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Help plz...any regrets/suggestions..?

1611 Views 24 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  waveovrwave
Very close to ordering a Mini. (not S, at this point)
Ned to test drive some more...along w/other cars like the Beetle.

Since you got your Mini, any can't-miss -items you 've thought to yourself,
"I'm so glad I included that as an extra!!"?
What about items you later decided you could have just done without? (after ordering them)

Not having driven a S...can't 'til there are autormatics at the dealership...still might switch to an S but would prefer to get by w/a regular, if I can. Not sure of the best tires yet, btw, with either car. Run flats...maybe.

Have to decide all of this my car is dust. :-(

Another quickie question...anyone here take a Mini in a color that wasn't their favorite...or configuration...just to get one quicker? Would I be a fool to do this? (vs. waiting 4 months to get my exact favorite?)

Due to having to borrow a car from my elderly mom's....would prefer to get a Mini sooner...and there's a small chance that a demo car might come up...but not in my exact favorite configuration, of course. Just wondering if anyone here has done that & then, later decided that was a big mistake.

So far, my favorite colors are the Purple Haze w/White Roof...
Electric Blue (which unfortunately is only available in S's still here)
altho' I'm okay too w/other British Racing Green.

Would appreciate any & all advice.
I know I'd like a chrome interior...not sure yet about the Chrono Pack.
Think I want the HK stereo....even tho' it didn't sound as nice as I'd hoped.
However, adding a stereo later could be a pain, I heard?

Probably a white roof/mirrors altho' the chrome mirrors are also calling.

Drove a demo one & it was Purple Haze w/purple roof & mirrors. Not bad, either.
Also had a moon roof...something I NEVER thought I'd need/want...but which also has a bit of appeal. (would only get if a demo came up w/it, I think, however...or some unclaimed car) Right now, someone wanted this demo, but I'd be #2 for it, in a few weeks, as they'll be replacing it.

Opinions on the sun roof most welcome, too!
Too many rattles?
Thanks so much. Sorry but am a bit overwhelmed right now knowing I need to order asap, since I'm w/out a car! Happy New Year everyone!!! :)
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Must have options in my Personal Opinion are:

16/17 inch wheels
Darkened Glass (dependant on colour chosen)
Sports Seat
Sunroof (if your in a warm country) I think only the early builds rattled? The 2 I have had have been ok.
Sat Nav
Heated Mirrors And Washers
Harmon Kardon if you want the discreet look and to save space rather than adding Subs etc

Black eyed Purple looks nice with Whit roof.
if you get a White contrasting roof Bonnet stripes are a must also!
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Bit more

Re: the needing to test drive more...
just feel I should look at a few other cars, too, altho' the Mini is the clear favorite thus far...mostly on aesthetics & what I've learned re: it via this Board.

One last you really have to use Premium gas w/both Coopers?
Okay to get by w/regular?
Gas mileage is a bit better w/the standard Cooper...another plus for us, as
we already own a Prius so value that in a car. (altho' neither Cooper knocks you over on its fuel efficiency) So, that's still one more reason why I lean towards a regular Cooper.

I've read so many great things about the "S" ...but if needing to get it in an automatic...
would that negate much of the fun of this car? Change it entirely?
Just curious. :)

Appreciate your patience w/a newbie to this whole scene.
I've really enjoyed reading your threads & learning as much as I can via them!
You guys have made this whole search quite entertaining...less stressful.
In fact, I feel like I'm *already* addicted to this Forum! ;-)
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You wont have any problems putting Premium unleaded in, it's just personal preference which you prefer.
Also If you are thinking of getting an Automatic you will have just as much fun in a Cooper as if you were to get a S, in my personal opinion that is :)
Good luck with the choice! :p
Only thing I'd like extra in our MINI is a MFSW :)

oh yes, and a better stereo system but we couldn't afford it at the time
I took a gamble when I ordered my new Cooper. Having never seen a Cooper in Pepper White in the flesh (or is that in the metal), I went ahead anyway and ordered the car in PW/B. My old Cooper was CB/W, and for me this was always the ultimate combination. When the new car arrived, it looked stunning and I have not looked back. I drive past the dealership almost everyday, and my old car in in the showroom all snug and beautifully clean - damn I loved that car!

Advice... get all the brochures, spend time at you chosen dealership and get all the information you want. Then sit down and decide what you want and what your preferences are. Remember, it's your car! What might be the ideal combination for you, might not necessarily be that of someone else. Just my 2¢'s worth...
The cars can run on regular gas, the engine just retards timing (lowering performance) to accomidate, and prevent damage. As the price difference is about $.20/gallon and you'll likely go 15,000 miles/year, you're looking at $200 extra in fuel costs. Pretty irrelevant on a $20,000 car, especially when it decreases performance.

Many people feel that an automatic takes some of the fun out of the car. The CVT on the MC is not a normal automatic, and if you check some of the info in the CVT forum, you'll find out it has a few nice benefits. As the S automatic is a normal automatic, and has just become available, its difficult to say how well it will perform, but of course MINI's advertisements for it seem to make it sound like the best thing ever.

If not knowing how to drive a manual is part of the concern for picking an automatic, there's plenty of people who have bought MINIs and learned to drive a standard on them. Of course if there's other issues, like a bad leg or insane traffic, that's a big benefit of the auto.

it may make sense to look at your option packages to choose between the two, an MC with the sport package and a few options starts to become near the same price as a base MCS which has 16" wheels and the stiffer suspension included.

Finally, the only option people ever really, really wish the had bought is the multi-function steering wheel. Every other option some people think isn't worth it, and others think it is. some of course don't think the MFSW is worth it, but they're usually a small minority. Beyond that, its personal taste and preference - do you want a simple basic car, or would you prefer some options, its really up to you. In the US (where I assume you are) many people get sport, premium and cold weather packages, but maybe your budget doesn't allow that, its individual taste really.

Color is dependant on personal preference, its common to give up color to get a car faster, which is usually easy because most people like most of the colors. I'm not sure someone who was planning on a silver car would suddenly want a yellow one though, that's a personal taste issue.

If you get HK adding a stereo aftermarket is a pain, because you need to remove the entire HK system, or interface with the amplifier for it, neither is easy. If you don't get HK, its easy (if you have someone who knows what they're doing with a MINI) to remove the stock stereo, and upgrade anything you want - essentially, decide if you think the HK is good enough, if its not, don't get it and go aftermarket entirely.

Unlike a Prius, you'll get good milage on either car on the highway. Its reasonable to get in the mid 30s on a long drive on an MC, or in the low 30s in an MCS. sure its not prius level, but its way better then most other cars with the exception of the VW diesels.

Stay away from Demo Cars! Everyone drives them like they stole them, and rightfully so. You test it because its not your own car, you do what you'd never do with your own. Its a bad idea, and not worth saving the wait time. Call around to other dealerships, and see if they have something new in stock, or coming in on the boat. Get a brand new car, treat it nicely, and it will reward you. You just can't do that with a Demo because for the first 2,000 miles, 100 people drove it and thrashed it.

The Chrono pack is a nice idea, implemented not very well. It doesn't seem to look right, and seems to mostly be an excuse to get the speedometer in front of the steering wheel, without spending $1700 for the navigation system. If this is your main car, you'll get used to the center speedo in a few weeks, and its a unique part of the MINI - no real reason to get the chrono pack. Save your money for options you want, like the chrome :)
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Thanks for your advice

Glad to hear few regrets for you all. (a most wonderful way to be)
And, I am growing excited!!

Does it look much worse to add Bonnet stripes later...after I've had time to live w/the car a bit? Opinions? Not sure if the quality of stripe is the same?

The ultimate color mentioned here in this thread....CB?
I'm slow today. I was thinking Chile Red was meant...then, started wondering if that was a black, but am not sure. Just asking for clarification.
However, it sounds like you turned that color in & now are enjoying the White one too?
It does look nice when I try building those colors on the Mini website.

Still have to decide if going w/a White roof Purple one whether to do white mirrors or chrome ones. (or even if going w/BRG)
Now, if it were an S...there would be the chrome gas cap which I like.

Since the regular Cooper doesn't have that...not sure if a little chrome on the sides (via the mirrors) would be nice to have? Or, whether it's better to be consistent & continue on w/the white mirrors since having a white roof? Ah...decisions, decisions! :)

Ooo....lastly, forgot the sunroof...
does anybody have one that found it too hot in the car having one? Sunburns?
An issue out here in California! ;-) I've already had skin cancer & am only in my mid-30'sso, the thought does cross one's mind, when it's as sunny as out here.

Like I mentioned...never thought to have one, but after having seen one at night even
while visiting a dealership....began to wonder. Seemed kinda cool.

However, it might alter the lines of the car a bit too much...taking away the "retro"ness of it, I suppose? If having a sunroof...wonder if that's only smart w/a black roof or body color roof vs. a white one, where it would really pop out in appearance?
Sorry for all the questions. I'd like to have an order in later this week.
And, am 'sweating' the details perhaps.

Xenon you think it seems less retro in appearance w/them, too?
If not, I know they can be helpful on dark roads.
Many thanks!
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excuse my ignorance but what's a MFSW?
Probably going to be royally embarrassed here, but I'm game for asking. ;-)
MFSW = Multi Function Steering Wheel. It has buttons to control the stereo and cruise control
I don't know of anyone who has been sunburned from the sunroof, its tinted black, so I think it'd be difficult to get burned with it closed. If its open, well, personal preference, if you're burn prone, you might only use it at night, but its great on a warm night. It does affect the lines, because its perfectly smooth unless its open, and unless you look from the top, you can't tell its black. They do make white decals to go over it, to make it white and really disapear. Looks wise, its fine, and I wouldn't worry.

Dealers can easily add the bonnet stripes later. It might cost a shade more, but its not a big deal, and depending on how you order them, they can be added at the dealer anyway, and not the factory.

CB is cool blue, which is a convertible color. I think its a typo and he meant to say CR, Chili Red.

I lose track of how packages go, but at least on my MCS, if you get the exterior chrome pack, you got chrome mirrors, so that decided it for me, and then there's the chrome on the bumpers too to even things up. I had white mirrors on my old MC, and they looked nice, but collected tons of bugs. The chrome ones are a bit better, the bugs don't show as much I guess. Its personal preference on the amount of chrome, but I agree, you should either get chrome bumpers + mirrors, or at least the chrome from an MCS and mirrors. Otherwise they do look a bit out of place, but there is chrome around the windows, so its up to you, maybe you don't think its so out of place.

The new Xenons aren't exactly retro, but they do improve night driving somewhat. I guess it depends if you live on a dark road, its not like most parts of CA get especially dark, and the Xenons are low beams anyway, so if its really, really dark, you'd use high beams. I like mine, but they come with the sport pack on an MCS, so most people have them that way, on an MC, not really sure if they're worth $550 as a standalone option, look at them at night and see if you think differently from me.
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Take a look in my gallery for BRG Cooper ( thats the camera icon bottom left of this message)..I didn't bother with a sunroof as I have air con, remember that £600 odd can be used to spec up elsewhere, I had an after market cd player put in which I think sounds better than the HK set up, and have recently added 17" S Spokes with runflats from the standard 15" 8 Spoke and also driving lights, spolier and checkered mirror caps.....the one thing I wished Id spec was heated front seats, our other car has them and there FAB!...Im glad I had the Vis Pack as the heated front windscreen in a god send and I love the auto wipers.....If I did it all again I would still have the Coop over an mum has an S and although its fast I can't justify the extra cost of insurance and lower milage per gallon, she has the sunroof and loves it....:)
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When I was looking at cars this time last year I didn't evan give the Mini a thought to be honest, I looked at the Golf and Beetle, and in dispair I remember saying to Mr Tracie " What other small car is there??" and he said and I quote lol " I suppose there's always the new Mini" up we went to the BMW dealer and as soon as I saw them in the showroom window apparantely I said " I HAVE to have one of those!"...and legged in into the showroom lol :D..the rest is history as they say!....I have had my Coop 10 months now and I love him to bits, its the best car I have ever had or driven and you will spoil your rotten when you get yours just like the rest of us! do sound confused!

I would say just don't rush into any old mini just to get one sooner as you sound as if you need a car ASAP!

It's all down to personal choice, we can all tell you about our faves etc but you are the one who will be driving the car so make sure you get what you really really want. That way you won't be disappointed!

Good luck :D
I think you'll enjoy any MINI you get--I've driven a half dozen different ones and they were all a blast--and all strikingly individual, too. Buying a new MINI is a real opportunity to get exactly what you want, so it's worth taking advantage of the process.

All of the replies you've gotten are excellent advice--these people know what they're talking about, and care that you get the MINI that's right for you. It's a great community. So, I'll only add (or second) two pieces of advice:

1. If you are physically able to learn how to drive a manual, then do so. It does add a measure of control and fun to driving a MINI.

2. If you do a lot of highway driving--I'm talking 70 mph or more for sustained periods of time--DO think about getting an MC S--the power and gearing make it a great interstate/freeway cruiser. The MC tends to crank up higher revs at high highway speeds.

Good luck! California is the perfect place for a MINI Cooper--have you seen "The Italian Job"?
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Wow! :) Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

So appreciate all the wonderful advice & feedback.
Incredible & encouraging, too!

I can tell that it's sage advice & will take it all to heart.
And, I know & agree ...
I must also ponder a bit more...the needs/wants, etc.

One question raised by one of the posts...
re: white decals being available for the sunroof....
is, are they totally opaque ? ...
so then, the only use for the sunroof is when it's open?
Hubby keeps telling me the *main* purpose of these is for air/cooling vs.
viewing which is what I keep thinkin'! ;-)
So...since we would have A/C...I suppose it's not really needed.

And, since it's been raining like the Dickens here for a week...
as soon as it's more dry...I"ll try to get myself back to Mini & see
just how the Cooper's sunscreen operates.

Wonder if it rolls back completely & lays then on top of the non-opening section of the sunroof...the back part? Have been twice to test drive...once just my hubby since I spaced my Driver's License. It was almost dark then & no real chance to study this feature.

Then, today...again it was POURING...and quite, a return visit clearly is in order.
Not a crazy idea so I can better examine things, in general.
However, I was thrilled to discover that driving the Cooper lived up to my hopes. didn't yesterday when HE drove. But, today, when I finally got to....

I know the colors have been a bit different overseas...or at least, called differently.
Is the purple new for 2005? Was Indie Blue the same? (looks like it in photos here)
Just curious as I'd like a color which is perhaps a little less common ...not if I don't like it, of course...but purple has always been a fave of mine. Would prefer not to get something too ubiquitous.

Unfortunately, I don't know anyone who knows Minis well, so having a friend install an aftermarket stereo would be a challenge, I guess. I do think I'd prefer a bit more to the stereo than HK offers...but....I guess the warranty for any electrical goes out the window, if anything is messed up by the stereo installation. (a salesperson seemed to indicate that anyway) So, perhaps I'm going to have to settle for the HK. Don't mean to sound judgmental but I've always held music in the highest, this feature more than perhaps others would what I value quite a bit.

Again, I so appreciate your patience & wisdom!
Again, Happy New Year! :-D
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The decal isn't opaque, you can see through it, much like the advertisements they put on city buses if you've ever seen that. I like the sunroof for air as well, not just cooling. I use the A/C when its really hot out, but from about 60 to 80 degrees F, I like the sunroof if I'm just driving along. It gets kinda loud at high speed, so I don't use it then.

The sunroof does slide on top of the fixed part. If you search the galleries for sunroof, you should find lots of examples, but you seem to understand it well anyway.

The entire warranty isn't really void, its just if the guy who installed the stereo breaks something, which causes something else to go screwey, MINI isn't going to fix it for free. Of course since the electrical system is all linked, its a bit difficult to keep things straight. - Some dealers install aftermarket stereos, so maybe yours does. It can be expensive though, even if they (the dealer, not MINI) will warantee it. I'd give the H/K another chance there's a lot of options and modes to check out, and check out the California forums to see if anyone knows a good installer for the other route.

Indi blue was replaced by PH in 2005, and is new, but PH is more purple in sunlight, in reality, Hyper Blue, which is also a 2005 color is more similar to Indi, but its a bit lighter, its kinda like it split into PH and HB for 2005.
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Thanks for the info, Stryder!

Appreciate your help.
Will have to think about the sunroof some more.
I do wonder if it doesn't alter the retro look...and to cover it w/a decal...altho'
an interesting option...means taking away the main viewing while it's shut.

Also, I saw a poster complaining of wind noise (even w/everything shut) in his Mini S that has a sunroof. Curious if others here w/sunroof option on regular Coopers also have that problem.

Will chew on this all a bit more. Will probably just go w/the HK stereo after reading still more on this forum.
Again, thanks for your great help!! :)
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You see through the decal. Its perforated. Its just not as see through as the roof without it. I really don't know what you mean by the retro look. The stance of the car, wheels at the corners, round headlights and the overall side profile make the look for me. As nothing stands out when you have the sunroof except if its open, I don't see how that alters the look.

If there's wind noise with the sunroof shut, something is wrong. MINIs aren't the quietest cars on the road at high speed, but there shouldn't be sunroof noise if its closed. MC and MCS have the same roof, there's no difference between owners. If you're coming from an expensive luxury car, you may find the MINI is rather loud, its just one of those 'issues' that some people get irritated about, but not much can be done until they do some subtle redesiging.
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Hi. Sorry in advance for the lengthy post, but I just recently got my car and here are some of my thoughts...

I just got my Mini Cooper only a couple of weeks ago - Dec. 16, 2004. I'm leasing, couldn't afford to buy just yet.
I'd been craving a Mini since August and then in December my '93 Nissan Altima had to go to the mechanic for the third time in as many months. So, I went to the nearest Mini dealer and did a test drive and then went back two days later expecting either to order or to get a price and then check out a different dealership. I ended up leasing a car they had in inventory. That was a big surprise. I'd called all three local dealers and there were very few CVT Mini Coopers on anyone's lot.

I'm in the minority in that I never wanted a lot of extras, mostly because I needed to keep costs down. Before I did the test drive I'd configured a zillion Minis on the web site and thought my "must haves" were: CVT, Sunroof, Heated Seats, On-Board Computer, Liquid Yellow or Chili Red body color, Black roof.
After the test drive and talking about the different features and re-thinking, I crossed On-Board computer off my list. The only added feature of it that I really wanted it for was to tell me how far I could go on the gas in the tank, but I'd been doing fine without that so the added expense would be wasteful. I also downgraded my desire for heated seats. I've never even tried them before and Long Island, NY doesn't get so frigid that I'd really be suffering without them.
As for colors, after a visit to the showroom I added Pepper White to the list. Put it at the top, actually. The internet does not do this color justice. It is so beautiful and classy looking. Without knowing it, I'd seen one on the road in the Fall and loved it. I tried looking for it on the Mini web site and thought it wasn't there. On the web site it looks stark white. In person it's a lot creamier. My cousin has a VW Bug in a similar color - they call their color "Harvest Moon" and I think that's a much more apt description. My cousin's nickname for her car is "Buttah" because it looks so creamy and buttery. (I know you are also considering a VW. I'm sorry but I don't know anything about it.)

So, after test drive my "must haves" were:
CVT, Sunroof (even though I didn't test a car w/sunroof), PW or LY or CR body color, Black roof. And heated seats were a maybe.
(CVT was necessary b/c I don't know how to drive a manual. When I considered learning for this car, lots of other Long Islanders who are former Manual Transmission drivers said that Long Island traffic conditions really don't make it worth it. )

It turned out they had a CVT Pepper White/Black roof on the lot and it had no extras. When I told them it looked like I'd have to order anyway b/c I insisted on a sunroof, they told me they could install it themselves. I had to stop and think about that.
This dealer installed sunroof DOES interfere with the lines of the car whereas the factory installed one is flat to the roof. If you click on my gallery and look at the photo you'll see that this sunroof is clearly different from the factory one. Without seeing it and only hearing a description of it, I went on faith and decided to go for it anyway. I'm lucky that I have no regrets about it. The fact that you can see it on top of the roof doesn't bother me at all. I LOVE the look of my car, including the sunroof.
I never saw how the factory installed one worked, but from what I've read this one doesn't have the abililty to tilt like the factory one does. I don't care, though. What I wanted the sunroof most for was for light.
Since I've only had the car for a couple of December weeks in New York State, I have nothing to say so far about heat. I've read a bunch of posts, though, from people in California, Arizona, etc. who've said that heat from the sunroof is not a problem.
Like I said, I wanted my sunroof mostly for the light. I've never had a sunroof before and am not sure how I'll use it when the weather warms up. So far, in this winter weather I've been driving with the roof closed but most of the time with the shade open. It's great. And on clear, starry nights at stoplights, etc., beautiful!
Re: the amount of noise that it adds while closed - I have nothing to compare it to except the regular road noise from my other car. The noise from this sunroof is livable and easily ignored. With it open the noise is significant, but I think you'd adjust to that, too.

The only real regret I have is that I didn't get the Auxiliary Audio Input. Listening to my MP3 player w/one of the FM transmitters really doesn't cut it. I made an appointment and will have the AUX Input installed on Jan. 15. Luckily my dealer is only 10 minutes from where I work. I anticipate using my MP3 player a lot and that's why I didn't go for the Multi Function Steering wheel. Except I guess for volume, it wouldn't control the MP3 player. Also, I don't have much need for cruise control and won't miss that feature. I had it on my other car and rarely used it. If money hadn't been a factor, the MFSW might have been nice, but it was not high on my list.

Anyway, I am not knowledgable at all about cars and these comments are about all I can say about this car so far. Reading around in this forum and other Mini forums, though, is proving very educational so far. When I get a good block of time I plan to read all about the CVT and Steptronic mode so I can really try them out properly. On my test drive the Motoring Advisor flipped the stick sideways while I was driving. I had no idea what that meant, but the grin that popped onto my face when I felt the change was really something else. Maybe a Manual Transmission lies in my future!

Good Luck!!

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