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Why a Loaded Base Cooper Now Makes Sense - 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited October 2014 in MINI
imageWhy a Loaded Base Cooper Now Makes Sense - 2014 Mini Cooper Hardtop Long-Term Road Test

Our 2014 Mini Cooper combines the base engine with loads of options, a new kind of Mini math that makes sense because the entry-level engine

Read the full story here


Comments

  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021
    Loaded Base is kind of an oxymoron isn't it?
  • vvkvvk Posts: 193
    I love the way Mini is sold. You can buy exactly the configuration you want. Want sport heated cloth seats? Available. Want no sunroof? Available. Want stiffer suspension without electronic dampers or larger wheels? Available. Want rear fog light(s) without the front? Available. Etc., etc. Try that with other cars -- most will make you buy packages. For example, in vast majority of cases heated seats do not come in cloth. Also, many manufacturers limit options and features you can have with manual gearbox. Infuriating!

    I wish I could buy a BMW with cloth sport heated seats, manual gearbox, diesel wagon, 15" wheels, etc. NOT AVAILABLE.
  • I guess it's just me, but I don't get it. Look, I get small cars - I have a 2000 Miata. But that cost me just $8600 5 years ago (fully loaded) and is very reliable and inexpensive to maintain. Its not a $33k small BMW, without the BMW nameplate but with BMW maintenance. That's what we paid for our new Pilot which is easily justifiable as a family hauler. You can pickup a 2010 Mini Cooper with about 50k miles starting at $11k. THAT might make sense as a fun car and/or daily commuter, but you have a large number of options at $33,000.
  • The bottom line is that the options inflated the price of this MINI by over 50%!
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Posts: 580
    edited October 2014
    Depreciation on new cars is bad enough but all the add-ons depreciate even more. Just run a base Mini and a loaded one from a couple years back through any used car price site. Those options don't hold much value at all.
    I get it, I like bells and whistles too but it is like throwing money away. If you have so much that you won't notice an extra $13,000 in cash then that is fine but if you are financing it then it will bury you when in 3 years the new(er) models come out with even more whistles and shiny bells and you want a new one or even a different car if you get tired of the dealer saying "We don't know why that error light came on. Here try a software update"
  • p.s. it actually does not make sense to have the $33k MINI as a long term tester. It would be ok to use it for a road test but the idea of the LT test is to mirror the prospective MINI owner's car.
    You even say you would have stopped at the $25K version. The problem with the $33K version is that it creates an unrealistic car, with unrealistic impressions from the testers. It's easy to be impressed by stuff you would never actually buy.

    Is there anyone that works at Edmunds that would actually buy a $33K 'base' MINI?
  • I was looking at the Edmunds Consumer Reviews (by the way, only page 1 works, the others give you 404 errors) on the various years of Minis and man, they have serious issues! Engine carbon deposits, massive failures, etc all for people with 50k miles or less on them. That's insane.
  • ... It's easy to be impressed by stuff you would never actually buy....

    good point. I originally thought it was a good way to test all the options at once but it does change the overall feel of a car having all that on it. It is like the Ford commercials where they'd put people in the Ford equivalent of their car and the people would say "this Ford is so much better than my Nissan. My Nissan doesn't have leather or a sunroof" umm, its the options that are better in that case, not the car.

  • darexdarex Posts: 187

    p.s. it actually does not make sense to have the $33k MINI as a long term tester. It would be ok to use it for a road test but the idea of the LT test is to mirror the prospective MINI owner's car.
    You even say you would have stopped at the $25K version. The problem with the $33K version is that it creates an unrealistic car, with unrealistic impressions from the testers. It's easy to be impressed by stuff you would never actually buy.

    Is there anyone that works at Edmunds that would actually buy a $33K 'base' MINI?

    p.s. it actually does not make sense to have the $33k MINI as a long term tester. It would be ok to use it for a road test but the idea of the LT test is to mirror the prospective MINI owner's car.
    You even say you would have stopped at the $25K version. The problem with the $33K version is that it creates an unrealistic car, with unrealistic impressions from the testers.

    The majority of actual buyers on northamericanmotoring.com did just that. Most spent $30,000 on theirs, as did I. Listen, you can spend more on a Mazda3 S-GT, and get fewer niceties inside. It's all relative, but name ONE other car company (remotely close to this price-point) that lets you custom-order your car, EXACTLY the way you want it, and without all the things you don't. You can't, because only MINI offers this, and to some of us, especially those of us who insist on manual transmissions, yet also want our cars optioned out above the cheapest, most stripped-down models, only MINI affords us the freedom to choose how we want our cars outfitted. Certainly, Mazda and VW do not. They're all about forced compromises and limitations.
  • patinthecitypatinthecity Posts: 40
    edited October 2014
    I got a $7000 trade for my 2009 CooperS with 95K on the odo, manual trans, 4 extremely bald runflats (no exaggeration) and minimal options (bluetooth, rear fog lights, black paint, mechanical front diff). I spec'd the car to be no more than $25grand. Was it a money loss? What car isn't? But psychologically, a 7-grand trade satisfied me. Especially knowing the mechanical issue lurking underneath and $1200 worth of runflats I refused to replace at that point.

    My salesman said it would just go to auction.

    I located it at a Nissan dealer in another state for $11,000. Point is, German cars have a higher perceived value to Americans no matter how sh*tty they really are. BMW knows this and capitalizes on the stupidity of Americans such as myself.

    I have a GTI now and even though VW's sales are flopping in the states, the GTI itself holds its value and still highly desirable despite it being a fairly average car by sporty car standards.




  • victorminatorvictorminator OttawaPosts: 18
    darex said:


    The majority of actual buyers on northamericanmotoring.com did just that. Most spent $30,000 on theirs, as did I. Listen, you can spend more on a Mazda3 S-GT, and get fewer niceties inside. It's all relative, but name ONE other car company (remotely close to this price-point) that lets you custom-order your car, EXACTLY the way you want it, and without all the things you don't. You can't, because only MINI offers this, and to some of us, especially those of us who insist on manual transmissions, yet also want our cars optioned out above the cheapest, most stripped-down models, only MINI affords us the freedom to choose how we want our cars outfitted. Certainly, Mazda and VW do not. They're all about forced compromises and limitations.

    That's funny, it was down to the Mini and the 3s GT for me, and I picked the 3s GT!
    I completely agree with you that it's about customization, and I was very much interested in the Mini, but a few things ended up preventing me from getting one:
    1 - back in spring the interest rate was 4.9%, Mazda was gonna give me 0.99%. This made the lease way too expensive compared to Mazda, AND the dealers wanted to charge absurd admin fees and extraneous fees outside of the mandatory provincial ones, which was such a put off.
    2 - the rear space was too limited, 2+2 is not going to work with my lifestyle (and yet ironically they later launched a 4 door model this year that isn't the Clubman/Countryman design)
    3 - Wasn't ready to pay for premium gas
    4 - Trunk space, alas.

    If I were better off financially and my lifestyle situation wasn't so limiting, I was seriously giving it thought. And yes I was looking at a 30K+ model. It was priced just slightly above the loaded 3s GT but I was drawn to its color HUD and large center screen and interior customization. I think people here are missing the mark with using arguments about cost and comparing it to similar priced cars (most did the same with the Mazda 3s GT so I'm also criticized). This isn't a cost-based car, this is a niche customization car. Criticizing people who pick a loaded "Base" Cooper shows you missed the point of the market.

    I'm plenty happy with my Mazda 3 GT, it's an amazing driver and very high in interior quality, but I would have loved to give the Mini a chance. Besides, I was going to lease, so reliability issues are the last thing I cared about. It's Mini/BMW's own dime and problem if they can't engineer the car to last during those years.
    Cars like these I would always just lease, why bother with maintenance worries post-warranty?
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Posts: 1,021

    p.s. it actually does not make sense to have the $33k MINI as a long term tester. It would be ok to use it for a road test but the idea of the LT test is to mirror the prospective MINI owner's car.
    You even say you would have stopped at the $25K version. The problem with the $33K version is that it creates an unrealistic car, with unrealistic impressions from the testers. It's easy to be impressed by stuff you would never actually buy.

    Is there anyone that works at Edmunds that would actually buy a $33K 'base' MINI?

    I disagree. Most of the options that Edmunds spec'd on its car don't impact day-to-day driving. So what you read about performance and ride quality are just as valid on a lower spec $25k Mini. Plus you have the bonus of long-term experience with some of the pricier options to see if over time they are worth spending the money on.
  • fordson1fordson1 Posts: 1,512

    Loaded Base is kind of an oxymoron isn't it?

    I think saying that "we went a little nuts" and that "makes sense" is also an oxymoron.

    And saying you bought chrome mirror covers, chrome interior accents to tell readers how those "pan out"...c'mon. They're chrome - that's how they pan out. Same thing with the dark grey headliner - "we can safely say that it's darker than the standard headliner, readers."

    You'll report on the functionality of power-folding mirrors and park assist on a car this size? How much difference will those make to a driver of even marginal ability?

    To me this is an unserious vehicle, but I guess that's the point. Complaining that other manufacturers make you pay for stuff you don't want in order to get the stuff you do want is true, but MINI gives you ONLY what you want...and then they charge you as though you wanted it all. How is that better?
  • nagantnagant Posts: 176
    The Mini's reliability is in the toilet and has been since it was introduced here in the US.
  • "Parallel parking assistance" on a car of this size?! Bwahahaha!
  • stineystiney Posts: 28
    That's funny, it was down to the Mini and the 3s GT for me, and I picked the 3s GT!
    I completely agree with you that it's about customization, and I was very much interested in the Mini, but a few things ended up preventing me from getting one:
    1 - back in spring the interest rate was 4.9%, Mazda was gonna give me 0.99%. This made the lease way too expensive compared to Mazda, AND the dealers wanted to charge absurd admin fees and extraneous fees outside of the mandatory provincial ones, which was such a put off.
    2 - the rear space was too limited, 2+2 is not going to work with my lifestyle (and yet ironically they later launched a 4 door model this year that isn't the Clubman/Countryman design)
    3 - Wasn't ready to pay for premium gas
    4 - Trunk space, alas.

    If I were better off financially and my lifestyle situation wasn't so limiting, I was seriously giving it thought. And yes I was looking at a 30K+ model. It was priced just slightly above the loaded 3s GT but I was drawn to its color HUD and large center screen and interior customization. I think people here are missing the mark with using arguments about cost and comparing it to similar priced cars (most did the same with the Mazda 3s GT so I'm also criticized). This isn't a cost-based car, this is a niche customization car. Criticizing people who pick a loaded "Base" Cooper shows you missed the point of the market.

    I'm plenty happy with my Mazda 3 GT, it's an amazing driver and very high in interior quality, but I would have loved to give the Mini a chance. Besides, I was going to lease, so reliability issues are the last thing I cared about. It's Mini/BMW's own dime and problem if they can't engineer the car to last during those years.
    Cars like these I would always just lease, why bother with maintenance worries post-warranty?

    One thing you must also figure in is the inconvenience of taking the car into the shop. Sure, MINI pays for the repair, but do they give you a loaner (or do you need to rent a car?) Also, in my experience German makers like BMW (i.e. MINI) have a bit of the "blame the customer" approach in these situations. If the service guys can't duplicate an intermittent problem, you will often get "dinged" for a non-warranty service visit.

    Just buy Japanese.
  • victorminatorvictorminator OttawaPosts: 18
    stiney said:


    One thing you must also figure in is the inconvenience of taking the car into the shop. Sure, MINI pays for the repair, but do they give you a loaner (or do you need to rent a car?) Also, in my experience German makers like BMW (i.e. MINI) have a bit of the "blame the customer" approach in these situations. If the service guys can't duplicate an intermittent problem, you will often get "dinged" for a non-warranty service visit.

    Just buy Japanese.

    I understand the convenience issue and can see how that would ruin some experiences. I guess one must do their research with the dealer, find out what kind of after-sales service they offer. Shuttles, food, wi-fi, loaners, etc.
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