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MINI Cooper



  • My buyer's opinion, based on test drives only, is that the sunroof is great!! There is a ton of headroom in this car and I can't see how, unless you're 6' 8", you'd be bothered by the roof being slightly lower... However,markjenn obviously feels differently. For me, I really like the feeling of openess it gave to the back seat as well - those rear windows don't open so this helps counter that closed in feeling. The sun shade seemed fine to me on a sunny, fall day in Connecticut.

    It's funny but my view of options is very different, too. I say if you can afford it and think it's something you want, do it. For me it was the sunroof, DSC for safety!, and leather seats with the lumbar, the cold weather package because quite frankly I'm used to it on my current Subaru and it's wonderful on those cold, icey, winter mornings! At the last minute I've tried to include the Xenons and MFSW but don't know if they'll make the cut or not as the order was already placed.

    I chose Xenons because I read about their amazing light and I drive twisty highways at night without street lights...and I'm not as great at night driving as I used to be.

    I chose MFSW at the last minute because of what I've read about upcoming improvements and the use of iPods and other things...and felt it might increase the resale value of the car as well.

    Also included fog lights and 16" runflats...again to put my anxious saftey concerned mind a bit more at ease.

    For me a fancier stereo didn't matter... And I fool around with the air conditioner temperature too much to want automatic AC...

    So, it is - as always - a matter of personal taste. To me, the MINI is an amazing car with tremendous built in safety features, great handling, wonderful looks, the perfect size for parking in Manhattan, fun to drive and the initial price tag is low enough that I could afford to add on these extras - whereas another car's base price would have been substantially higher and I could never have afforded these luxuries and extra saftey features.

    There's my $1.50's worth of advice! ;-)

    Good luck and keep us posted!
  • t33t33 Posts: 5
    After a few months of reading people's opinions and test driving, I finally ordered my MCS (Indi Blue, black roof) this weekend. Hurrah! I went for the custom car with the options I thought were essential (DSC, fog lights, rain sensing wipers and auto dim mirror) and fun (premium and cold weather packages, HK).

    In one MCS with HR that I test drove, the doors did shake, but then I was pushing the radio to see what it had. I've since test driven cars with HR and didn't notice any shaking.

    I agree with ontheroadagain that the sunroof adds an openness to the car that's appealing. I found that I still had enough head room (which isn't what I've found in other cars with sunroofs) and the screen offered enough shade while driving on a sunny day.

    Not much has been written about the rain sensing wipers lately. I discovered that MINI has intermittent wipers, however there is one setting that is dependent upon the speed you are traveling. In other words, the wipers go less often at slower speeds and more often at faster speeds; there is no other settings. The dealer I spoke with thought they were well worth the cost. So, for someone like me who this will be their first manual car, I thought the more help I can get the better!

    Thanks to everyone for their help and opinions.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    All MINIs get speed sensitive wipers. You don't need rain sensors for that. Rain sensing ones you leave on intermittent all the time (except in car washes) and when it rains they come on by themselves dependent on amount of rain and car's speed.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Of course, any option you want is a good one. But ...

    Rain-sensing wipers? Sorry, this is one I just don't get. You see the windshield getting wet and you flip on the wipers. Do we really need a $150 gizmo to do this for us? (In fairness, the $150 also gets you auto-dimming mirrors which seem a bit more useful to me.)

    I've also heard that it complicates windshield replacement and MC's tend to be stone chip/crack magnets due to their lack of windshield rake, the way the hood is shaped (it has more "draw" than any other hood produced) and proximity to the front of the vehicle.

    Finally, asking dealers whether an option is worth the money is like asking a stock broker if it is a good time to buy stock.

    - Mark
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    While we're debating options (some of us have nothing better to do while waiting for our cars than 2nd guess our choices and drive our dealers crazy), does anyone out there have any direct experience with the heated seats?

    I like heated seats, but have heard that the MC's don't work very well - they tend to get hot very quickly so you end up oscillating between hot/cold which makes them more annoying than useful. But I'd like to get other opinions.


    - Mark
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I think they're a worthwhile option but if you live in Florida you can probably skip them unless you have back pain.

    I have the seat heaters and I really like them. They have two settings. One push of the button puts them on setting two which is very warm, good for heating through layers of winter clothing. Pushing it a second time lowers it to setting one which is just nice. In addition to the two levels, the seats initially come up to a higher temperature to warm you up and then come down to a constant level where it just keeps you warm.

    If you turn them on and off you'll actually make them hotter as they'll never reach the constant level I mentioned. The low level's constant heat is not bad. Level 2's initial heat is high but when you are sitting there in the car shivering, it is nice -- if you turn it on at other times you'll find it is too hot.

    I sometimes put the low level heat on just when I have a bit of a sore back. My wife uses it all the time during summer on the high setting for her back (though I think that's a bit much). This far into fall I sometimes use the low setting in the mornings because of the cold, not due to my back.
  • t33t33 Posts: 5
    In fairness to the sales people I have delt with, not one has pushed an option. In truth, if I had followed their recommendations, I would have purchased a less loaded and consequently cheaper car. I have been very pleased with my experience with the MINI dealers and sales people I have dealt with.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Well, any generalization will have exceptions, but my experience is that car sales people push optinons since they make more money that way. I understand this and discount their advice accordingly. I don't expect them to give good advice because they have a vested interest in the outcome.

    In fact, I discount all information they give, particularly about the local market conditions, what their competitors are selling for, strengths/weaknesses of other competing models, etc. Their focus is on selling cars, not giving good advice. Some of the things I've had car sales people say are so absurd, it takes tremendous control not to burst out laughing.

    Mini sales people may be a little more laid back than most - the have about the easiest sales job in the world, at least for the moment.

    - Mark
  • kcr2kcr2 Posts: 10
    I'd love to hear from anyone who uses an iPod in their Mini. Where do you put it? We normally put ours in one of the cup holders. The AUX jack is mounted behind the cup holders so it works pretty well. Has anyone found a good iPod mount/holder?
  • Looking ahead to snowy New England winters, today I inquired of my Connecticut dealer about run flat snow tires. The parts man said I require new rims, as they cannot guarantee the original (16" aluminum five-spoke) wheels will survive run flat tire changing. Also, they do not offer 16" snows. So what I am offered is 15" run flats on new aluminum wheels for $251 per corner or $1004 per Mini! That's about double what I planned to spend. Say out there - does this sound kosher? alanmini
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    It sounds like the dealer is exaggerating. Of course you can change runflat tires on those wheels, otherwise what would you do if you got a flat or your tread was bald (my 5-stars' tires are nearly bald)? Throw the wheels away? No. Of course you can change the tires on those wheels. That said, it _is_ better to have two sets of wheels to save the wear and tear of swapping tires twice a year and ends up being cheaper in the long run compared to the labour to do that work every season.

    I don't know of any runflat 15" tires, especially snows, though they might exist. You should ask what exact tires they intend to get you, on what wheels.

    I got a second set of MINI wheels, the 16" V-spokes, and put 195/55R16H Dunlop SP WinterSport M3 DSST (Dunlop Self Supporting Tire or runflat) on them. I found the Dunlops to be an excellent snow tire. They cost me about what your dealer has quoted you for 15" so 15" should be cheaper.

    Overall, the dealer is not the place to buy wheels and tires. A wheel and tire shop will be able to offer better price and selection.

    In addition to the Dunlop runflats, Goodyear has winter runflats (Ultragrip EMT) and so does Pirelli (Snowsports, 210 and 240 only in limited sizes with runflat sidewalls).
  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    Did you end up getting your Mini for MSRP or with added (greedy) dealer mark-up.

    Ray T.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    As hpulley says, I would strongly recommend you get dedicated wheels for your snow tires to avoid the wear/tear of twice-a-year changeovers. Within a couple winters, you'll fully recoup your investment in the wheels by avoiding changeover costs. will make a good recommendation on new wheels and tires and will mount them for free so they arrive on your doorstep ready to put on. You can even do it with the jack that comes with the car. I just put together a 16" package with ASA wheels and Blizzak tires and it was about $840 plus shipping. I would do something like this.

    Blizzaks aren't runflats, but for another $100, you could get a Dunlop that is if your car doesn't have a spare. If it were my car, I'd go with the non-runflats and carry a couple cans of fix-a-flat, a plug kit, a AAA card, and a cell phone and not worry about it. Flats are rare these days.

    - Mark
  • kat101kat101 Posts: 14
    First of all, thanks to everyone for the great input to options that I posted earlier.

    I have one more question and that is on the Invisishield coating. Anybody have experience with it? Do you still get rock chips and feel that it was a rip off? Anybody not have it and wish they did?


  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    A friend got it on his original Cooper. He's since upgraded to an S and I haven't checked closely enough to see if he put it on that one as well. Actually, it was already done on the first one and I don't think he got it on the S.

    It isn't quite invisible for one thing. You can see the edge which I find unappealing. Next, the rock chips my MINI has received have been far up on the hood where the shield doesn't cover anyways. I'm not sure how much good it does but actual owners may have more to say.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    I was busy this weekend, who knew it'd suddenly get popular in here.

    Anyway, to add what hasn't been answered, I think if you're going for simplicity in a car, you've already shot yourself half in the foot with a MINI. There's just too much electric and complicated in them. Its the price of their BMW heritage. I say take the sub-compact luxury car and run with it. The extra features make the car that much more fun, and if I'm not for instance fiddling with the temp (2 degrees is fine, you can get in the car on a hot day, it'll crank up the fan and A/C and settle down after a few minutes to the exact temp you want, highly addicting, unless you suddenly feel the need to go from 66-78 degrees all the time. Most of the time you'll set and forget, like the thermostat on your house).

    Reliability may be a concern with options, but I think for most people, they don't really plan on keeping the car for 20 years (I know some people do) so it will probably not be a huge problem.

    Anyway, H/K seems to be good if you like everything to be uniform, and just want a better system. If you trust an installer and want to spend the time selecting a new system and such, you could probably find something better for $500, but that'd be the bottom of the price range for a set of speakers, amps and a new head unit installed that exceeded H/K quality.

    The sunroof lowers the headroom by a fraction of an inch. Its not really an issue because it pops on top of the roof, instead of sliding inside.

    The speed sensative wipers are active on slow and torrential downpour speeds on all MINIs. The rain sensing benefit isn't 'ooh I'm too lazy to turn on the wipers' its that hrm, its raining, so I'll turn them on and then not need to constantly adjust them as the rain gets heavier and lighter, they do it for you. The rear dimming mirror would be nice though, but certainly cracked windshields are an issue. MINI really needs to fix something so they quit doing that.

    When I was iPoding in my MINI, (2nd gen 20 gig model) I just left it under the handbrake. I couldn't see its display, but I was trying to drive, so not a big deal. If a song was annoying, I could hit >> easily, and I'd pick it up and select a playlist or something at lights. It fits pretty well under there, and doesn't eat up a cupholder, or look bad, like the cellphone mounts that hang on the downtubes (silver plastic things).

    I got blizzak snows on 15" Borbet H rims (195/60/15) for around 750 from tirerack. They were excellent. I looked at all the dealer options with the parts guy, and they just couldn'
    t match the prices even though the dealer sells with a discount off MSRP. I think they sell tires and wheels because people are lazy (The kind who buy a 7 series and have someone pick it up for service and need new tires) not because they're good at selling tires.

    I'm not sure what the logic in 'flats are rare these days' is. If you live in a major city or drive on busy roads, I think flats are as common as ever, because there's so much stuff to run over. Didn't matter to me, I got non-runflats, but be prepared you migh have a flat, so do follow the advice on fix-a-flat and such. With that said, flats tend to become more of an issue the older your wheels and tires are, and also on steel wheels, so on a MINI its less likely. Carry a compressor too, they're small and its much easier to pump up a slow leak then have to change it, or fix a flat it and lose the tire.
  • What a strange thing for your car dealer to say about the wheels! I can't help but wonder if we're using the same dealership in Darien, CT? My MA told me that I didn't need to bother with snow tires and my husband thinks he's right because of the FWD, but from everyone's previous posts and more recent ones, it sounds as if it's better to have them.

    OK, here's a novice's question for you all: how do you know what kind of rims to get for your second set of in snow tires? My MINI is coming with those 5 star 16" rims (with runflats)... I haven't got a clue as to what makes a rim good or not good...I thought it was all a "style" thing.

    Any advice?
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    For most people, style is it. If you're worried about performance then you want the lightest wheel which is still strong enough not to crack when going over potholes and speed bumps. Next, you'll be worried about offsets different from stock, rim widths to match the tires, spacers, centre hubs, etc. You need the right bolt pattern and central hub (with or without hub spacers), 'right' offset so it doesn't rub but doesn't throw alignment off, etc. Wheel and tire shops know about this stuff.

    The V-spoke 16" wheels are lighter, 17.5lbs compared to 20lbs each for the 5-spokes but whatever you like is cool. I have 5-spokes for my summers and got V-spokes for winter because they were available for less than 5-spokes at the time. After the fact, it is neat to have different wheels for winter but overall I prefer the look of the 5-spokes.

    The 5-spokes are easier to clean but look dirty quicker than the V-spokes if that means anything to you.
  • Thanks hpulley4 - I'll go with the easier to clean most likely!

    By the way, I've seen this term "pulley" used before on MINI message boards - what does it mean?
  • ALL HANDS: Thanks for the good advice about snow tires and wheels. I'll be checking with my local tire discounter for the best deal. I'm grateful for your help. Alanmini.
This discussion has been closed.