Nugget's dad here, taking a break from motoring to report back in after seven days and 700+ miles...
My Mini experience continues to exceed all my expectations and grinning is still a large part of my life. Being lucky enough to have Vermont's Mt Mansfield practically in my backyard, I've motored thru Smugglers' Notch more this week than in the past ten years put together. And the wierd thing is, for the past ten years there have been some wicked hairpin curves on that road, but they all seem to have been straightened out. I reach the top of the notch thinking, "Wasn't there a nasty curve along here somewhere?"
Shifting is getting better as I familiarize myself with the tranny and the power curve. Nugget excels at both sedate chugging along keeping the RPMs below 3k, and scooting along with the RPMs kept above 3.5k but below the breakin limit. 3500RPMs really seems to be the boundary between normal and brisk driving. The car has a surprising amount of passing power (yeah, I might have pushed him to 6k once or twice), and the throw is so precise I've yet to miss a shift. It scoots! I've noticed the clunk into Reverse a time or two, but following other posters' advice I now shift into first or second upon startup, then into reverse. That seems to work just fine.
I have the manual air conditioning and have used it a couple of times when the temp rose into the 70s. Hey, this is Vermont and that's warm for this time of year! The controls are large and easy to figure out, the AC is excellent, and I'm perfectly happy with my decision not to go with Auto AC.
Cruise Control: I very nearly didn't order this and boy am I glad I did! My past experience with CC on manual tranny equipped cars was that it did fine on flat ground, but the car would lug on hills and the CC would disengage abruptly. And Vermont is nothing if not hilly! But yesterday on the Interstate I engaged Cruise at 72mph and gave Nugget free rein. He did just fine, maintaining a steady speed even on the steepest portion between Montpelier and Berlin where my old Outback with an auto tranny would always downshift twice. I also checked out the remote controls on the wheel. The manual says each press of the plus sign would increase the set speed by 1mph, but some posters have reported that feature does not work. It does on mine, just fine, provided I'm on relatively level ground or going downhill. Uphill seems to thwart that feature, but that's reasonable.
Under the bonnet: I love the way it's laid out. Checking fluids is very easy, and seeing the level on the oil dipstick is SO much easier than on my Subaru or Chevy truck! Funny thing is, with 700+ miles on a brand new engine, I can't remember seeing oil that clean ever! It looks like it just came out of the container. The windshield washer fluid reservoir has a pretty small opening, so some spillage is inevitable unless I use a funnel, but its location outside the actual engine compartment makes spillage a non-concern. It just dribbles down the plastic wheel well.
Another thing I learned from an email sent me by MiniUSA about Mini Idiosyncracies was the seat memory feature. It was a nice to know thing, as I had been a little frustrated in the past with having to reset the seat back position every time I put something in the back seat. Now, when I'm done in back, I press back on the top of the seatback like the manual says and it effortlessly returns to the original position.
I've heard from my MA twice in the past week. Dave at Keeler Mini asked about any questions or concerns I might have and was most attentive. I know he's busy, but he listened through my enthusiastic account of the trip home and seemed genuinely caught up in my excitement.
I hear a lot of talk about ditching the run-flats when they wear out. You've all seen the posts about "unbelievable differences." While I'm sure that's all true, I live in a very rural part of the country with roads badly damaged by winter. It practically feels third world at times. Yet the ride with my 16" runflats is entirely tolerable. I'll surely replace them with non-runflats when they wear out, but the ride with them is not so bad that I feel compelled to make the switch before then.
Nice to hear you're pleased....I had my MINI up in Warren (Sugarbush) last summer and had some fun on the roads near there.
Interesting your MA has contacted you twice...I never heard from my MA after I drove off the lot...compare and contrast that to the sales rep for my Honda Odyssey that I bought in '00 who sends me a bday card every year, and when the new Odyssey came out last year sent me a full color brochure inviting me in to test drive.
I'm inclined to give him a ring when we go to replace it next year (my wife's keen on the CRV); in fact until Honda was off the list of cars I was evaluating. And, this dealer is even farther than my MINI dealer, about 2 hrs away. Note that when I bought the Odyssey it was a similar situation, they were turning customers away, I had a 6 month wait list, had to pay full list, no discount, etc.
I believe I read somewhere that Minis come with synthetic oil, if that is true, that would explain it looking so clean. Have you heard if the oil is synthetic?
We are getting the 16" run flats. But on our Mini there is not supposed to be a place for a spare. Does nugget have a spot for a spare? If not, are you just going to gamble on not getting a flat, or what?
Yes, Nugget like all Minis runs synthetic oil, but so did my Subaru and Chevy truck. They never had such clean looking oil!
I got the 16" run flats and not only is there room for a spare, it actually CAME with a spare! I thought the whole runflat thing was to free up the space, but sure enough there's a little spacesaver spare under the boot!
A Cooper will have a spare. A Cooper S will not. On the "S", the supercharger and it's associated things take up too much space in the engine bay, so the battery is moved to the back of the car. But that takes up the space the spare tire needs.
I was going to say "wait until you get to play around 4500RPM", but perhaps this is part of the differences between the 05's and the earlier cars. I've read lots about how the 05's just feel smoother and drive better. My 03 reall comes alive at 4500RPM. The effect was lessened a bit when I switched to the Borla exhaust (by making the lower revs a bit more powerful), but there's still a noticable increase in power at 4500.
But, perhaps the 05 Coopers have moved the torque peak down to make them easier to drive.
Are you coming to MOT after all? At worst, it will be a nice drive over to Loon, then you can give up on the rest of us, drive the Kanc / Bear Notch, then get home in time for dinner.
Probably. We just found a very responsible young lady attending UVM who misses her childhood farm terribly and loves our animals. So we might at last have found a suitable house, dog, cat, sheep, chicken sitter. We've been without a sitter since our last one got married three years ago!
As for where the engine comes alive, it may very well be 4500 but I'm still in the breakin period and those revs are still forbidden territory.
So when are you going to MOT? Friday or Saturday? Has to be Saturday for me, as I can't spare the time from work right now. So for us it would be a long day trip, a chance to meet other Mini People, and a chance to check out mods. Plus, of course, we'd bring the Nikon D1x and get some great digital shots!
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