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MINI Cooper, Convertible, Hatchback
#1 of 26 Mini Cooper Snow Issues
Nov 25, 2008 (1:13 pm)
Hi everyone. I recently had the chance to test drive a Mini after much curiosity and quickly fell in love. I am in the market for the 2009 Mini Cooper. However, I keep hearing stories about how lousy the Mini is in snowy conditions. One mechanic has informed me that because the Mini is so low to the ground, it will be a big problem when there is more than 4 or 5" of snow on the ground. I live in New England where, of course, the winters can be very harsh and I do commute. I was wondering if anyone can tell me about their experiences with their Minis and snowy conditions? Any information would be very helpful. Thanks.
#2 of 26 Re: Mini Cooper Snow Issues [mwandre]
Dec 03, 2008 (8:46 am)
Check out the URL that MINI sent me:
But despite these positive propaganda from MINI, up to half a foot can be a problem! Yet, the high-centering (front-back, side-to-side also) clearance for my Clubman is actually better than some SUVs such as Jeep Commander or Ford Escape (stunning how BAD some SUVs are nowadays!), far better than Chevy Envoy SUV (I measured it's clearance to be the same as the Honda 2000 sports car!!), and measures about the same as Highlander (I have one). So the MINI is not "particularly" bad at all !!! But it is nowhere near the clearance of my former Tacoma 4x4 with off-road suspension and giant tires.
Almost no one looks under the car when buying one. But I always do. You can also compare the clearance of numerous vehicles when on the freeway. Again you will be surprised at the lack of clearance for many SUVs that are featured on snowy-road commercials.
So your mechanic is "wrong" in a sense, if he/she is singling out (is this right?) the MINI as being problem in snow. He/she is fooled by the styling (low roofline) and/or preconceived notions about the car, and not going by data. The MINI has higher or similar ground clearance and even the seating position is higher than many common sedans such as Camry, Accord, Civic, Focus, Corolla, Mazda 3 & 6, etc. The MINI is NOT "low" at all among cars! Park next to some cars and you will see for yourself. And as stated above, the high-centering (a major concern with deep snow) is not particularly bad. Yet, be forewarned that is an "ordinary" car with regards to deep snow (you wouldn't buy a Camry for it's snow capability either ! )
Assuming you are not dragging chassis components in the snow (high-centering), traction in snow is a different issue. There are some posts from folks in Colorado that says the winter traction of MINIs are great, possibly because it is so "planted" to ground compared to other cars. I haven't had a chance to verify that, yet!
#3 of 26 There's snow business....
Feb 02, 2009 (3:40 pm)
I've posted this elsewhere in reply to a very similar thread, but I was driving the MINI only last week in snowy and very cold conditions, mountain roads etc and it was surprisingly good, you just have to have the right tyres fitted. This is my report (with photos etc, to give you an idea of the conditions!).
#4 of 26 What is the bottom line?
Feb 08, 2009 (8:03 am)
I live in Michigan and my daughter is looking at both a New Beetle and a Mini Cooper. She drives 20 miles to school each day. While we don't get snow like Buffalo, it is not at all uncommon to wake up to snowy roads. With good tires, will the Cooper get her through our snowy days. i would hate for her to be stuck at U of M overnight because we got six to eight inches of snow.
Thanks for any insight.
#5 of 26 Re: What is the bottom line? [keygo]
Feb 08, 2009 (3:11 pm)
My 2006 MCS does awesome in the snow. I actually prefer to drive my MINI in the snow then our 4-wheel drive. However, I have winter tires and that makes all the difference in the world. The stock all-season runflats didn't fair as well. Here in the Pacific NW we get a "wet" snow that can be very treacherous and icy when it cools down overnight. Again, the Pirelli Winter 240 Snowsport runflats are great for the snow, but the stock Dunlop tires weren't so great.
#6 of 26 Re: Mini Cooper Snow Issues [mwandre]
Feb 08, 2009 (4:59 pm)
I live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and own a 2008 Cooper S. I'd say it's been pretty reliable in snow, it's certainly got more than enough grip on cornering, though maybe because it's relatively light, you really have to break a lot earlier than most other regular cars in snow. Also, I've had trouble accelerating from a standstill on even slight upward slopes, but that was usually because i was in a half foot of snow that had been plowed off to the side of a main road. despite that, the Cooper is VERY predictable in slippery conditions, and these problems should never catch you off guard, which is what counts. i believe it's even easier to handle than my parents' 4WD Highlander. Just try to power up a hill when possible and drive carefully, and the mini should work as good as any other car in snow.
#7 of 26 Re: Mini Cooper Snow Issues [otto989]
Feb 11, 2009 (10:53 am)
OK. You may have heard of the freezing rain in KY, was a Fed Disaster Area and my power went out for a week. Black ice, white ice, you name it. Snow or not, it is ice underneath. PacNW wet snow is nothing next to solid ice on roadways. As others have recounted, the MINI is amazing great under these conditions, the DSC catching things extremely early (too early on dry roads). And yes, more stable than my 4WD Highlander (4 wheels constantly shifting traction makes for more squirmys than 2 wheels), although of course the Toy has double the probability of finding spots for traction, plus higher ground clearance. But you know, the Highlander is "secure" driving on snow/ice, but the MINI is FUN/FUN/FUN !!! I found myself looking for excuses to go out to get something (gotta top off the gas can for the generator, again !!).
#8 of 26 Re: Mini Cooper Snow Issues [ltq]
Feb 11, 2009 (11:34 am)
I tend to disagree with you otto989. Quote by otto989: "...OK. You may have heard of the freezing rain in KY, was a Fed Disaster Area and my power went out for a week. Black ice, white ice, you name it. Snow or not, it is ice underneath. PacNW wet snow is nothing next to solid ice on roadways..."
We HAVE conditions that you mention with icy roads here in the Pacific NW. We've got a Interstate I-90 that crosses to Eastern, WA that's at an elevation of 3022 feet and is frequently covered with "ice" underneath the snow. Where I work as a firefighter just south of Seattle in a populated area, we've had thousands who were without power for a week or more. Also, we've had quite a bit of snow and ice: http://www.disasternews.net/news/article.php?articleid=3801 "In Washington State, Gov. Chris Gregoire, declared a state of emergency Tuesday night. The snowfall reached record, or close to record depths in 30 of the state's 39 counties." This is a link to a major storm we had two years ago leaving leaving over 1.8 million residences and businesses without power: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_2006_Pacific_Northwest_storms
Yes, we do get icy roads here. Maybe not as frequent as the East Coast, but we do deal with it occasionally. It doesn't matter what kind of vehicle you drive when it comes to ice. In those extreme conditions, chains would work the best. Snow tires will do nothing to stop you on ice. We've got some major hills in the Seattle area and we've had some tragic and near tragic events because of ice. Here a bus hangs precariously over I-5 after losing control on the ice: http://www.king5.com/topstories/stories/NW_121908WXB_bus_hangs_over_I-5_TP.7ba7c- ab9.html?ocp=1
Okay... I didn't mean to be so long-winded.
#10 of 26 Frozen Wiper Blades
Dec 03, 2007 (9:11 am)
Anybody had this experience before? It was cold (about 25 degree) and raining last night. There was ice building up on the wiper. I removed the ice on the blades, but the blades were straighten up by the cold, so they couldn't fully touch the glass and wipe the rain off. Anybody had this problem before? What should I do? Shouldn't this only be happening to the cheap metal or rubber? But my wipers are from Mini...