-decision situations. I'll check out a driving school around here.
#2077 of 2671 Re: Shine [greyscale]
Mar 28, 2005 (4:25 pm)
The MINI was mentioned, but IIHS said it was holding off their testing because MINI advised them they were reconfiguring the airbags or something. I don't recollect right now - their website is worth checking out. They don't pull punches.
#2078 of 2671 Re: Shine [micweb]
Mar 28, 2005 (4:42 pm)
I think what Mark said earlier about a driver in a smaller vehicle being able to avoid some accidents may be very valid. My wife up until recently drove an '02 Accord sedan. She is only about 5'2" (and a short 5'2" at that!). When she was behind the wheel of the Accord, it seems that she was always cranking her neck just to see over the hood. Although the Accord is not a large car by today's standard, its size still seemed to everwhelm her. To make a long story short, last month she was involved in an accident on her way to work in which she got clipped on her right, which somehow caused her to veer into the on-coming lane, and she clipped a car going the other way and ended up rolling her car! Luckily she wasn't seriously hurt, but I do wonder, if she was in a smaller car, would she have had a better view of her surroundings, and even perhaps had been able to maneuvre out of trouble.
Even for myself, if I'm driving a large vehicle, I find that I devote so much attention to the size of the vehicle that I don't drive by natural reaction and instinct. I would be almost "thinking" my way down the road. And I think I'm actually more prone to accidents in that situation. I think it's like what they say about athletes --- that if they have to think about their next move, then they're in trouble.
#2079 of 2671 Re: Shine [bodble2]
Mar 28, 2005 (5:42 pm)
Wow, I'm glad your wife IS okay! Rolling the car....whew!
I never test-drove the Prius, but I was given one as a "loaner" by BMW after a week of owning the Mini when I had to leave the Mini for a minor warranty issue. It was on a Friday, and the guy told me to keep the Prius over the weekend because they didn't get around to fixing my car. So I had this Prius for three days or so. That thing is a LOT of car! It looks bigger than the older-model Priuses (Priae?), and it just felt huge. Plus the rear visibility, as I recall, was really strange - it had a split window of some kind, and I had much more trouble parking it than even my old Volvo. And I recall I was sitting up way high in this thing, I guess that battery pack is under the seat or something, I don't know. There was just something not COMFORTABLE about it, at least for me.
The Mini was the car for me when I bought it. I'm single, I drive around in it alone 90% of the time, and I use it to park around town, and you can't beat it for getting into those tiny parking spaces. I even feel better about the car since posting here. I guess none of us is really safe with these frigging SUVs out there. Gas prices here in California may hit $3/gallon by summer. Maybe they'll all trade in the Hummers for sometime smaller.
#2080 of 2671 Re: Shine [bodble2]
Mar 31, 2005 (12:12 pm)
Having a number of years under my belt riding motorcycles, I find that the best protection is being aware of your surroundings. On a motorcycle you have such a small profile that many vehicles may not be aware of your presence. I feel the same way when driving my car. Make sure I can be seen in the mirrors, and if I have any concerns, drive defensively. It's become second nature, so I don't have to think my way down the road. Of course, it also helps to have a highly manuverable vehicle.