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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting ready to place my order (MCS, CR/W, Sport, Prem, Cold, Driving Lamps, UJ, White S-Lites, chrome grille, and LSD), so I need a little reassurance...

I have test driven several MINIs, and I really enjoyed the experience. The ride is not too rough for me as some people have complained. The MCS is a tad weak on takeoff for my tastes, but hopefully, the 05 is better with its revised gearing and improved power. This is mountainous terrain around here, so there is a practical aspect to my preference for lots of low end grunt...

Question is...What are they like to live with on a daily basis? Getting gorceries? Transporting a passenger who uses a cane and occasionally a fold-up walker? Going bowling with a buddy (2 bowling bags with 2 balls each). Clay target shooting with 2 or 3 shotguns in luggage type cases and 2 or 3 cases of shells? Will they negotiate a dirt road well? Will I have to keep the rear seats folded flat all the time and if so, does cargo get strewn all over the car? Occasionally, when I go bowling or shooting, there are 3 people in the car instead of two. Is this possible with a MINI?

I hope I get some good responses. I really enjoyed test driving the MINI's and really want to buy one. If this car is impractical for me, I'm not sure what I'd buy.

The BMW M3 is what I want, but the sticker shock induced by it can cause a coma. A lesser 3 Series might be OK, but when well equipped and powered by a 3.0 liter, the price gets to be a bit much to swallow. A stripped 2.5 doesn't appeal to me.

The Infiniti G35 sedan is OK with a 6 speed, but for that much money it should invoke more feeling than just OK. The dash and console feel mighty cheap to me.

The Lexus IS 300 5 speed is funky looking and I despise the strange gauge cluster. It is also a bit weak, and I don't care for the clear tail lamps. The reliability of the Lexus brand is its best feature.

I'm afraid of the Pontiac GTO. I'm afraid the interior would suddenly get "ratty" at 75K miles like most GM cars I've owned.

The MINI is the only car that appeals to me without DOUBLING the cash outlay.

Most of my concerns have to do with the usefulness of the tiny boot. I have never owned a hatchback before, so I am concerned about its utility. Even though I drive alone most of the time, I like to carry cargo in the trunk, not pile the car to the headliner as I drive around.

Any thoughts?

Rawhyde
 

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I've used my 02 MC as a daily driver for 2 1/2 years. We are a family of four (my wife, myself and children ages 12 and 6). I found the car to be very easy to live with as a daily workhorse.

Some examples:

1. Grocery shopping - I can usually get a week's worth of groceries in the back w/o folding a seat down. For larger shopping trips one seat usually gets folded.
2. The kids get dropped off at school on a regular basis. The road to their school is an unpaved, hard packed dirt/gravel road. The biggest problem driving a road like that is the car gets dirty so I'm always washing it. ;)
3. I have carried friends and golf clubs easily - fold one seat down and you can get three bags in the car and have room for 3 people.

One thing I really like about the Mini hatch design is that you can pull the seat up from the rear of the car pretty easily so you don't have to open the passenger or driver's door to go from folded seats to room for passengers.

Hope this helps with your decision. I'm replacing my MC with an MCSC so it will be a while before I can judge how useful the car is in ragtop form. :D
 

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Mr Buttons!
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If you can afford the M3, go for it. I have a 2002, and I can say that the thing is a beast. Incredible fun! But, the MINI is a ideal for everyday use. I've hauled so much in it, people are astonished that a MINI can carry as much as it can. You can't go wrong with the MINI, but... if the M3's what you really want, I think you should think about it, as it's well worth the price. :cool:
 

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Johnny225 said:
If you can afford the M3, go for it. I have a 2002, and I can say that the thing is a beast. Incredible fun! But, the MINI is a ideal for everyday use. I've hauled so much in it, people are astonished that a MINI can carry as much as it can. You can't go wrong with the MINI, but... if the M3's what you really want, I think you should think about it, as it's well worth the price. :cool:
I don't know about the M3 but I drove my wife's BMW 330 CI again for the first time since I got my MCS a couple of weeks ago and after driving the Mini, the BMW feels like a Buick. Compared to the Mini the steering on the 330 feels slow and overboosted.
 

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Mr Buttons!
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The 330 and the M3 are in completely different leagues. Drive a ///M 3 and see for yourself. The second you tap that accelerator, you'll be in auto nirvana. It's an amazing car that can easily hold its own aganist Porsches and Ferraris. It'll eat the MINI for luch any day. The handling is very different. It handles extremely well, but it isn't as sharp as the MINIs(the ZCS perf. package rectifies that though). Like I said before, if you can shell out the money, go for the M3, if not, the MINI won't let you down either! ;)
 

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MotorCityMadman
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Johnny225 said:
The 330 and the M3 are in completely different leagues. Drive a ///M 3 and see for yourself. The second you tap that accelerator, you'll be in auto nirvana. It's an amazing car that can easily hold its own aganist Porsches and Ferraris. It'll eat the MINI for luch any day. The handling is very different. It handles extremely well, but it isn't as sharp as the MINIs(the ZCS perf. package rectifies that though). Like I said before, if you can shell out the money, go for the M3, if not, the MINI won't let you down either! ;)
That was exactly my point for saying. The MINI has it in the twisties, and just about every other car, so the M3 is NOT the logical choice for all people. You can get a lot of cars that can beat the MINI in the straights, but not the turns. Of course, I am a huge BMW fanboy and the M3 is one of the best automobiles ever created, IMHO. But, still, even with money being no problem, the MINI has its strengths and distinctiveness set so high that it might dissuade someone from buying an M3 instead if the MINI's strengths matched what they were looking for. Or, just get both! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Cooper76 said:
That was exactly my point for saying. The MINI has it in the twisties, and just about every other car, so the M3 is NOT the logical choice for all people. You can get a lot of cars that can beat the MINI in the straights, but not the turns. Of course, I am a huge BMW fanboy and the M3 is one of the best automobiles ever created, IMHO. But, still, even with money being no problem, the MINI has its strengths and distinctiveness set so high that it might dissuade someone from buying an M3 instead if the MINI's strengths matched what they were looking for. Or, just get both! :D
Getting both would be the ideal solution except for the minor detail of the tandem-axle dump truck load of cash that it'd cost.... ;)

Rawhyde
 

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MotorCityMadman
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Rawhyde said:
Getting both would be the ideal solution except for the minor detail of the tandem-axle dump truck load of cash that it'd cost.... ;)

Rawhyde
Well, would you rather have ONE house or TWO cars. Think about it. ONE vs. TWO.....ONE vs. TWO. It's a no-brainer to me!

Rahahaha..... :D :p
 

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OCD MINI Owner
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The MINI is a great daily driver. It hauls everything I've ever tried- from groceries to moving 1000 miles. I rarely fold down the seats to carry what I need. The boot is not huge, but it's easily packed up. One weekend, myself and three friends plus our stuff went skiing and all parties involved were happy on the four hour trip there and then home.

So the MINI is an incredible daily driver. Plus, it's an unbelievable sports car. I can take turns faster than I ever imagined, averaging about 10mph faster than I used to do it in my parent's 325i (which was did them about 20mph faster than "regular" cars). My MINI is a Cooper with no special mods and I know it can do it even faster. The car takes anything I fling at it, making the daily drive a lot of fun. I drove a 330i last summer at a BMW performance drive and it was an excellent drive- very quick and BMW steering is well waited and communicative. It rolled more than the MINI- but it's bigger and didn't have the sports suspension.

In the end, avoid the Japanese- too muted in all respects and no more reliable than a MINI/BMW. The Cooper S is an excellent choice. The M3 is amazing, but any MINI is just as good (although not as quick in a straight line).

MINIs are in a class of there own. One you should enter!
 

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Here's what I've hauled around in my MCS so far:

1. 24 Happy Meals from McDonalds, with drinks--more difficult than you think, careful packing required.

2. Two different daughters to two different colleges. Suitcases, books, hair dryers, clothes 3x5 canvasses for art students, small refrigerators, microwaves, you get the picture.

3. Four kids and a wife with luggage for a two-week tour of seven states (okay, we took TWO Minis).

4. Lawnmower. Several times.

5. Dehumidifier for my basement.

6. 20 foot folding ladder.

7. 15 gallons of paint.

8. Groceries. For six. For two weeks. With two passengers.

9. Three college students travelling around the world, three full size back packs, three day packs. In the rain. On the Washingtion DC beltway. And beyond.

10. Giant Power Tools, e.g., a huge floor sander, a generator, chain saws, etc. (some of these took two people to lift in).

11. Giant Computer System with 24 inch monitor.

Two great points about the Mini and practicality:

1. You probably don't need to carry as much stuff as you think. The MINI enforces this.

2. If you do need to carry a lot of stuff, you should probably put some thought into how you're going to do it and what you need to bring. You can't just chuck it in the back.

So, it's been pretty practical so far.

Also, it's a GREAT commuter car--I'm never late for work.
 

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MotorCityMadman
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justbob said:
Here's what I've hauled around in my MCS so far:

1. 24 Happy Meals from McDonalds, with drinks--more difficult than you think, careful packing required.

2. Two different daughters to two different colleges. Suitcases, books, hair dryers, clothes 3x5 canvasses for art students, small refrigerators, microwaves, you get the picture.

3. Four kids and a wife with luggage for a two-week tour of seven states (okay, we took TWO Minis).

4. Lawnmower. Several times.

5. Dehumidifier for my basement.

6. 20 foot folding ladder.

7. 15 gallons of paint.

8. Groceries. For six. For two weeks. With two passengers.

9. Three college students travelling around the world, three full size back packs, three day packs. In the rain. On the Washingtion DC beltway. And beyond.

10. Giant Power Tools, e.g., a huge floor sander, a generator, chain saws, etc. (some of these took two people to lift in).

11. Giant Computer System with 24 inch monitor.

Two great points about the Mini and practicality:

1. You probably don't need to carry as much stuff as you think. The MINI enforces this.

2. If you do need to carry a lot of stuff, you should probably put some thought into how you're going to do it and what you need to bring. You can't just chuck it in the back.

So, it's been pretty practical so far.

Also, it's a GREAT commuter car--I'm never late for work.

I smell a future MINI commercial starting justbob in the making!!! Hahaha... Just think about it! It would be awesome showing him in 1.5x speed hauling around all that stuff, loading and unloading, back and forth, etc. Would be cool. :cool:
 

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Multi-MINI-Maniacs
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We can't make the same claims as above with regard to the power tools and Happy Meals, but in my MINI I routinely haul my teenager and her friends/boyfriend around. This group includes their school back packs weighing 30 lbs each, their skate bags (medium duffle size) as well as big jackets and blankets needed to sit in the ice rink every day. I usually stop at the store for 2 or three bags of groceries that easily fit on top of the skate bags in the boot. Rarely do I have to put the rear seats down. I'm not sure about the size of golf bags as we don't golf. My dad has no trouble getting in the car and he has limited range of movement in the knees due to knee replacements. His knees don't bend beyond the 45 degree point. My mom's walker (the kind with the flip down seat) fits if I put one seat back down. My MINI is my daily driver and I have no trouble getting in or out. I'm 5'10" tall, my daughter is 5'11", her boyfriend is 6' and my hubby is 6'5" . We all fit! Now that we have a 2nd MINI (hubby's) we like to take both of them. It's kinda like a mini MINI run that way :D The happiness factor must be considered. It is in the immeasurable category for us.

Good luck with your decision.
 

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I find that there's plenty of room for all kinds of activities in the MCS. The largest object I've ever carted was a 7-ft artificial Christmas tree (in box, so it wasn't the full 7 feet tall. Close, though :)) with a passenger in the front seat. It wasn't exactly a comfortable ride for the passenger, but everything fit and I managed to close the hatch, too.
 

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I have to say that the 24 Happy Meals were the toughest problem--not the burgers, fries, chicken nuggets--it was the DRINKS that got me! Imagine 24 cardboard cups with plastic tops filled with Diet Coke sloshing around 1G turns!

Luckily, I was able to stabilize them carefully with coats, newspapers, and random bits 'o stuff. No spills occurred.

Skatemom sounds like she's doing some serious hauling--I'm glad to hear that she and her family have picked up a second MINI--it is like doing your own run when you go out on the town together--I suggest a road trip to Denver or San Diego with the whole family--now we're talking cruise machines.

Interestingly enough, I just drove my father (84 years old today) back home after he spent a week with us. Here he is, drives a Ford Explorer, arthritis in the knees, and I can't get him out of my MINI--he loves it! We chase a Porsche, we follow an armored car, we zip out of the NJ Turnpike toll booths, we pass people on the right by jumping the curb, going down the sidewalk, cutting through a mall and then jumping back onto the main highway onramp, thus saving 30 seconds in traffic.

Then again, I didn't have to deal with World War II, so this might be mundane to him. His favorite car is still the Ford Model A Roadster.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the input and keep them coming!

I think I can now safely say that there's no way I'll be buying an IS 300 or any other Lexus for that matter. Check out this thread... http://www.mini2.com/forum/showpost.php?p=1238542&postcount=13

Lexus kinda ticked me off yesterday. Short version is that the Lexus Attitude is that you should be grateful that they allow you to buy their cars, but only if they spec it out for you. If you're really well liked, they might let you pick your own color.

Looks like I'll most likely be joining the MINI ranks soon...

Rawhyde

PS Please feel free to keep reassuring me that the MINI can tolerate a round trip commute of about 130 miles per day....
 

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Cooper76 said:
I smell a future MINI commercial starting justbob in the making!!! Hahaha... Just think about it! It would be awesome showing him in 1.5x speed hauling around all that stuff, loading and unloading, back and forth, etc. Would be cool. :cool:
I feel more like I'm in a situation comedy than an advert!

But seriously, the MINI is a practical car--you can fit more than you think in it, especially if you have 10-year-old twins around to help you lift the heavy stuff into the hatch!

Then again, maybe that's the situation that leads to the comedy!
 
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