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MINI Cooper, Hyundai Tiburon, Acura RSX, Subaru Impreza, Hatchback
#285 of 298 Mini and Acura
Oct 10, 2004 (3:05 pm)
We have a 2003 Acura RSX and a 2004 Mini Cooper.
I am looking to get rid of the Acura and get a WRX wagon.
The handling of the Mini is unbelievable. If you don't need to haul a lot of people or gear, the Cooper S (especially with the Works package) is tough to beat. Ours has been very reliable so far, but only time will tell.
With AWD and the flexibility of 4 doors and a wagon rear end, the WRX offers more than the others can manage. If there were an STi wagon, I would be drooling over that. But I am sure that the WRX wagon is more than enough car for me.
Oct 10, 2004 (9:19 pm)
do you have the works package? If so, how much was the total cost of the car?
The Mini has amazing handling. I can do without the tight spaces inside though - it makes my RSX seem roomy. And I have my doubts about the long-term durability of those windows that pop the rest of the way up and seal themselves after the doors close.
Beyond that, if it were NA, the Mini Cooper S would have been my choice, probably. The WRX is a great ride but I may never get over my distrust of turbos, especially some of the icky turbos in Subaru's past. (yes, I am aware they are a whole different ballgame today than they were 20 years ago)
#287 of 298 RE: WRX vs. mini vs etc...
Aug 29, 2005 (4:33 pm)
I ended up getting a WRX and love it - over a year and only enjoy it more and more - went through the whole set of tires and close to another very very quick though. Simple but very mediocre interior - nice seats and has much more personality than the RSX but the interior not as much as the mini - but the mini's interior seemed even cheaper than the WRX, if thats possible. The RSX wasn't an option since I wasn't interested in getting a Honda as for a spanking new car, so little, FWD, etc, etc. - checked out a Mini - the interior seemed very cheap - was literally about to take it for a test drive but as a shy person was too embarassed and couldn't see myself having a little Beetle/PT Cruiser type of thing. Lately have been seeing them on the road with stuffed animals attached to the roof - realized I made the right choice.
Aug 30, 2005 (11:25 pm)
yes, the Mini is definitely the "kid's choice". Even if the driver is just a kid at heart. You have to get used to some extra attention, I think, if you pick that one.
The WRX was way below what I would consider acceptable for an interior when I was looking, especially at that price. They have improved it a lot for '05, and as I understand it there will be some more sprucing up for '06. Even if I trusted the long-term durability of turbos, I would still hate turbo lag, which is fairly vicious in the WRX.
One car not mentioned here is the GTI, in particular the new one that will be available here in about four months. The new 2.0T from VW has pretty much NO turbo lag at all, and that car has a VERY nice interior. The handling may be less than I would hope, even with the new IRS, just because of the weight. And I am cautiously wondering just where they will set the price. But if those couple of things come together in tghe right way, the GTI may set the new bar in the segment, even though the WRX has more raw horsepower.
And of course, the new Civic SI, hitting dealerships this weekend, will have 200 hp and a 6-speed as well, and come in much cheaper than a Mini Cooper S Works, GTI, or a WRX, with a typically nice Honda interior, one would hope.
Aug 31, 2005 (5:54 am)
Keep in mind the WRX now has a 2.5T engine, not only is that 25% more displacement but also it has AVCS (variable valve timing) to help power off boost. This engine has almost no lag and produces an incredible amount of power.
C&D took a Forester with this powertrain to 60mph in less than 5 seconds, so the lighter WRX (with shorter gearing due to smaller diameter tires) should be even quicker.
WRXs are already here, too.
Is the Civic really coming that soon? That should be fun...
#290 of 298 My apologies for this long post. i actually test-drove all of these...
Aug 31, 2005 (7:39 am)
... and stayed the heck away from the GTI while I was making a decision for buying this year. I owned a 72-73 Fastback, and had 2 friends who later owned a Scirocco and a Golf. Of the 3 Volkswagens, the Fastback seemed to be the best car. The Scirocco and the Golf both developed electrical problems - the worst was when both cars' power windows got stuck during the winter time. I'll never buy any car made in Mexico - including any Audis that are built south of the border. (And I used to scoff at Consumer Reports - now I understand the value of a longevity report coupled with a user base of a quarter of a million people. And what about that JD Power initial quality study from 2004? Volks ranked just above Hummer - second to last.)
the Mini is cute, and possibly the Cooper S with the Works package is something, but my hour-long commute into Philadelphia means playing tag with hulking SUV's . There are quite a few EXTREMELY bad drivers out here in Philly, and the Mini is just small enough to be 'ignored' while lane switching. There is no denying that parking a Mini in the city is much easier than parking practically any other car, but then again, surviving the commute in order to park would be my main concern. Otherwise, paying close to $30K (Works package and options) for a car with about 200 horses seems a little pricey, especially with a Mustang GT only costing about $25K. But cute sells...
Couldn't easily get into a 2005 Tiburon. I'm 6 foot, with a 32 " inseam, and getting out of the car required a near limbo-like maneuver.
The Acura RSX is a wonderful machine. I test drove a Type S, but the salesguy was hesitant to let me get the car to redline. I felt more safe in it at highway speeds than the Mini; it is bigger, and harder to ignore. Interior was very nice and relatively comfortable, and my wife liked it. Problem was, my previous car was a Toyota Solara, and being in a smaller coupe didn't make me feel like I had made much of a 'switch' in getting a new car.
I also testdrove a Civic Si - neat car, but the clutch on both cars I tested engaged very high off the floor for me. I have a bad ankle, which made shifting gears a little difficult with such a high engage point. (I also test drove a Focus SVT - fun car, but I had to keep saying... it's a Ford.)
So I bought a WRX. Car does well by most consumer and driving mags, and its hood scoop actually does keep SUV's off me. I have friends who own (seperately) a Forester, a Legacy wagon, and a WRX wagon - all are happy with their cars. The all-wheel drive means a lot to me when it rains on my commute, and I'll be happy for it come winter time. I don't see a problem with the turbo in the future; I'm an adult and my racing days are over. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy my car.
Aug 31, 2005 (8:45 am)
I think the Civic will be trickling in through the month of September, and won't be properly stocked until October at the earliest. There are still a lot of '05s to sell. But at least the '06 will be available to see and drive very soon now.
Yes, the WRX becomes a MUCH more attractive option now that the engine has grown in displacement and off-boost power. I wonder how much the price will increase for '06? Among the group listed here, it is edging away to become the most expensive. The only one that might challenge it for price when it finally arrives is the new GTI. That car will have a more aggressive handling package standard than the WRX does. But of course, it will be FWD too.
Aug 31, 2005 (9:54 am)
I'm not so sure, VW usually softens them up for the US, and they tend to have a high center of gravity. We'll see what they do in US tune.
#293 of 298 RSX Type S vs WRX (Practicality Issue/Cost of Operation)
Sep 05, 2005 (11:28 pm)
Some of my friends told me that I should have bought the WRX. I bought my RSX Type S for about $25k and my friend bought his for almost the same price. I really considered the WRX since I wanted to get a sedan after owning a coupe for 8 years. I also liked the WRX's agressive styling, handling, and turbo boxer engine. The only thing that I didn't like was the gas mileage. I drive approximately 35miles+ one way to work and I believe having a turbocharged engine with premium fuel required would be too costly for me. Gas mileage is what I consinder a serious factor in owning a car and this led me to own an RSX Type S. Although I didn't get 4-doors and a turbo, I got the leather seats and other stuff that comes optional in a WRX (moonroof, spoiler, etc.). And with the Type S, I got better gas mileage that would be impossible to get in a WRX. Now the gas prices has gone up, I really felt that I made the right decision. Also, I heard that turbocharged engines are more costly to maintain (like quicker timing belt replacement and all). Is this true? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.
Sep 06, 2005 (8:22 am)
Subaru's intervals are faily long, it's 105k miles on my Forester. 8 years later I still haven't had to do that.
Your Type S takes premium fuel also, right?