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Honda Civic Coupe vs. MINI

hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,187
edited April 5 in Honda
Compare and contrast fun-to-drive and fun-to-be-seen-in factors, and value.
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Comments

  • The Mini especailly the S model or the John Cooper will out-handle the Civics , including the Si, all over the place. With the Mini you can get all of the BMW goodies including NAV, XEXONs and DSC (Skid control).

    The Si will be a blast to drive though and more reliable. The Si will be slightly faster than the S and a little slower than the John Cooper. But at $4,500 the will be very few John Cooper's made; kind of like BMW's M series.

    If I still had it, It would be interesting to compare my Modfied GSR Integera against the two; It would probably come in third :cry:

    MidCow
  • The Honda looks like alot of other cars on the roads however the Mini is in a class all by itself.
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    I've owned a civic, and have a mini on order.

    Fun to drive: Mini hands down. This is one of the most fun cars to drive. Drive an S, then drive a civic--there's just no comparison. The civic is definitely more practical, but for fun, a Mini can't be beat. It's truly like driving a go cart.

    Fun to be seen: Mini hands down again. It's a head turner, you'll get people looking or asking about it. A civic? A dime a dozen.

    Value: This one is tougher. The civic is a great car, well priced for what it offers. The mini is a bit overrpriced, BUT, it holds it's value better than any other small car. Depends on what is important to you.

    Personally, I think these cars are apples/oranges. The civic is a fantastic car, very reliable, but not much of a wow factor. The mini is pure fun, but not as practical or reliable as the civic is going to be. Gotta choose what is the most important for you.
  • " It's truly like driving a go cart. "

    BE CAREFUL the Mini drives like a go cart until its limit is reached and then it spins. There have been a lot of wrecks and spin-outs ay Gymknannas and race tracks.

    Cheers,

    MidCow
  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    "Mini drives like a go cart until its limit is reached and then it spins"

    That would be true with any car you overextend in a turn or cornering. The Mini just makes it more fun. Hell, try a e-brake turn for some jollies if you dare in the Mini ;)

    Ray T. :shades:
  • No No most cars drift (slide) which is controllable. The mini actually goes from tracking to spinning.
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    The civic is a fantastic car, very reliable, but not much of a wow factor.
    What about the new Civic SI?
    I haven't driven it, but I've heard great reviews about it.
  • rayt2rayt2 Posts: 1,208
    I have never encountered that condition of tracking to spinning without a fair warning from the "feel" of the car. I have experienced the 4 wheel drift while under hard cornering but nothing that imitates your experience. My racing experience has taught me to "read" the car while drivng hard and to realize the limits thru this feedback. ;)

    Ray T. :shades:
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    The civic is a fantastic car, very reliable, but not much of a wow factor.

    What about the new Civic SI?
    I haven't driven it, but I've heard great reviews about it.


    From a wow standpoint, I was thinking more along the lines of looks--I think the mini wins hands down here--the Civic SI looks more like a mini mini van than a hatch; it's not a head turner, like the Mini is. I just don't see people stopping to take a look at an SI like they do the Mini.

    The specs are nice, it should be more fun to drive than a standard civic, but I seriously doubt it's going to be as much fun to drive as a Mini S (I haven't driven an SI either, and I could be wrong, but I think a Mini S is going to be significantly more "fun" to drive than the SI).

    As for "spinning the mini out", you're going to be able to get the Mini through a twisty section much faster, with less chance of losing control, than the Honda--handling is the Mini's strongpoint. As was previously noted, you'll spin ANY car if you get it past it's limitations; not just slide. You really have to be driving all out to get a mini to spin, driving much harder than most other cars....
  • ctalkctalk Posts: 646
    The specs are nice, it should be more fun to drive than a standard civic, but I seriously doubt it's going to be as much fun to drive as a Mini S (I haven't driven an SI either, and I could be wrong, but I think a Mini S is going to be significantly more "fun" to drive than the SI).
    Well, from what I see the new Civic SI is an amazing handler. There hasn't been a direct comparison between the MINI cooper S and the Civic SI, but from all the first drives I've read, I think it will be as 'fun' to drive as the MINI.

    Edmunds- "Bottom line, the 2006 Civic Si is the best handling, best performing Civic to ever touch tire to asphalt in America. The 2006 Si is fun to drive on any road."
  • ...Do be aware that the car rides very stiffly, so if you live in an area with less-than smooth roads, you WILL feel every bump on the road. :surprise:
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    ...Do be aware that the car rides very stiffly, so if you live in an area with less-than smooth roads, you WILL feel every bump on the road.

    I am very aware of this--this is the trade off for the go kart handling. The mini suspension was slightly softened in 2003, and it makes a big difference. Tires, rims, and tire size also have a huge impact here. The ride isn't THAT bad, but no way it's going to ride as nice as a Civic. The Edmunds report says it's the best handling CIVIC, there is no mention of a direct comparison to a Mini--so I don't doubt it's the best Civic to drive out there, but that doesn't mean it's going to be as fun to drive as a Mini. But it depends on what you're after--smooth ride, go with a Civic. Go cart handling, with a stiffer ride, and a smile on my face every time I get in it, well, that's the mini.

    I'll have to go out and drive an Si (Don't want one, but curious how it drives). But with all due respect to the reply two posts above, I seriously doubt an Si will be as fun to drive as a Mini--the short wheel base of the Mini alone gives it an advantage in banging around a twisty. Not saying that it won't be a fun car to drive, and it's certainly more practible, but more fun is another matter. I'm sorry, but a Civic is just more generic, and more sterile to me.
  • Agree, but have you ever driven a mini-cooper hard? I heard from some of my racing friends it has snap hook similar to the previous gen 911s.
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    Don't know about the previous generation 911's, but I can tell you from first hand experience you can get a Mini S through twisties much quicker (and with more stability) than you can a 911. Although I'll give you in the straights, the 911 blows the doors of a mini. And from second hand knowledge (A friend of mine, who used to race F-1, and is a Porsche fanatic, and owns a 2005 MC S with a JCW, and several older Porsche's), says the mini wins no contest through a sharp turn.

    Funny story--this same friend has been trying for years to get me to buy a "real" sports car. He was on me again last year, and I told him sheepishly I was getting a new car--a Mini S--thinking he was going to have a blast jumping all over that one. Instead, a funny thing happend--his eyes got huge, and he told me he used to race the old mini's whenever he got the chance--he absolutely loved racing them; it was a totally different and very fun beast to race. In fact, he ended up getting his mini before I got mine (And of course did the JCW thing). I can't get him to admit that the Mini is more fun than the Porsche though. But then again, he is selling one of his Porsche's...

    There's a nice video on another site showing the two in direct comparison on a course full of twisties. Guess who wins? Give you a clue--the winner would have lost on an oval big time.

    The mini is a love/hate, either you get it or you don't type of car (and I don't mean this negatively). My wife hated the idea of a Mini, couldn't understand why I'd want one when I could have gotten a Corvette, TT, or something like that. Then she test drove an S when I ordered mine, and her whole attitude (Unfortunately for me) changed dramatically. I wish she didn't know how to drive a manual, I see this as becoming a big problem. At least she won't let the kids in it yet, which means more driving time for me!
  • saakeysaakey Posts: 2
    Nice story...but my only question to you is, who is this ex-Formula 1 driver you know?
    and BTW i'm actually selling my 911 and getting a MCS ;-)
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    Your statement about your Mini having a shorter wheelbase than the Si is true, but that doesn't mean it can handle better than ALL other cars with a longer wheelbase. That's just not true. If it were we could say that it handle better than an S2000 or a Lotus Elise or Ferraris, just because the mini has a couple of inches smaller wheelbase. Sorry, doesn't work that way. Now if you said my Mini (do you have the base model?) weighs 2560lbs or 200lbs less than the new Si, and it might handle better because of the weight being thrown around when turning, then I 'd say that is a possibility and this statement is closer to the truth than the one about wheelbase. Wheelbase used to matter but not as much anymore because today's suspensions and chassis are much stiffer and sophisticated.

    I think the Si will handle extremely well. Maybe better than the old Integra Type-R. You cannot just compare weight and wheelbase because you don't know what kind of suspension the Si has. There isn't a hek of a big difference between the Mini S and the Si as far as weight goes (maybe 100lbs). The Si has fairly large front & rear sway bars and may have stiffer springs and shock valving. The Si will also have a true LSD. It may have less body flex than the Mini, etc. You just don't know. I 've seen 3200lb 3-series Bimmers turn on a dime with a little stiffer springs and shocks and larger sway bars.

    I auto-x my Integra GSR a lot and I 'm all about handling. My 2600lb Integra handles very well especially with larger rear sway bar and coilover springs and adjustable shocks (oh I have an LSD too). Mine is also lowered 1.5" and has about the same ground clearance as a mini maybe 1/2" more. I have Minis for breakfast. I go to some non-SCCA clubs (and SCCA as well) where there are modified Minis in my class. They have aftermarket springs and shocks and even bigger sway bars. I haven't lost to one yet. It's been very close a few times, but it hasn't happened yet. There is a chipped Mini S with some engine mods in a higher class than me that is faster than me in an 55sec auto-x by a few tenths or 1/2 sec. but it has 200hp at the wheels (about 240hp) and like I said it's in a higher class because its power to weight ratio matches the S2000's. When S2Ks (completely stock) are present, that guy's Mini is still no match for them.

    In general, lighter cars with a smaller wheelbase can turn a little faster, but there are many exceptions and other factors like I mentioned above. Take an old Huyndai from the early '90's that weighed only 2300lbs that has a relatively small wheelbase, and you will find that it didn't handle very well because of its soft cheap shocks, soft spring rates, and non-existent rear sway bar. Suspension bushings also play a big role in handling and can dramatically change a car's handling characteristics. Some cars' bushings have a higher durometer than others (softer or harder bushings). Tires also make a big difference. Chassis rigidity, etc.

    In any case there are many factors that contribute to good handling and wheelbase is usually one of them, but that alone doesn't cut it anymore.
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    I didn't say that the shorter wheelbase was the only factor, but it contributes. I mentioned wheels and tires--heck, just getting a few extra pounds of unsprung weight off each rim makes a big difference. And I wasn't comparing the Mini to a Lotus Elise, or Ferrari (that would be more interesting in a slalom course though), etc. The issue was between the Civic, and the Porsche made it's way into the discussion. And sway bars, camber, shocks, suspension etc. are obviously going to make a difference. But, I was just referring to a stock MCS. And for a front wheel drive car, the Mini handles amazingly well. As for chasis rigidity, which you mentioned, the mini is very stiff. Not saying it's the best handling car in the world, but it holds up suprisingly well against some fantastic automobiles, especially in a slalom. Didn't a MCS with JCW just win the unlimited division Targa in Newfoundland? (It did. And one of the cars in the unlimited class was over 600HP, 3 times the HP of the measly little JCW Mini S. All the big time horsepower cars ended up in the ditch, or in one case into a boulder).

    As for the F-1 driver, not gonna throw his name out--maybe I'll see if I can get him to post in here though--that would be interesting. He ended his career roughly 20 years ago--I'll give you that though.
  • "As for the F-1 driver, not gonna throw his name out--maybe I'll see if I can get him to post in here though--that would be interesting. He ended his career roughly 20 years ago--I'll give you that though."

    okay, just as i thought ;-)
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    The truth is I actually know two of them, but only one who owns a mini. I understand your jealousy, it's a blast to talk to them (The other F1 driver is from the same time period, and hates Porsche with a passion--very funny, and enlightening to talk to.). Really don't care if you believe me or not--it's your loss, not mine.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,615
    rolling artwork. everything in the car is styled. just sitting in it is great(which is all i have done).
    new civic is way better than previous(style).
    have not driven either. i would probably get a mazda3.
  • "have not driven either. i would probably get a mazda3."

    How do you know until you actually drive them yourself?
  • ...Keep your eye out on the upcoming Honda Fit due in March 2006 in the USA.

    It may not have the sheer speed of the Mini, but because of the unusual total body design of the Fit (for example putting the gas tank underneath the front seating area), the Fit has a very low center of gravity, which makes the Fit a good handling car even with the lower-end models. Install a decent suspension and a set of good 195/45R16 tires on the Fit and we might be seeing the first FWD car that could give the Mini a run for its money in terms of good handling (probably with better ride quality along the way).
  • only1harryonly1harry Posts: 1,136
    Could you please tell us of a tire manufacturer that makes a 16" tire in 195-45-16? I haven't seen anything lower than 205mm width in 16" diameter. 205 or 215-45-16 is a popular size

    Does this thread compare the Civic Si or just the base Civic Coupe to the Mini-S? Because in all fairness it should be the Si vs. Mini S. A recent car mag tested the Si. 0-60 in 6.8s and 15sec 1/4 mi. I believe the Si proves to be the faster car in straight line acceleration. The Mini S probably handles a little better. Anyone know the Cooper S's skidpad (g) #s and slalom speed? The Si was .85g in the skidpad. Don't remember the slalom speed but I think it was 68.X mph.

    Don't forget, you can always install Si springs, shocks & sway bars on your 140hp Civic Coupe LX or EX which weighs 150lbs less than an Si, and make it handle even better than the Si. The chassis is identical and there is no extra rigidity or special welds in the Si except for the suspension (unlike Integra GSR & Type-R where the Type-R had thicker A,B & C pillars plus extra welded plates at key points in the chassis for higher rigidity). I wish they offered a vanilla Si with no mooroof for additional chassis rigidity. When I auto-x my GSR (on sticky Hoosier race tires), I can feel the chassis twisting and the sunroof squeaking even when it's fully closed. The race suspension, polyurethane bushings, large rear sway bar and very sticky tires makes it handle so well but at the same time twists the GSR's flexible chassis. Dang sunroofs comprimise a car's rigidity and handling ability. I wonder whose brilliant idea it was. Well he 's probably a millionaire today anyway.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaPosts: 975
    ...Keep your eye out on the upcoming Honda Fit due in March 2006 in the USA.


    If you want to talk with other enthusiasts, they're talking about the Fit now in our Future Vehicles Forum:

    2006 Honda Fit (Jazz)

    MODERATOR
    Need help getting around? claires@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    I agree sunroofs, moonroofs, panarama roofs, etc., etc., are the most over-rated and over-priced option/feature. I honestly can't remember the last time I opened mine.
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    I'd have to disagree with that. If it's strictly performance you're after, then a sunroof is a terrible idea--it's heavy, decreases rigidity, and raises the center of gravity. So if you're at the track, or autocrossing, it's a bad idea.

    However, for daily driving, the Mini's moonroof is awesome--it's almost like having a convertible with it open. And it doesn't need to be that warm to open it. And, if you're ever going to sell, it's easier from that perspective as well. So it's personal preference from a "luxury" standpoint; but I agree it's a terrible idea from a strictly performance issue.
  • mycoopermycooper Posts: 1
    The Civic is nice however the Mini wins hands down for its got 6 airbags and it just more fun.
  • bpraxisbpraxis Posts: 292
    There are repeated messages here about how the Civic does not compare to the Mini in the appearance department. I have to tell you that a couple of friends refer to the Mini as a clown car.

    I happen to love the looks of both of these cars and are amazed at how much styling they offer for an afordable price.

    The Honda has very complex curves on the front fenders flowing off of the hood somewhat like Lexus uses to create an upscale appearance. The windshield is rake more radically then some exotic cars and the dash is a blast. The overall look of the Civic is more expensive than the MSRP, it makes the Accord coupe look very old. The quality of the materials in the Civic are again well beyond the price point and the ergonomics are far superior to the Mini.

    The new Civic in the right color catches my eye as much as the Mini does.

    The Mini is being redone for next year and will be a few inches larger with a much nice interior, larger engine etc. So wait if you are going to buy a Mini to see the significant changes which will be on the auto circuit starting in September 2006. There will also be a new body style called the traveler which will be 8 inches longer.

    And of course the gas milage on the non Si coupe is fantastic, 40 MPG on the highwary, wow!!!

    You do get a tremendous value with either car.
  • cct1cct1 Posts: 221
    Taste is a personal thing; I like the looks of the Honda Civic too (I owned one years ago, it was a great car)--but it's simply not as eye catching as the Mini. And the Mini is rarer; Civic's are a dime a dozen. Nothing wrong with that, but the relative uniqueness of the Mini is a large part of its appeal.

    The 2007's are a mixed bag. The new engine looks extremely promising, but I'm not a huge fan of the exterior and interior changes. And don't be looking for a 2007 in September 2006 here in the states; it's going to be more like January 2007 for the first new model, and substantially longer than that for convertibles.
  • thegraduatethegraduate Posts: 9,731
    I know I'm replying to a 14 month old post, but it still applies -

    Fun to be seen in: Mini hands down again. It's a head turner, you'll get people looking or asking about it. A civic? A dime a dozen.

    I'm a 19 year old, 6 foot 4 "strapping young man" as I've been called, and quite frankly, I'd need a red nose, face makeup, and big floppy shoes to drive a Mini and get away with it; I'd look like a clown getting out of one of those.

    For me, the Civic has plenty of style for the segment in which it competes, and is much more desirable.
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