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Car Buying, Coupe
#1 of 191 Shifty Needs Your Help in Buying a Car
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Sep 03, 2007 (10:27 am)
Shiftright’s Choice--a stirring drama of money, lust and pathetic waffling:
I need some advice here on the best way to go to acquire a MINI:
Friend has a 2003 Cooper S (supercharged model), mint, 15,000 miles, black on black, well-equipped. Price is $17,000
Pros: It’s the S model, which is a lot faster than the base model Cooper. Miles are really low, condition is perfect, history known since new (one owner), price is about $7,000 less than a comparably equipped new S model, which is now a turbo, not a SC car. About the max I really want to spend on a car. No increase in car payments.
Cons: MINI resale values are damn high. It’s a lot for a 2003 with no warranty left. Black on black wouldn’t be my first choice in this car.
Another friend has a 2005 Cooper S on his lot, massively equipped with everything, including NAV, 32,500 miles, good colors (blue/white), very small balance of warranty, for $22,000.
Pros: It’s an S, has some warranty, very well equipped, good colors
Cons: I could buy a brand new 2007 base model for the same price; miles are 2X the 2003 car, still more than I’d like to spend but I could stretch for it. Increases car payments $100 a month.
I can buy a new BASE Mini in the colors I really like and well but not lavishly equipped for $21,000.
Pros: Get the colors and equipment I really want. Full warranty.
Cons: Not much faster than my Scion xA, and $5,000 more than the 2003 black one. Increases car payments about $100 a month
Not a Choice: A brand new Cooper S with equipment, tax and license is too much money for me.
As the FLY says in the end of the movie: Help ME! Help ME!
NOTE-- any of the used cars could get an extended warranty for about $1,000 on drivetrain and some other items (not everything).
Sep 03, 2007 (12:10 pm)
Nice of you to come to us with your choice.
For what little it may be worth, I vote for option 3.
The reasons I think 3 may be the best choice are as follows (and I know you know all of these reason already): First, you get a full factory warranty.That means that for the next 4 years you don't have to worry about anything serious going wrong. If anything does go wrong, it'll be fixed without cost to you. That's a big deal in my book. Second, even though all of us love old cars, the blunt fact is that some new cars are better, and this is probably true for a new Mini. Most of the bugs have been resolved, and everything is a little bit better. And who really needs the power of an S? Oh, sure, it might be fun, but for those who know how to drive it a standard model with a manual shift will be almost as fun. And you can pick your own color. I look forward to your review of whatever you choose...
Sep 03, 2007 (12:29 pm)
The original base MINI was never much fun to me but maybe the new new base MINI will be better.
I would say either choice 1 or choice 3. Drive them both back to back and see which one you like better.
My 2004 MINI Cooper S that I sold is now out of warranty by miles and has still not had any problems. I talked to the person that bought it a couple of weeks ago and they just had the first out of warranty service done at the dealer for 500 dollars. Probably paid a little too much for the service but you do get a loaner car and a hand wash/vacuum with every service.
#4 of 191 superficial
Sep 03, 2007 (12:37 pm)
not that i know anything but which one looks the best to you. i had some of the same questions. the car i bought was an 06 in feb. of 07 and pay less personal property tax on it when i licensed it. i also looked at the minni's but thought the price was a little high.
#5 of 191 the choice (benjaminh)
Sep 03, 2007 (1:04 pm)
I agree with benjaminh, for the reasons he stated, plus one more. I think the ride of the "S" may be a little stiff, with little practical difference in handling performance for road use. It goes without saying that for competition and track use the "S" suspension tuning would be the one to get, but for daily driving, the regular Mini is better, in my opinion. I base my comments on having driven an '06, and I felt that not only was there no need for a suspension upgrade, but any additional stiffness would have produced a negative tradeoff, for me.
Also, remember, Shifty, when a while back we discussed the fact that you don't need tremendous power to have fun? I believe that was the gist of your comments concerning the fun that could be had with the relatively low powered (especially by today's standards) MGA and B. I agreed with you, which is why I don't think you need the forced induction to enjoy the Mini. If it were free you'd take it, of course, but given the extra cost, it's not a big deal to do without it.
As an additional comment, I'll add that when the resale value is as strong as the Mini's, it pays to buy new. Buying used is great when depreciation is average or greater than average, but the Mini's resale values have been remarkable.
Now I understand the ride quality of the new Mini has been improved, and there is less difference in ride harshness between the regular and "S" models than in the previous generation Mini. Notwithstanding this, and factoring in the value proposition, I'd still go for a nicely optioned regular Mini.
Question for you, since I've never driven a Scion: is the Mini considerably more satisfying to drive than your Xa?
Sep 03, 2007 (3:49 pm)
I like door #1, the price is excellent if it's as nice as any car I would expect you to purchase to be.
Price is about wholesale actually, scary as that may be... suckers are doing in the strong 16s still with those miles.
Door #2, with the miles, isn't nearly as good of a deal, about average retail.. $18k wholesale car. Nav adds little to resale.
Door #3 is a no-go, you said from the outset that it isn't what you want.
And another thing to consider is that I am sure you can retrofit factory nav to the Mini if that's what you really want.... I have yet to see a BMW where this can't be done with relative ease.
#7 of 191 Re: Hmm [im_brentwood]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Sep 03, 2007 (4:05 pm)
Hey these are GREAT suggestions.
It's interesting that nobody much went for #2, the "newer" used MINI...it's almost like you're saying "well, used is used, so go for the low miles and lower price as a heavy decider".
Okay, how 'bout this then? A compromise.
Buy the black one and paint the roof light gray or silver in the future to put some lightness on the car?
I have NOT driven a 2007 base model yet. I think I need to do that. As someone did point out, the original base MINI is fairly anemic, with about 110HP. My xA has 108HP and it's fine but I'm workin' the gearshift a lot. I wouldn't mind some torque here.
Harsh ride isn't really an issue and great handling would be very helpful on the infamous Hwy 17 into Santa Cruz CA. Being so used to MGs and Porsches, which are hard riding, I'm okay with badda-bang, badda-boom.
#8 of 191 Re: Hmm [Mr_Shiftright]
Sep 03, 2007 (4:14 pm)
Is this a replacement for the xA, or a 'fun' car?
#9 of 191 Re: Hmm [Mr_Shiftright]
Sep 03, 2007 (4:29 pm)
Drive the 2003 S back to back with the base 2007 MINI to compare the difference.
Sep 03, 2007 (4:41 pm)
Yeah the MINI would be a replacement. I don't want to keep two cars right now. The MINI is for fun but also very good business image. If you are appraising cars worth $100K+, one's credibility is important, shallow as that sounds.