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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
Jul 05, 2002 (12:41 pm)
"Congrats! With the discussion on the pepper white, I have been very curious to see one, but haven't yet. I can imagine that the cream color with the black roof/mirrors looks great. You say it's "pretty much a basic car," but as I am sure you know even the base model comes with all the toys you could ask for and then some. You really can't go wrong. I assume you got the 15" wheels - which style did you go for, the circle design or the spokes? If you get the '03, it will be interesting to see if they add a center console/armrest. It's my only real gripe about this year's model.
I appreciate your enthusiasm!
Sure, we are very excited about getting our new Cooper at the end of September. That's right, our dealer (BMW/MINI Lauderdale Imports)still had a few slots available for the end of the 2002 production run. They called me on Monday and confirmed that we could still be able to order a brand new 2002 Cooper and take delivery in about 3 months. Not bad at all. However I was given the option to get a new 2003 with a September build date and a late October delivery date. We could have gone this route but since we want to get a hold of the car sooner rather than later and in addition to the expected MSRP price hikes on the '03's (Pricing MSRP lists for 2003 will be available in August), we decided to stay with the '02 model year and get one of the very last cars made for this year's run.
The only changes I have read about for 2003 are the possible addition of a standard front center console/armrest and the deletion of the "Silk Green Metallic" paint. I have no idea whether these rumors are true or not. (I have found a place that manufactures aftermarket front center armrests for the Cooper).
The last model year 2002 MINIs will be built during August 2002. Cars built on or after September 2002, will officially be 2003 model year vehicles.
I imagine this production cycle also applies to the Cooper 'S' models.
When we went in last weekend to test drive and order our Cooper, we originally had decided to get a Velvet Red Metallic car with white roof and mirror caps. We found the color to be very nice, but darker than we actually would like it to be. As much as I like dark cars, I tend to shy away for them due to our year round climatic conditions (Hot and muggy South Florida) and dark paints are generally a royal pain in the rear end to keep looking great.
However, Lauderdale Imports had a Pepper White Cooper with Black roof for a demo. The car came with the "Kaleido" cloth interior with red seat inserts and red door panels. It was a 5-speed and I think it had the Sport Package with the nice 5-spoke wheels and the run flat tires. The car looked terrific. Pepper white is not your everyday white car as it is a off white or cream color. Is not like a Diamond Metallic paint either. The color is surprinsigly very rich looking with fantastic "Depth". I can't accurately describe it, you have to see it in person under direct sunlight as we did last weekend. This is one of the most beautifully done white paint finishes that I have seen on a production car in recent time. This is the kind of color you probably will find on a classic Jaguar F-type coupe...is that nice! The Cooper looks very elegant in Pepper white and the Chrome accents in the body work are further enhanced against the cream color panels. The black roof adds a very nice contrast and noticed how it matches so much better with the black "Cladding" in the edges of the wheel wells and the car's underbody.
Representation made in the internet of Pepper white Coopers simply do not do enough justice to the quality of this color.
Anyone considering a new Base Cooper and living in the "Sunbelt" states should seriously consider taking a look at one. My wife hates white cars but needless to say, she ended up picking out the Pepper White..is that nice!
One thing that I feel BMW should modify a bit is the Base Cooper color palette. Sure there are 12 colors to choose from, but 7 colors are of 12 are mostly dark or darker paints. To me Chili Red and Liquid Yellow (The most common Cooper colors seen around here) fall somewhere in the middle. Both are solid finishes that are neither too light or too dark. But both call too much attention upon the car...this could either be good or bad depending on what you like the most. The only colors suitable for hot weather in the Base Cooper color chart are the Pepper white, Silk Green (Nice color but could make the car a difficult sell in the future) and Pure Silver which is nice but I much prefer the Dark Silver theme offered in the Cooper 'S'. I have never been too crazy about silver cars. Someone told me that Silver cars are much more difficult to see at night. This is just hearsay, I have no evidence to support that.
We also got the 8-Spoke 15" alloy wheels which are offered as a no cost option over the much more blah looking (They are nice but not my taste)7 Hole design 15" standard wheels. My favorites are the 5-spoke wheels offered with the 16" runflat tires but we did not want to pay another $500 for these wheels, considering the cost of replacing them ($200+ a tire) and the fact that the car already offers free 24 hour roadside assistance for 4 years or 50,000 miles. If the car hadn't offered free roadside assistance, we probably would have gone for the runflats instead.
We ordered the standard Panther Black Leatherette seats with Silver door panels just to contrast what would otherwise be a very black interior. We liked the red "Kaleido" cloth seats with red door panels (They do match terrific with the Pepper white paint) but decided against as we might grown sick of looking at a red interior and again making the car harder to sell in the future due to the unsual interior color. A Black/Silver interior is more agreeable to a lot of people, plus we felt we wqould enjoy it more over the years and not grown sick of it.
We also ordered the CVT tranny. I agree with some of the Edmund's comments about the kinda akward shift action of the steptronic (During the test drive I almost could not get a hang of it as the shifter uses reverse logic to upshift/downshift thru the 6 programmed gears). I would have preferred steering wheel buttons as the ones found in the Lexus IS300 sedan with E-Shift. Much nicer ergonomically speaking. But I don't fully agree with Edmund's about the acceleration quality of the car with the CVT. We did not buy the Cooper to win stoplight contests. We had an opportunity to drive the car in dense, fast moving traffic and did not find it lacking in response or downshift reponse. MINI does not market this car as a tire/asphalt burner. Cooments like this totally make me be skiptical about the accuracy of the information protrayed in Edmund's reviews. Too much opinion and little objectivity. I was cracking up about the comment of a Hyundai Elantra being faster off the line than a CVT Cooper...who the heck cares???
Jul 05, 2002 (1:04 pm)
I think the white and black color combo looks great, but I'd never get a car with a black roof in a sunbelt state. I live in south TX, and the same applies to us - that roof is likely going to make for a very warm interior come summertime.
#815 of 2671 runflats on 16's
Jul 05, 2002 (8:17 pm)
drivinisfun - minus the obvious $500 cost for the 16" wheels and the run flats, you might want to keep in mind that all coopers come with a donut/mini-spare tire, so its really quite feasable to replace the runflat tires with normal tires at under $100 each (tirerack only seems to have one kind of tire in 195/55/16 but I have yet to look very far, and its like $75 each) you may have your reasons, but if you do really like the 16" wheels, you can keep your options open still for replacement tires.
the two other rumored changes for '03 include slightly different seat controls (I believe the slide adjustment moves to the side of the seat, but that has already happened on later '02's from what I hear) and new cupholders, since most everyone agrees there's only one usable one in the rear of the car as the fronts are too small for most everything.
Otherwise congrats on getting your order in, and enjoy the wait.
Jul 06, 2002 (5:49 am)
Only cars without runflats come with spares&jacks or the MINI mobility kit (can of goo and a compressor). Some early cars with runflats came with spares&jacks but it was a mistake. You can buy spare&jacks or the mobility kit separately though.
Personally, I like the peace of mind the runflats give. Note that they have much greater range than your average space-saver spare. The runflats go 250km at 80km/h while most space-savers go less than 100km.
Jul 06, 2002 (8:21 am)
well I guess I was lucky then, no one at the dealer seemed to think it was odd I had runflats and the spare...sorry for the aparantly wrong info. I certainly like the piece of mind, but depending on where I end up next year, I may want snow tires, which I have yet to see in runflat, so its nice to keep my options open.
Jul 08, 2002 (6:51 am)
For the heck of it (Got to love Sunday afternoons!), I did some research to see if indeed the new MINI is the smallest car sold in America in recent time. Well, the MINI is indeed the SHORTEST car sold in America lengthwise, but hardly the tinniest of them all. I made a quick comparison among all available subcompacts in the US and here is what I found:
Shortest (Lengthwise) Subcompacts:
1)MINI Cooper = 142.8 in.
2)Chevy/Geo Metro - Suzuki Swift (Discontinued as of 2001, 3 door model) = 149.4 in.
3)Toyota MR2 Spyder = 153.0
4)Honda Insight = 155.0
5)Mazda Miata = 155.3
6)Daewoo Lanos = 160.4
7)Toyota Echo = 163.2
8) Suzuki Esteem = 166.3
9) KIA Rio sedan = 165.9
10)Hyundai Accent = 166.7
11)Toyota Prius = 169.6
12)Ford Escort ZX2 Coupe = 175.2
1)Mazda Miata = 89.2
2)Chevy/Geo Metro - Suzuki Swift (Discontinued as of 2001, 3 door model) = 93.1
3)Toyota Echo = 93.3
4)Honda Insight = 94.5
5)KIA Rio = 94.9
6)Hyundai Accent = 96.1
7)Toyota MR2 Spyder = 96.5
8)MINI Cooper = 97.1
9)Suzuki Esteem = 97.6
10)Ford Escort ZX2 = 98.4
11)Daewoo Lanos = 99.2
1)Chevy/Geo Metro - Suzuki Swift (Discontinued as of 2001, 3 door model) = 62.6
2)Toyota Echo = 65.4
3)Hyundai Accent = 65.7
4)KIA Rio = 65.9
5)Mazda Miata = 66.0
6)Daewoo Lanos & Suzuki Esteem = 66.1
7)MINI Cooper = 66.5
8)Honda Insight, Toyota Prius,Toyota MR2 = 66.7
9)Ford Escort ZX2 = 67.4
And by laden weight:
1)Honda Insight = 1,878 lbs
2)Chevy/Geo Metro - Suzuki Swift (Discontinued as of 2001, 3 door model) = 1,895 lbs
3)Toyota Echo = 2,055 lbs
4)Toyota MR2 = 2,195 lbs
5)KIA Rio = 2,242 lbs
6)Hyundai Accent = 2,255 lbs
7)Suzuki Esteem = 2,271 lbs
8)MINI Cooper = 2,315 lbs
9)Mazda Miata = 2,387 lbs
10)Daewoo Lanos = 2,447 lbs
11)Ford Escort ZX2 = 2,464 lbs
12)Toyota Prius = 2,765 lbs
The MINI is by an inch or so almost as wide as other popular bigger compacts such as the Ford Focus, VW Golf and Honda Civic.
#820 of 2671 Runflats/Bumper Chrome accents on base Cooper model
Jul 08, 2002 (7:08 am)
I had an opportunity to test drive a Cooper fitted with the 16" runflats tires. I think the ride quality somewhat deteriorates with these tires due to their very stiff than usual sidewalls. I still think the safety element they offer is paramount specially for women. We passed on them however for 3 reasons:
1)Stiffer ride quality
2)Car already offers 4 years or 50K miles of free roadside assistance.
3)Car will be driven daily over short distances.
To a lesser extent, the added cost of fitting the car with these tires (Albeit the 5 spoke alloys make it worth it on them alone) and the cost of replacing these runflat tires.
We still have time to change our minds should we decide to add them to our existing order. But overall I found the standard 15" pretty competent under normal urban driving conditions. The 8 spoke wheels are also very nice.
Another point that I have started debating is on the front and rear chrome bumper accents. We ordered our Cooper without them. Not because we don't like them but mostly every Cooper we have seen so far already has the extra chrome bumper accents attached. The Cooper 'S' does not have these chrome accents in the bumpers which adds to their sportier appearance.
However, the chrome accents seem to further enhance the Pepper White paint, but it is a toss up between wanting the "Sportier" look vs the "Classier" look. My wife does not want the bumper accents as she thinks the car has enough chrome in it (Front grille, headlight rims, door handles, window weatherstrip trim and rear tailght license plate accent)and it looks nice as is. But I am still over the fence as if the car will look better with them, but at the same time having the bumpers fully color body matched would make the car more unique looking.
Has anyone ordered/bought a new Cooper with or without the bumper chrome accents? Why did you order the car with or without them?
Would it be too much chrome on a Pepper White car? The wife seems to think so...
#821 of 2671 Geo Metro, 16" wheels, chrome
Jul 08, 2002 (7:29 am)
I traded in a '95 Geo Metro on my MINI Cooper. Believe me, those 4" of extra width and wheelbase make a huge difference, as does the extra weight. In crosswinds the Metro felt like it was going to blow off the road while the MINI feels like it's on rails.
I love the 16" 5-star wheels and find the handling of the Goodyear Eagle NCT5 EMT (runflat) tires to be excellent. The ride is stiff but I have real fun driving this car so I want the best handling I can get.
In Canada you generally get the chrome bumpers with the premium package (which has 15" wheels) but body-coloured with the sport package. My Launch Edition car is 'unique' up here in that it has chrome bumpers on the sport package car. I love the chrome, but my car is IndiBlue -- I haven't seen a while one in the flesh so I'm not sure which I'd prefer but on blue and red I much prefer the chrome.
#822 of 2671 No chrome accents
Jul 08, 2002 (8:01 am)
I ordered my BRG with white roof without the chrome accents.
Reasons; NYC and NJ parking lots will result in bumper taps (or even hits) and I could see the chrome being scraped off in no time.
I also wanted the car to reference the classic rally Mini, so the striped down look was definitely what I was going for. I also added rally lights, so there is more than enough chrome.
Good luck on that fence...