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View Full Version : Anyone own a MINI (the car, not the iPod)?


Foxer
Jul 18, 2004, 12:28 AM
Hey all. I'm seriously considering buying a MINI Cooper S (to replace my Expedition... quite a switch), and I was wondering if there were any MINI owners out there that might want to advise. I've test driven, and am generally very impressed. Plus, I get a real "Apple" kind of feeling from all the marketing material I've seen - which is nice.

edesignuk
Jul 18, 2004, 04:05 AM
Yup, got a Cooper (http://homepage.mac.com/edesignuk/PhotoAlbum11.html) :)

Squire
Jul 18, 2004, 08:48 AM
Yup, got a Cooper (http://homepage.mac.com/edesignuk/PhotoAlbum11.html) :)

Do you like it?

I have this warped idea that I'll buy some kind of convertible when I move back to Canada and drive from the west coast to the east coast with my wife and two kids. I'm always thinking about what car would be best for the trek. The new 6-series convertible would be nice but I'm not that wealthy. The new MINI convertible has crossed my mind. How much room do they have anyway?

Squire

edesignuk
Jul 18, 2004, 08:51 AM
I love it, but then I am single :D There are back seats, but there really isn't hardly any room at all back there, so if you're a short family and you will have your front seats right forward then you'll be ok, if not then...um...well...

Squire
Jul 18, 2004, 08:57 AM
Well, my kids are one-and-a-half and three years old. Legroom wouldn't really be an issue for them now. Depending on when I move back (could be 2 years, could be 10), the MINI might be the animal.

Squire

edesignuk
Jul 18, 2004, 09:20 AM
You should be ok then. They are bucket seats as well, best bet is just go go and check one out :cool:

PieMac
Jul 18, 2004, 09:50 AM
I have one...love it. Plan on driving it for many years to come (Mini's have that classic styling that only gets better with age!).

iLife
Jul 18, 2004, 12:00 PM
Get the car. You won't regret it. I've loved my Mini ever since i got it, actually upgrading to an "S" about a year ago [ yeah it's my second one, like them that much ]

FIN
:D

Foxer
Jul 18, 2004, 04:54 PM
We don't have kids yet, so the back seat isn't that big of a deal (and my wife has no intention of getting rid of her SUV). I tried sitting in the back of one at the dealership and it was something of a joke.

How are they for reliability?

edesignuk
Jul 18, 2004, 04:57 PM
We don't have kids yet, so the back seat isn't that big of a deal (and my wife has no intention of getting rid of her SUV). I tried sitting in the back of one at the dealership and it was something of a joke.

How are they for reliability?Had mine over 2 years, never had a problem...oh, other than a *slight* accident (http://homepage.mac.com/edesignuk/PhotoAlbum8.html) :eek:

gwuMACaddict
Jul 18, 2004, 05:36 PM
i dont personally, but a friend in the city has a mini s and we use it all the time. i love it! very fun little car, nice and zippy... i sit in the backseat when we're taking girls places. i'm 6'1", 170lbs... its tight, but not uncomfortable, granted, we havent tried any long excusions in it

michaelrjohnson
Jul 18, 2004, 09:06 PM
My father owns a 2003 MINI Cooper. And I own a 1991 Toyota Corolla... ah well.

homerjward
Jul 19, 2004, 01:42 AM
[COLOR=Lime]im only 14 so i cant (legally :cool: ) buy/drive a mini but when i turn 16.5 (damn texas laws) im gonna work my ass off at a part time job (kinda oxymoronic(am i using enough parentheses(just curious))) to get one. regular cooper w/ cordoba beige leather sport seats and a usa (or uk, im not sure-the usa is my country *insert shame here* but uk has a better lookin flag) flag on the roof :cool: i say who cares about it's practicality or goodness, it has loads and loads of cool factor. kinda like the ipod mini...small, impractical, but oh so cool, except the MINI doesnt come in metallic pink. i say AFTERMARKET PAINT JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!
:cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: pardon my rambling (color green for envy)

oreo
Jul 19, 2004, 04:16 AM
I used to own a proper mini cooper, (one of the old style) which I loved to pieces, just can't efford a new one yet.

edesignuk you going to Southern mini days? If you're not do a search for it. It's a good event

geese
Jul 19, 2004, 04:47 AM
How are they for reliability?

Remember, they are built by BMW, so reliability and build quality is supposed to be good. They are fun to drive and think how much petrol you'll save.

I used to own a 1977 Mini 1275 GT 5 years ago, in lovely lime green back when Mini's were proper British cars. Well, when i say lovely, it was a bit of a wreck, but it drove like a go-kart and was twice as much fun.

Alas, someone smashed into the back of it. And it died. :(

jrober
Jul 19, 2004, 06:06 AM
I drive a Cooper, (Dearly wanted a Cooper S but company car tax, fuel economy and self preservation - Don't really want to leave behind wife and 2 sons. made me choose the std cooper). It is fabulous, fun and very cool and my family love it. The car of choice in my house. See pic below.

Abstract
Jul 19, 2004, 08:56 AM
I've read that many European brands aren't reliable at all, and America is improving to about the same level. Japanese cars rule the reliability ratings. However, this doesn't mean a MINI will break down every week or something. It just means that you may (or may not) have one or two more repairs to sort out for the first year or so of driving it. The MINI had a very poor reliability rating, but it may be better now after a few years of production, just like how the Ford Focus is now above average in reliability.

Personally, I think a guy driving a MINI has the same social connotations as driving a little Mazda Miata, or VW Cabriolet/Beetle. They're nice, but you're paying so much for novelty and quirkiness-coolness that it doesn't make sense. Lots of better options are available at the price of a Cooper S. And no, I'm not a car guy who mods cars or something. I just like getting my money's worth.

edesignuk
Jul 19, 2004, 09:08 AM
I've read that many European brands aren't reliable at allYeah, BMW, Merc, Audi, VW, they all have awful reputations :rolleyes:
However, this doesn't mean a MINI will break down every week or something. It just means that you may (or may not) have one or two more repairs to sort out for the first year or so of driving it.Where is this information from?
They're nice, but you're paying so much for novelty and quirkiness-coolness that it doesn't make sense. Lots of better options are available at the price of a Cooper S. And no, I'm not a car guy who mods cars or something. I just like getting my money's worth.You're paying for what is essentially a "mini" BMW, you will always pay a premium for that.

mkrishnan
Jul 19, 2004, 09:14 AM
I recently drove a Cooper S -- could some of you who own one give me some feedback on one particular issue? I found that the shift linkage did not guide the shifter smoothly into the correct gear at all -- I was constantly hunting for gears during down *and* upshifts even at speed. In particular, almost every time I tried to go to 2nd for a turn, I ended up in 4th instead. I am used to 5 speeds more than 6, but I have not had this trouble on other 6-speeds I have driven, such as the Miata's, the Acura TL and RSX type S 6 speeds, the MB C230 6 speed, etc. It was really the most trouble I've ever had with this issue.

Anyway, I haven't had a chance to drive a base Cooper yet. So first: have any of you noticed this issue on Cooper S models (I am wondering if this was build quality on the particular unit I drove, or typical), and how about the 5 speed on the base Cooper?

Thanks!

belair
Jul 19, 2004, 09:19 AM
I drove a Mini cooper and I thought the driving experience was a little poor. However it was an automatique transmission wich slows it down considerably. But thats not my point.

If you get one check out if you can change the seats. I think they are really crap. They are too bulky and they are too much like a bench. I spent my time sliding from side to side.

I think in a Mini Cooper S, the seats and the suspension, are better and you get the real "Mini feeling". I owned an old mini wich was really great.

mkrishnan
Jul 19, 2004, 12:23 PM
Where is this information from?


This is all US info, but....

In the US, the dominant metric for this is the JD Power Initial Quality Survey. The survey measures problems users had in the first three months of use. The survey metric is essentially equivalent to 100x the number of problems the average user will have in the first three months, so if the metric comes out to 100 for a brand, the average user will have one problem.

In 2004, MINI came out at 142 vs. an industry average of 119 and best-in-class of high 80s or 90s (87 for Lexus, 93 for Cadillac, IIRC the best-in-class number has typically been in the high 90s over the past five years or so). What this means is that a MINI is slightly more likely to have issues making a non-routine dealer service visit necessary than the average car. Compared to best in class, the average owner has another half a problem in this time frame (142 vs 87-93). Note that since the number for Lexus is still close to 100, even many Lexus owners are likely to have ~1 problem in the first 90 days.

Anyway, this roughly corroborates what Abstract was saying. Out of interest, BMW (109) is much better than MINI (142), and BMW, Audi, MB and Volvo all edged out Acura. True to reputation, Volkswagen was 2nd to last -- losing only to Hummer. :)

To put it in perspective also, MINI is closer on the list to Kia than to Lexus. But that's more of a testament to the strides Kia has made than an indictment of MINI. Also Hyundai was another brand that beat out Acura....

Link: http://www.jdpa.com/presspass/pr/pressrelease.asp?ID=2004037

sinbushar
Jul 19, 2004, 03:11 PM
i don't know
i'm personally against the mini, as it has become a fad...i detest "trend" cars...(see: honda element, pontiac aztek(sp?), hummer H2, caddilac escalade, scions)...they just seem to go for shock appeal and lack any real substance....

hopefully, HOPEFULLY, i will one day be able to get a mercedes benz e55 amg.....beautiful car....

but i give dirty looks to mini's and their owners...sorry for the biased opinion...but just to give you an idea what you are in for, because i assure you i am not the only one...

-adel

Timelessblur
Jul 19, 2004, 03:30 PM
[COLOR=Lime]im only 14 so i cant (legally :cool: ) buy/drive a mini but when i turn 16.5 (damn texas laws) im gonna work my ass off at a part time job (kinda oxymoronic(am i using enough parentheses(just curious))) to get one. regular cooper w/ cordoba beige leather sport seats and a usa (or uk, im not sure-the usa is my country *insert shame here* but uk has a better lookin flag) flag on the roof :cool: i say who cares about it's practicality or goodness, it has loads and loads of cool factor. kinda like the ipod mini...small, impractical, but oh so cool, except the MINI doesnt come in metallic pink. i say AFTERMARKET PAINT JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!
:cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: :cool: pardon my rambling (color green for envy)

um you can get it before you 16.5. The law is you have to have you permit for 6 months. You can get you permit when you are 15. Oh and personly I think it is a good law. To many stupid 16 year old who think they know how to drive on the road so there is a need to have a permit for 6 month before hand

mikeyredk
Jul 19, 2004, 04:24 PM
Yeah, BMW, Merc, Audi, VW, they all have awful reputations :rolleyes:
Where is this information from?
You're paying for what is essentially a "mini" BMW, you will always pay a premium for that.

VW has a bad rap for being expensive after purchase

Squire
Jul 19, 2004, 04:46 PM
Yeah, BMW, Merc, Audi, VW, they all have awful reputations :rolleyes:
Where is this information from?
You're paying for what is essentially a "mini" BMW, you will always pay a premium for that.

Actually, part of what Abstract wrote is true. Just because it's a Bimmer doesn't mean it's immune to reliability issues. In fact, the BMW X5 (I can't find the article) topped some list of recalled vehicles last year, I believe. And, again, as Abstract wrote, American manufacturers are finally getting their act together in reliability. (It only took what? Thirty years?)

So here you have it- the JD Power and Associates Initial Quality Survey results:

2004 IQS Results


Lexus**************** 87
Cadillac************* 93
Jaguar*************** 98
Honda*************** 99
Buick**************** 100
Mercury************ 100
Hyundai************ 102
Infiniti*************** 104
Toyota************** 104
Mercedes-Benz* 106
Audi***************** 109
BMW*************** 109
Oldsmobile******** 110
Volvo*************** 113
Acura*************** 117
Chevrolet*********** 119
[b]IND. AVERAGE******* 119[b]
Chrysler************* 120
Dodge*************** 121
Lincoln*************** 121
Pontiac*************** 122
Subaru**************** 123
GMC***************** 127
Ford****************** 130
Mitsubishi*********** 130
Saab****************** 133
Jeep******************* 136
MINI***************** 142
Land Rover******** 148
Saturn**************** 149
Suzuki**************** 149
Kia********************** 153
Nissan***************** 154
Mazda**************** 157
Scion******************* 158
Porsche*************** 159
Volkswagen********* 164
Hummer*********** 173

Squire*************297
http://www.thecarconnection.com/index.asp?article=7086

Squire
Jul 19, 2004, 04:51 PM
Apologies, all. I'm an idiot. That post was staring right at me. Thanks for the info, mkrishnan. ;)

Squire

alphaone
Jul 19, 2004, 06:24 PM
I really really want one. (The S version.) My family agreed to help me buy it (first car) if I do really good at school for the first semester next year :D

Some more info on that shifting problem previously mentioned would be nice though. Anyone else have a Cooper S?

mkrishnan
Jul 19, 2004, 06:33 PM
Some more info on that shifting problem previously mentioned would be nice though. Anyone else have a Cooper S?

Yeah, here's my bump to hear experiences on that too. :cool: I should add that personally I loved pretty much every other aspect of the Cooper S. The sports suspension is nice, although if I remember Wisconsin roads (its been a while) as being like Detroit roads, the potholes might be a good reason to stay away from the S and the sport suspension. I remember a lot of people in Detroit feeling this way. In Florida (nice roads :)) the sports suspension is sweet.

IJ Reilly
Jul 19, 2004, 06:41 PM
I've had my 2003 MINI for a bit over a year now. Absolutely the most fun I've ever had in car (while it was in motion, anyway). It's the basic Cooper.

The car had a few teething pains, especially in the first model year (2002), which accounts for it being dinged by Consumer Reports. CU has a bad habit of not unpacking the actual areas of trouble, which you can easily avoid, if you know what they are.

- The sun roof rattles. They may have fixed this for 2004, but it did greatly annoy many MINI owners who have them in 2002 and 2003 models. (I also don't like the fact that the sun-shade is perforated. A bad idea in a sunny climate.)

- The supercharger seems trouble-prone. I don't know much about this issue since I don't own one, but it seems many problems are reported. Do more research on this before buying an S model, is my suggestion.

- The CVT was a real problem when it came out, and for some time thereafter (only available on the Cooper).

- Some people reported problems with the coolant system, but I think this was fixed. Never had any myself.

- Get the sport seat option unless you are a really wide person. Much more comfortable and well worth the money.

- If you're set on the 16 or 17 inch wheels with the run flat tires, I'd recommend a good long test drive. The ride is very rugged in this configuration!

IJ Reilly
Jul 19, 2004, 06:56 PM
Some more info on that shifting problem previously mentioned would be nice though. Anyone else have a Cooper S?

The S has a 6-speed Getrag gearbox, which I wish they offered in the Cooper. Never heard of any problems with this transmission. The 5-speed in the Cooper had a linkage issue in the 2002 models. Could that be what you're hearing about?

You might want to check out the insurance rates on the S model before you get your heart too set on one. It might be quite shocking, especially if this is your first car. The power-to-weight ratio is pretty awesome on this model. Insurance companies know about this! The Cooper is no rocket sled, but trust me, it's still great fun to drive. I have never once wished I had the S instead.

Another issue I've got with the S (aside from some troubles reported with the supercharger) is the effect it might have on the durability of the engine. The MINI engine (made by Tritec in Brazil) is not time-tested, and the gearing on the MINI is already quite high (about 3,200 RPM @ 70 MPH on the Cooper). Supercharging an engine like this just doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

Finally, I think the Cooper is much better looking.

Foxer
Jul 19, 2004, 07:19 PM
I've only taken the S on test drives (a couple of different vehicles). Took it out on a particularly bumpy Milwaukee freeway (they're actually all bumpy) and I was satisfied with the ride, and my wife was surprised it was so smooth. Listening to the radio while driving is a big deal for me, so I was happy that it was so quiet.

I'm not too worried about getting looked at by people when they see my car. I mean, I use a Mac... I'm accustomed to standing out. :D

mkrishnan
Jul 19, 2004, 09:23 PM
The S has a 6-speed Getrag gearbox, which I wish they offered in the Cooper. Never heard of any problems with this transmission. The 5-speed in the Cooper had a linkage issue in the 2002 models. Could that be what you're hearing about?

No, the one I drove was definitely a 2004. And I'm as shocked and dismayed to be complaining about a Getrag manual as you are to be hearing it. :(

IJ Reilly
Jul 19, 2004, 10:45 PM
No, the one I drove was definitely a 2004. And I'm as shocked and dismayed to be complaining about a Getrag manual as you are to be hearing it. :(

Hmm. To answer your earlier question, the 5-speed isn't very refined either. Takes some getting used to. (I understand it was a left over design from a Rover car.) The first time I drove a MINI was in England, in the spring of 2002. I was shifting left-handed, which only added to the complications of learning the gearbox. Stalled it out a few times during the week I had it, though I did manage to negotiate myself out of and back into central London without incident. Once I got it out into the countryside, I had a wonderful time.

The MINI has a few rough edges, to be sure -- which is okay with me. I like mine very much, just the way it is.

LifeIsCheap
Jul 19, 2004, 10:51 PM
Afternoon All,

I've had my Cooper S since Xmas Eve 2003 and have loved every minute! You can see some photos here (http://home.swiftdsl.com.au/~djmoz/MiniWeb/index.htm) and some photos of Minis at a race day here... (http://home.swiftdsl.com.au/~djmoz/ECWeb/index.htm) The Australian spec is pretty good compared to others around the world and comes with aircon, 16 inch runflats, 6 speed, cruise control, multifunction steering wheel, etc. as standard. The only mods I got were the driver's lights on the front and that funky roof!

Regarding the comments regarding the gearshift, I have never had a problem finding the right gear. I find I can flick through the gears fast enough to see off most 'have-a-goes' out there on the road! The thing you'll want to look out for is the traction control. Minis tend to bog down with traction control on if you make a sharp turn out of a driveway for instance and need to floor the accelerator to get away from oncoming traffic. Just turn it off if you know you're about to make one of these turns and you should get along just fine.

The ride quality is firm with the 16 inch runflats and sports suspension plus but not a problem over distances unless you're feeling a little delicate. I turned down the option of 17 inch run flats as the ride was a fair bit firmer.

Get one. Personalise it, run it in (go easy 1st 2000kms) then drive it like you stole it (within legal limits hey? Don't want anyone getting hurt out there now)!

There is an excellent Mini community out there called Mini2 (http://www.mini2.com). They also have forums featuring people as obsessed with their Minis as we all seem to be with our Macs.

Do it. Go on. You know you want to...

IJ Reilly
Jul 20, 2004, 12:26 AM
Just to show how nutty MINI owners can get (guilty as charged!)... I managed to talk my way into the port of entry on the morning my car was unloaded from the ship. Even in this sea of MINIs I managed to find mine almost immediately (I'd been tracking the order and knew the VIN). It's the red one in the middle of the photo, with the shipping materials still covering the bonnet and roof.

TheJester_MH
Jul 20, 2004, 03:27 AM
Over 2 years ago, I bought a Mini Cooper and never regreted it once. Itīs the best car I ever had and most fun. Although, I think itīs more fun sitting on the drivers seat than sitting next to me. I had some complaints about my radical driving habits :D But what do the people expect? If youīre allowed to drive 30mph in town, then take every curb with max speed ;) I had great fun with the cops last time, they hardly caught up with me, and I wasnīt even speeding...just not brakeing before takeing the turn... :p
Now, itīs over 3 years old and itīs time to buy a new one. It shouldnīt be any surprise to the Mini community out there, that the new one will also be a Mini. Only this time I sparing the roof. The Mini convertible is due end September :)
Now I only hope the weather gods have mercy :cool:

Your Mini-Addict

edesignuk
Jul 20, 2004, 03:30 AM
I really wanna get an S next time round (or better yet a JCW Cooper S :D), but I'm gonna have to wait until my insurance is A LOT lower. :(

edesignuk
Jul 20, 2004, 03:34 AM
This is pretty much what I want next time round, but I won't have the sun roof, they'll be a union jack there :D :cool:

http://www.mini2.com/gallery/personal/18548/33296_thumb.jpg (http://www.mini2.com/gallery/personal/18548/33296.jpg)

TheJester_MH
Jul 20, 2004, 03:35 AM
Is the insurance in the UK so high for a Cooper S? Here in Germany the insurance for my Cooper is very low and I donīt pay any taxes, as the motor fullfills EURO 4 norms. After all, the MINI has the best results from the national drivers association for reliablity and it hardly gets stolen :)

Cheers for now!

mkrishnan
Jul 20, 2004, 07:39 AM
Thanks for all the replies on the shifter issue -- I think a lot of it must have just been that particular car -- in fact I'm sure there's also a Getrag unit in at least one of the other 6 speeds I've driven and liked. Anyway, I'm still not 100% sure for myself on one, but I am sure I'd love it if I owned it. Happy motoring, all! :D

Abstract
Jul 20, 2004, 10:43 AM
Yeah, BMW, Merc, Audi, VW, they all have awful reputations :rolleyes:
Where is this information from?
You're paying for what is essentially a "mini" BMW, you will always pay a premium for that.


JD Power
Consumer Reports
The Canadian equivalent of the above, but it was last year's report.

Basically, the MINI ranks in the 4th, and last, quartile in terms of initial problems with the car, and as I said, once you iron them out, its probably a cool car to have, although I wouldn't get one, personally. Of course, fixing the car is expensive as well, much like the VW, which also has many many problems.

Its nice, though. Have fun driving it, as I'm sure its a fun car. ;)

IJ Reilly
Jul 20, 2004, 10:57 AM
One other thing: If you're patient, consider going the factory order route. Not only will you get exactly what you want on the car, but depending on your dealer, you might save money over buying off the lot. With the order number you'll get from MINI, you can watch your car being built and shipped. I got a kick out it anyway, and that's also how I knew to the day when the car would roll off the ship.