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MINI Cooper



  • Lauderdale MINI.

    Buy your next MINI from them. No mandatory packages, no BS, strict MSRP pricing and configure your MINI anyway you want it to be (Stock or loaded, it doesn't matter). Excellent people, professional and curteous treatment makes this dealer the best MINI dealership operation in South Florida. Very happy with them and highly recommend them. See Larry Bonito or Crystal Neagle or any other member of the terrific Lauderdale MINI staff.

    Thinking about getting a second MINI and it will be from Lauderdale MINI.
  • I have never seen tests conducted for rear enders at least not from official sources such as NHTSA, IIHS or NCAP. I think some here are under estimating the MINI's build quality and structural rigidity. It is a small car but constructed like a larger vehicle. Its torsional rigidity is 50% more than of the current BMW 3 series (E46) platform.

    The dynamics of rear enders are different from frontal or side crashes. There are many variables such as vehicle size, weight, speed, etc.

    The current VW IV platform doesn't have very impressive safety stats with the exception of the more rigid Beetle.

    I generally think highly of the current Jetta/Golf/Beetle (Except for their ever present and teething quality control issues) and find them to be very competitive cars but looking and feeling pretty outdated already...solid rear axle? Softly sprung stock suspension? Quality problems that VW still hasn't been able to sort out in 5 years of production? I only hope the upcoming V platform will address the shortcomings of the current IV foundation. I have seen sketches of the upcoming V Golf and looks like a 3 door minivan...yikes!

    Many ex-Golf and Jetta owners are making the switch to the MINI. The Golf is a terrific car when it is chipped and mods are added, otherwise it is a German economy car tuned for American tastes in terms of ride and handling right out of the box.

    No VW product can ever match the MINI driving and ownership experience. The MINI is not just a car but a lifestyle not meant for everyone.

    Enjoy and happy motoring!
  • There's nothing wrong with the Golf/Jetta IV saftey stats. IIHS still gave them the highest rating, Good, even if behind the New Beetle. NHTSA rates the Jetta (Golf) 5-stars in frontal impacts, 4-stars for front passengers in side impacts, and 4-stars for rear passengers in side impacts. The New Beetle got 4-stars for front and 5/3 for side. I don't see how that amounts to not "very impressive safety stats."

    I definitely understand fears about safety in a rear-ender. A couple years ago, the abnormally heavy traffic on the freeway on the morning commute came to a gradual stop. We were at a stop for at least 10 seconds already, when all of a sudden, BAM! The Buick behind us, for whatever unknown reason, didn't even noticed that traffic was stopped up ahead of him and bashed into us probably somewhere between 30 and 40 miles per hour. I don't think he even had a foot on the brake when contact occured. The trunk of my beloved white '90 Accord EX Coupe was crushed like an accordion, and the frame got it bad enough that the car was totalled.

    Fortunately, in the front seat, I came out only a little sore. There's an unrelated other reason I would not want to have been in the back seat in that accident, but fortunately had I or anyone else been there, there was enough sheetmetal between the point of impact and the rear seat that a rear seat occupant shouldn't have been in too much danger. But in a Mini, there's hardly any space between the hatch and the rear seat. I know BMW put a lot of effort into engineering the safety of the car and the rigidity, but it has to crumple somewhere, right? What about a hypothetical baby in the back seat?

    It is certainly an area of concern, at least if you're planning to make use of the rear seat.

  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    Just so you know, the Golf platform does not use a solid rear axle. It has never been a solid rear axle since the era of the Rabbit. It is considered a fully independent suspension because both rear wheels are able to move indepedently of each other. They are connected by a metal beam, but that beam can flex and twist (unlike the solid rear axles in trucks), as can the trailing arms that connect the wheels to it. This suspension is not as advanced in design as a control arm system, but it does its job well. Anyway, I just like to clear up the misconception that VW's rear suspension design is solid when it is in fact independent.
  • Correct me if I am wrong but hasn't Toyota gone back to a solid rear axle on the Corolla and Matrix. If so, no wonder the new Corolla's were a little cheaper than the last.
  • I am in Texas where the MINI's are not sold. I saw that someone recommended the Ft Lauderdale MINI but can anyone recommend a good dearlership that I might be able to fly to and drive home a MINI?

    Any suggestions will be appreciated!

  • Which is similar to that in the VW's. Calling it an 'axle' is really a misnomer but it is often called a beam axle suspension (like the MINI's Z 'axle' rear suspension, since it isn't RWD is there really an axle back there? I don't see one). It doesn't spin like an axle. It is a beam which is flexible and twists (hence, torsion beam) so it acts like a spring in many respects. Like many suspensions, it can be turned for comfort or for performance. It is cheaper than many multilink suspensions.
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    I AutoX my 02 GTI on a regular basis with SCCA. My GTI with it's modified suspension ($1k) will hang with any MINI, Miata, MR2, etc. - it handles extremely well with a few tweaks. The major difference is the MINI doesn't need suspension modifications to be competitive on the track. My modified GTI's ride is similar to a MINI S with sport package - on the stiff side, just the way I like it. VW puts a soft suspension on a stock GTI, but it's easy to turn it into a go-cart if that's your preference. I put Neuspeed racing springs/ front shock tower brace, Bilstien shocks and a 25mm Neuspeed rear sway bar on mine - increadable handling by any standard.

    As stated above GTI's are extremely safe in a crash - excellent structural design and as many air bags as a MINI (front, side and head). I can't imagine a MINI being a safe car in a rear end crash - there is nothing back there to absorb the impact. I wouldn't let my kids or anyone else ride back there. I don't see that as a big deal though, just keep the rear seat folded and treat it as a 2 seater with a huge trunk. I doubt anyone buys a MINI for it's rear seating capacity anyway.

    As far as VW reliability goes, like most all car makers VW has made huge strides. I've put 11k very hard miles on my modified 1.8t GTI in the last year without a wimper - no problems at all. Many of my friends drive VW's of every type and don't have any reliability horror stories either. VW wouldn't be consistently breaking it's sales records and be the most popular European brand in the U.S if they didn't have reliable cars. People don't put up with unreliable cars anymore.
    Don't get me wrong, I like the MINI and may own one someday. My MINI dealer in Orlando is horrible - I wouldn't buy a MINI scooter from them. Hence my decision to go with the GTI instead of an S. The Turbo GTI turned out to be an excellent MINI S alternative for me, I'm totally impressed after the first year. By the time my lease is up the 04 Mk V Golf will be out with 4 Motion all wheel drive - can't wait.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    To me, the Mini has its own niche and does not compete against any other cars. Sure, some might consider Golf-vs-Mini etc, but I would not buy a Golf (it's a great car, but it's never been on my shopping list), while I think the Mini is more of a fun thing. An additional car to have, just like I have a motorcycle. I have enough everyday cars, the Mini just seemed one of the best new designs around, and I was looking forward to it.

    Alas, the dealer experience ruined it for me.
  • I love sub-compacts.They are easy to manuver, easy to park, and get no door dings because of the narrow size. Now I have a 2000 Chevrolet(Geo) Metro with a three banger that keeps up with any traffic. I am disappionted that it has been discontinued due to "poor demand". The next best step to owning a sub-compact would be a Mini. But why would I want to spend $20,000.00 for a sub-compact that is the same size as a $10,000 Geo? For $20 grand, it had better have more room.! Why is it that Japanese subs are not in demand in America and European subs are? Am I missing something?
  • rsunicorsunico Posts: 82
    Greetings! It's time for me to order my Mini. I have a few questions and apologize if these questions have been asked before. I want to order a Mini with the Premium and Cold Weather package. QUESTIONS: 1) I'm not a boy racer. All I require is a car that can merge on the highway w/ no worries and can cruise 80mph for hours on end (cruise control). Given the type of driver that I am, will the basic Mini (not Cooper S) meet my needs? 2) What will DSC do for me? -- remember, I am not a manic driver and don't whip around curves. Finally: 3) Does the car come w/ fog lights already (the 2 white lights under the bumper)? I forgot to ask the rep. If I order the fog lights.. do these necessitate the grill be cut? THANKS IN ADVANCE! Best Regards.. Renato
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    First of all, the base price is much less than $20K -- I don't know why people keep saying the MINI is expensive, it is not. Well, compared to the Geo Metro it is expensive but compared to similar cars with similar features I think it is a good deal.

    Next, the MINI is much bigger than the Metro where it counts -- I would know, I traded in a '95 Metro hatchback on my '02 MINI Cooper! The MINI is 4" wider than the Metro which makes the passenger space much more comfortable. The Metro actually had more rear leg room (since it was 6" longer) and more cargo space when the seats are up (but less when the seats are folded) -- however, since my Metro and MINI are used 99% of the time for just me, rear passenger room and cargo space with the rear seats up are not that important.

    So, why get a MINI? Space, safety, power, drivability, fun, fashion, etc..

    There is much more space for the front seat passengers and the MINI's seats, especially the sport seats, are much more comfortable and supportive. By the time I traded my Metro in, even a 30 minute drive was painfully uncomfortable while driving for an hour or two in the MINI is no problem at all.

    The MINI is more than 500 lbs heavier than the Metro, has a longer wheelbase, a wider track, bigger wheels, advanced safety features like 6 airbags, ABS/CBC/EBD brakes, ASC+T or DSC traction control. The chassis is 50% stronger than a BMW 3-series car and probably many times stronger than that of the Metro.

    Even the base MINI has more than double the power of the Metro, going 0-60 in 8.5s compared to 15.5s in the 3-banger Metro (no joke) so it is almost twice as fast. I drove my 3-banger Metro faster than most drivers on the road but for some left turns into fast moving traffic, I felt the Metro was too underpowered to be safe. Even the base MINI has enough power to burn rubber so I feel much more confident moving out into traffic.

    I was driving my Metro hard and in that kind of driving, you'll really enjoy the handling of the MINI. It sticks like glue to the road and if you go a little too hard, it has electronic traction and braking features to keep it going straight. It has that small car fun handling feel but feels much more solid than the Metro which felt like strong crosswinds would blow it over some days.

    The Metro is not a cool car, let's face it! The MINI is fun as owners wave, other people ask you what the heck it is, etc. etc. If you don't want to drive a fashion statement that gathers crowds at grocery stores, don't buy the MINI. If you think it is fun to have the cool car in town for once in your life, get one.

    So overall I feel much safer and have much more fun in my MINI than I ever did in my Metro. Having a good (Alpine) stereo, good air conditioning, power everything, etc. makes it much more convenient but having comfortable seats is actually one of the biggest factors. The MINI is, IMO, the best small car out there. Most other small cars are now like small minivans or small station wagons and that's not what I wanted. The MINI is what I wanted. Take one for a test drive and see if the $17K MINI is for you.
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I am a fast driver but I have the base Cooper and find it is fast enough for me. Merging onto highways is a breeze with the tall gearing -- shift into 2nd gear around 35MPH and then into 3rd around 60MPH or a little over; you'll be there in 8-10 seconds. The car cruises wonderfully at 90MPH so 80MPH will be a breeze.

    In Canada, the base Cooper comes with ASC+T by default so I didn't get DSC. ASC+T is nice for keeping the car from sitting there and spinning the wheels forever in slick conditions and helps you when taking corners fast. Do you need it? No, but I like it.

    Fogs are not standard. They come with the sports package or can be ordered separately. The holes for them are already in the bumper so installing them after the fact is quite easy, though you also need a new toggle switch panel since the foglamp is on there and the leave the switch out if you don't order it.
  • I wasn't a 'boy racer' either until I got my MINI and finally saw 'The Italian Job' ; )

    I have a base with DSC. I've never noticed if the DSC light has come on. But then, if I'm in a situation where I would need the DSC, the last place I'm looking is my dash.

    Can't recall if it was this board or one of the many others I troll, but someone posted a thread "DSC saved my life". Quickly, a truck was changing lanes on top of the writer's MINI, quick maneuver to avoid, felt for a second he would lose control until the DSC caught and straightened the car. So, while you are not (yet?) a 'boy racer', DSC can help in situations that are caused by other people's driving.

    BTW: what color are you ordering?
  • crcoxecrcoxe Posts: 72
    Aside from the fact that they are both 2-door hatchbacks with four wheels, I can't find many other similarities between these two cars. If you're shopping for a MINI and are considering the Metro at the same time, I'd strongly suggest you do a little more research. The MINI is a car for those who love driving -- if your morning commute has lost its fun, or you are no longer taking meaningless drives in the country on weekends, the MINI will bring all of that back in a hurry. Also with a strong warranty, roadside assistance and free scheduled maintenance, the cost difference is not really that much. Seems to me that he Metro is all about saving pennies. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just marketed for a different driver.

    rsunico - Your specs are looking remarkably like mine - premium/cold weather. I did not get the sport pkg but did opt for the 16" 5-spoke rims a la carte. In my humble opinion, the 15s just look too skimpy. I don't have fog lights and the only complaint I have about that is that I am missing two toggle switches on the dash. And while I seem to be the only one on this board who likes them, the bonnet stripes are a MUST on this car. It's like the last final touch before it's officially a MINI and not just another 2-door hatch.
  • big_guybig_guy Posts: 372
    I had the opportunity of sitting in a Mini at the local dealership the other day. I am 6'-7" tall and weigh 225 lbs. I was just curious if I could fit into such a small car . . . and I was shocked. I had plenty of head and leg room. Granted, nobody could sit directly behind me (I had to slide the driver seat all the way back on the track so that the drivers seat was touching the seat cushion of the rear passenger seat). I was truly impressed because I do not fit into most vehicles. I don't like to lay the drivers seat back down in order to get head room and didn't have to do that in the Mini. The engineers at BMW did a very nice job of maximizing the interior space (at least for the front seating positions) while keeping the exterior package very small. Just wanted to share my $.02.
  • mgreene1mgreene1 Posts: 116
    Hands down, the Civic VX. Super high gas mileage, good build quality, a decent shifter, decent handling, ultra reliable, and much quicker than you'd expect for a car rated at 56 mpg on the highway. It had a special 1.5L VTEC-E motor with 92 bhp / 97 ft lbs of torque but weighed just 2100 lbs. The resale values also held up. This thing stomps all over the Metro in every respect, including the actual net cost to drive. It wouldn't surprise me if the same holds true for the MINI Cooper a few years from now, compared to the cheaper alternatives currently available. Time will tell but one thing is certain: the MINI drivers will be having a *lot* more fun! ;)
  • rsunicorsunico Posts: 82
    Hi. Me again. I like the Chili Red. I'm getting the 15" rims -- I want that spare tire and don't want run flat tires ($$$ to replace). I figured I'd run the tires on the 15 to the ground and some point in the future upgrade to 16 and keep the 15 for snows. THANKS TO ALL for the advice! I'm sticking with the non-S mini and no DSC. I'm finding that the salespeople aren't that responsive. The mini dealer by me (Ramsey NJ) called me back once. I spoke to the guy, he promised to call back w/ answers and nada. Second time this has happened w/ that dealer (different rep the other time). Manhattan Mini.. same thing. What do I have to do to get service? Show up with cash?
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    I've heard good things about them, they don't seem to be too busy and even if its a drive, you can always get your car serviced at any dealer. I would check if you actually get a spare tire, its been debated whether all Cooopers (especially with '03 changes) get a spare or not. Mine personally has it, even though I have runflats. If that's the case, you can easily replace the runflats with normal tires and still take advantage of the flat tire monitoring system. DSC also does come with traction control, so you may want the benefit of not spinning tires on ice or snow in the winter. (A situtation few North American owners have dealt with). Otherwise I agree that you should be happy with a Cooper instead of an S, but be sure you test drive both of them. Check with all the NY metro MINI dealers if necessary to find one that's agreeable, an hour or more drive to find one that takes the time to talk to you is still worth it. You will probably not be able to merge onto the highway in a Cooper at 80 without leaving the car in 3rd or 4th. I don't see this as a problem, but if you like to leave the car in gear and still be able to stomp on the gas and pass people, you can easily find the Cooper to be inadequate. If you downshift and aren't afraid to run the rpms up, it'll move along quite fine. Hills are not usually a problem, at least Northeast size hills. (I haven't taken my car farther west than Wisconsin)

    I have the fog lights and love them, people who have ridden in the car with me are jealous of the extra light they provide close to the ground. I especially found them useful in a huge rainstorm driving on the interstate so I could see where I was going at 60mph. They're under $200 if I recall as a separate option, so see if you can look at how they work in the dark sometime, you may regret not having them. (In addition to the blank toggle)
  • footiefootie Posts: 636

    As some have pointed out here, the web site has a special section where dealers are reviewed by state.

    I just checked and found that there are 3 rated in NJ (in Mahwah, Morristown and Princeton). There are 5 reviews for two of them and 7 for the one in Mahwah, I think.

    You have to 'join' the site to access the reviews, but it's free.

    It's an excellent site, Mini only, not much talk about Hondas and Geos. :)

    Good luck
  • rickroverrickrover Posts: 602
    Hmmmm I totally forgot to include the 3 cyl Metro in my hot hatch comparison list when I got my GTI last year - my bad. Let's see it would have been Geo, MINI S, GTI, MB C230k (not necessarily in that order)
  • footiefootie Posts: 636
    Good point. We could get a Swatch mobile over here from Europe for the Mercedes purists too.
  • I got my MINI from them and they were great! Talk to Jon Lelsie.

    And their service dept. is also great. I'm sad to say I had a fender bender with the MINI (it was my fault). Although there was no real cosmetic damage, the wheel sensor (monitors wheel rotation) was damaged and my flat tire light kept coming on. Anyway, I had to bring the MINI three times before it could be located and fixed (I don't blame them for having to look at it 3 times, because the light was intermittent). The important part is; that even though the damage was my fault, they didn't charge me a dime!

    BTW: you might want to check with your insurance about red cars. Some insurance is higher if you have a red car in NJ.
  • eman5eman5 Posts: 110
    Can anyone comment on this? Are bumps in the road bone-shattering? Is the ride noticeably different from that with regular tires?

    Do spare tires come with the run-flats? With any Minis?
  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I hear that MINIs with runflats in the states get spares but those in Canada do not, go figure. On base MINIs there is space for a spare but not on the S model (battery in back and centre exhaust get in the way). Base MINIs with 15" wheels come with non-runflat tires and either a spare and a jack or a 'MINI Mobility Kit' with patches and can of sealant, compressor, etc.

    I've never driven a MINI without runflats so I don't know if it would be better without them. The ride with the sport suspension and runflats is firm but not bone shattering or even filling loosening. If I get non-runflat winter tires I'll let you know what I think by comparison.
  • stryderstryder Posts: 140
    The ride quality is really dependant on the suspension selection of sports or sports plus. (sports plus being standard on the S). People who have put 18" wheels on them seem to notice a firmer ride, but otherwise the deciding factor is the supension, not the tires as far as ride quality. Handling is a whole different set of factors.
  • who has it? What can you tell me?

    I owned a 96 Honda HX CVT, and have spent a little time in the Audi A4 with CVT.

    The Honda was smooth with just a hint of hesitation. I liked that tranny alot.

    The Audi was less smooth (why are we "faking" gears in a gear-less tranny?) and had a noticable pause between gas and go...

    I have been tempted by Mini. The S is so seductive on price to value in my books, but the manual is just not the direction I want to go. The normal Cooper has the CVT tranny option, which is a plus, but I want someone's real-world experiences.

    1 - Is the tranny a press, wait and go job?

    2 - How is the MPG?

    3 - I live in AZ, how is the power with AC running in the heat?

    4 - Do you wish you had bought the manual?

    5 - Stll having fun?

    Thanks all...looking forward to a few real-world takes on the CVT Cooper. I know I can test drive one, but the 5 minutes of seat time may not give me a good idea of what the next 5 years will bring. :)
  • justinjustin Posts: 1,918
    on the base Mini, with the Silk Green color, you can only get the base black leatherette, or the black leather. any comments on the durability of both of those?

    also, i am in the DC area, and there are only 3 dealers, all anywhere from 25-50 miles away. scary though, if the car breaks down. has anyone had any base Mini problems? there was a 2002 model, right? so 03's should have any "bugs" worked out, right?

    do you all find that there are Minis for sale at the dealer, or do you HAVE to order one?

  • hpulley4hpulley4 Posts: 591
    I have the black leatherette and so far after 5.5 months and 8500km of driving, it is holding up very well. I use Armorall wipes to clean it once in a while. My son's car seat doesn't leave any marks (marks stay for a few minutes, then disappear) and cleanup is very good. It looks like it will last a long time. The soft plastic of other interior parts worry me more, actually, as they scratch quite easily.

    The 2002 base MINI 5-speed had a gearbox linkage recall but that has been fixed in June (or was it May?) and later builds. Similarly, newer cars have fixes for other small niggles like a hatch rattle (mine fixed with some tape). I'm sure the '03s will still have the odd issue but they'll likely be more solid than the '02 which is still a very good car. I think MINI roadside assist will tow you to the nearest dealer.

    My local dealer has a ton on the lot waiting to be picked up. Too bad you aren't in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Most are base but they even have an S there (or did recently). Probably depends on the location.
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