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Flustered MINI Buyer
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm possibly ordering this weekend or next weekend. But I'm still torn between going for a stick or a CVT.
I love the fun factor of driving stick, but I hate it in downtown traffic. I live downtown so this is daily.
I love having total control of my tranny. Being able to snap out of turns quickly is important to me.
The CVT looks fun. I love the "dual" tranny idea. Being able to have this many options is awesome.

I really have a hard time driving a stick because of a bad knee. I'm capable of it, but alot of times my knee will give out and I end up dumping the clutch. In mid-shift this causes real problems. Can we say clunk, grind, or shudder?

Will I be disapointed if I go with a CVT? I know there is a huge learning curve to it. Heck I've even started to pay more attention to what my throttle foot is doing in my truck. Sure enough, I'm a throttle featherer. It'll take some time to get used to the even pressure and smooth movements.

With some driving adjustments will I be able to at least have a decent take off? I don't like to be beaten at lights by school buses or old people. Also I MUST be able to whip out and pass quickly.

I really want a stick for the sheer fun of it. Practical reasoning is leading me to the CVT.

Or should I do best of both and go for a S with the steptronic? This seems like a good idea but I can't justify the extra $$$ right now.

I've driven both the 5-speed and the CVT. To be honest i like the pep of the 5-Speed a little better. But I also know that I wasn't pushing the CVT for all it's worth.

Another question is, what are the chances of me killing the CVT? I like to drive pretty spirited sometimes. Not abusive really, just zippy. I've read here that the CVT is pretty good about self preservasion. But over time can this transmission die from too much manual shifting or too many 1-D-SD flicks?

I'm also a bit afraid of the CVT being pretty new to the mainstream auto world. Do we know the long-term reliability of these things?

This MINI will be my very first new car, and I've worked hard to be able to afford a new car. I don't want to make a choice I will end up regretting. I just want my MINI to be fun, and have a little attitude.


Help.... :confused:

SMN
 

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Make sure you test drive a CVT, and get them to show you the manual/sport mode. I haven't given mine much of a try yet because I'm still under 1000 miles, but I plan to give it a workout, soon. I think it'll serve your needs.

A stick was not the choice for me because I have a commute of stop and go traffic, and it would have made me nuts. So I feel your pain there.
 

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Range Rover SDV8!
Range Rover SDV8, Triumph Tiger & Triumph Trophy
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Oh dear, I feel for you here; this is a difficult one.

I am going to find it difficult to give unbiased advice because I greatly prefer manuals. It is going to be a livelier drive with better control than a CVT. It will probably be easier to maintain in the long term.

As far as driving in stop start traffic with a manual gearbox is concerned, it shouldn't be too bad as long as the gearchange and clutch are light and easy to use (which they are in a Cooper). A heavy clutch is a real pain in stop start traffic.

I also have to be a little bit bit careful with my knee. I find that as long as my leg isn't too bent then it's never a problem. The driving position in the MINI is brilliant for a small car, with plenty of leg room and this is never a problem for me.

I don't know what the answer is for you, but I would recommend asking for the longest drive in stop start traffic you can get away with and see if you could live with it. If you can then go for it.

Whichever you choose I'm sure you'll love it. I certainly wouldn't be parted from mine!

Tigger.
 

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CVT vs. Stick

My own experience...

A couple friends of mine, who live in Ontario (one of whom owns a MCS), came to visit me in Vancouver. We were heading up to Whistler, my g/f and I in our Mini Cooper (5-spd) and them in their rental Cooper (CVT). Whenever we came to a steep section, even if I downshifted, the CVT had me. It seemed it was able to take better advantage of the power. I didn't get a chance to drive the rental myself, but I was told by the MCS owner that it was alot of fun clicking through the gears.

My 5 spd couldn't keep up. :confused:


Needless to say we had some fun tearing up the Sea-to-Sky hwy in convoy.

If your knee is a concern, go for the CVT.
 

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Ride The Dragon!
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304 Posts
SizeMattersNot said:
...
With some driving adjustments will I be able to at least have a decent take off? I don't like to be beaten at lights by school buses or old people. Also I MUST be able to whip out and pass quickly.
Well, you'll be able to beat out school buses and old folks, but don't expect to whip the 'ricer' next to you. Using the 1-D-SD technique, you will get some decent acceleration, but don't expect head-snapping action.

As for passing quickly, you can do this with a little bit of planning ahead. If you know you want to make a move quickly, go into manual mode, and knock the 'gears' up until your revs are at least 4500. Then make your move and press the pedal to, but not past, the point of resistance. This allows you to move quickly.

SizeMattersNot said:
Or should I do best of both and go for a S with the steptronic? This seems like a good idea but I can't justify the extra $$$ right now.

I've driven both the 5-speed and the CVT. To be honest i like the pep of the 5-Speed a little better. But I also know that I wasn't pushing the CVT for all it's worth.

Another question is, what are the chances of me killing the CVT? I like to drive pretty spirited sometimes. Not abusive really, just zippy. I've read here that the CVT is pretty good about self preservasion. But over time can this transmission die from too much manual shifting or too many 1-D-SD flicks?

I'm also a bit afraid of the CVT being pretty new to the mainstream auto world. Do we know the long-term reliability of these things?
No one has driven the auto S yet, so no one can really comment on that beast yet.

The CVT can definitely handle a good bit of abuse. My last car was a CVT in England and I put 35,000 miles on that in a year and a half. The car now has over 100,000 miles and reportedly is doing fine. My current MINI CVT has over 21,000 miles in 7 months. I absolutely drive 'spiritedly'! It's been up and down the Dragon and related roads, plus about a half dozen local runs. And typically, I'm in manual mode, and keeping the revs to a minimum of 4000. It has given me zero problems.

And while the CVT is new to the MINI, it has been around for a good couple of years, even if it never really got any mainstream attention. My English car (Nissan Micra, BTW) was a '93. I understand them to be a reliable transmission.

Good luck with your decision!

-Paul!
 

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MINI2 Newbie
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176 Posts
I absolutely love my CVT MINI. It's no stoplight to stoplight racer, but performs well enough. I have noticed that when loaded down with people or weight, it does perform much much much better than any other small engined regular automatic car. By a long shot. Going up hills is first rate and could not be better as it just keeps pulling and it does this without the drama of other small engined cars having to downshift to a lower gear and creating a stressfull surge of power. Whereas the CVT is smooth and undramatic, just the way you want to get up a hill.

When I first got my CVT, I drove in the normal D mode, which was ok -- hey, it's a MINI so it's better than ok. Then, after 3k miles, I started driving in steptronic (manual mode) occassionally by shifting up and down just like a standard transmission, and it was really great. The off the line acceleration was not any better than in D mode, but the joy of driving was back big time. Lately I have been driving in the sport mode, which is just as awesome as the steptronic, but is faster off the line, so that is really cool. Sport mode just has more power, but is still an automatic mode. For freeway cruising, you can put it in D mode for the lowest RPMs. So, you have a lot of flexibility with the CVT.

Something you may not realize or appreciate until you drive it for awhile is it's extreme engine braking, which is just as awesome as going fast. The car slows down better than any other car I've ever driven, just by taking your foot off the gas, which is great for stop and go traffic as you only need to hang back just a little and may not have to hit the brake at all but still keeping up with the slow bumper to bumper traffic. That is the most amazing thing of all to me, as I live in a large city with a lot of slow traffic at times.

I recommend the CVT highly. For all the above reasons, I prefer this CVT to the auto MCS (although it's not out yet and no one knows how it will perform). I also have bad knees and cannot drive a stick for too long at one time, so I can empathize with your situation. I would prefer to drive a stick, but don't want to put myself in the postion of having to always drive one. With the CVT you can have the fun of shifting without the pain. One more thing -- the CVT in steptronic manual mode can be a quick shift, just like a sequential manual transmission, which adds immensely to the driving pleasure. It is not always a quick shift, but when it is it is marvelous, as you can accelerate immediately and feel it pull. To me, it seems to shift quick between 3k to 4k RPMs. When I shift at lower RPMs than that it is not as crisp for some reason. The CVT is definitely a great drive. :cool: Good luck in your decision. Whatever you choose, you will still be in a MINI. :D
 

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Fershluginer Potrezibie
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329 Posts
I wouldn't trade my CVT for anything, after 52,000 + miles of commutes from hell, spririted drives, and loooonnnnggg trips up the West Coast. It has plenty of reliability, gets reasonable to very good gas mileage, and I love driving it every day. As an added bonus, the 'D' setting on the freeway is like an overdrive, and the revs are lower at those speeds than a 5-speed manual, so the engine is stressed less. I use the manual shifting for quick acceleration - I came up with the 1-D-SD flick to get a little quickness off the line in our stoplight-to-stoplight world I find myself in so often, but mostly I use the 'SD' mode for about town. In the twisties, I don't lag behind, trust me - the CVT manual shift option means you can concetrate on braking and without any extra motions. An MCS would certainly give more power, I love the point & squirt of mine, but the CVT is my regular driver by choice. Get the CVT and enjoy the ride.

BCNU,
Rob in ****
 

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#0024
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502 Posts
I love my CVT even tho i havent driven manual. the clutching and constant braking in metro seems to me somewhat frastrating and i had very similar experience with the guys that has already posted. IT'S FUN to be in a CVT

i find the CVT amazing. With all the convinence of the auto and quick responsive manual action, makes the car very very fun to drive.
 

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Vanwall said:
I wouldn't trade my CVT for anything, after 52,000 + miles of commutes from hell, spririted drives, and loooonnnnggg trips up the West Coast. It has plenty of reliability, gets reasonable to very good gas mileage, and I love driving it every day. As an added bonus, the 'D' setting on the freeway is like an overdrive, and the revs are lower at those speeds than a 5-speed manual, so the engine is stressed less. I

BCNU,
Rob in ****
If your CVT revs lower than the 5 speed manual then why is the MPG lower for the CVT than the manual ?

SizeMattersNot.....Do yourself a favour and get yourself a manual you will be a lot happier.I have just got rid of my wifes 6 week old Cooper CVT because of the gearbox.
 

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Mr ONE said:
If your CVT revs lower than the 5 speed manual then why is the MPG lower for the CVT than the manual ?
Er, 'cos the CVT gearbox is inefficient, like all auto's. Also you'll find that with a manual you have the control over at what revs you chose to change gear; 2,500 - 6,500, the choice is yours. With the CVT the gear change point is chosen for you, and it's probably higher than you'd find choose on a manual box, thus using more fuel.

Basically, if you're pootling around town and are not bothered about getting the most out of your investment, get an auto, if you like to drive, then get a manual and learn how to use it (a manual gearbox) properly.

NB: There's a back-lash starting in the UK about CVT and flappy-paddle gearboxes. We don't want 'em, they're crap. Let the driver decide when and how to change the gears.
 

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Where is this stuff coming from, even in the CVT Forum, and why?

There is simply no reason to resort to attacks, name calling, and rudeness. I've identifed no one in this note but there is expected conduct on the Forums, conduct that can and will be enforced.

Let's focus on the questions, the answers,... and the fun of driving our MINIs.
 

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MotorCityMadman
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Well, I must be getting used to my CVT, because today I just went a whole ten minutes of city driving, at all speeds, with NO jerking of the transmission. The jerk after reverse, no. Jerk at about 25mph, nope. Jerk when accelerating at 10mph, gone. The feeling is much like your body knowing when a traditional auto is going to shift. You can feel that shift coming right before it actually shifts. Well, I think I am doing the same thing, except this time around, I am feeling right when the potential for the jerkiness will kick in and either accelerate harder, even out on the revs, or let off, depending on the situation, to completely avoid any jerks.

When I get lazy though, I catch myself with a few of them though, so it hasn't become all inbrained yet. Still have to think about it somewhat. Hoepfully, it will become more second nature soon.
 
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