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Hello, I am 23 and from Illinois (USA). Around the May-June timeframe I am most likely going to buy something new.

I had an 02 Focus ZX3 that I bought new and my girlfriend totalled with 60k miles. It was a good care though fairly basic. I autocrossed it and daily drove it and it held up fine.

I have been looking around for something under 25k. I'd likely make a large down payment which would take the bite out of the monthly payments. I'd rather be under 20k but that limits my choices and I want to get something I will keep for a _long_ time.

So far I have driven the Scion tC and it is nice but not for me. I have looked at the 05 Focus ZX3 SES (loaded) and with discounts it would come in around 14k. Not bad.

I have also read much about the new Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky which will base around 20k when they come out. I have also been up and close and personal with the new 05 Mustang V6 and GT. I wouldn't mind having a V6.

But the MINI blew me away. The Cooper bases around 16k which isn't bad at all and the S around 20-21k including transport. It is so incredibly detailed inside and out, which is much different than any of the cars I listed above. There are so many details to look at and touch, it's great.

There were some positives and negatives, mostly compared to the Focus:

MINI Positives:
Great handling and power, stock.
Great detail work
Great recognition. Very rare around here.
From what I can tell very fun to drive.
GREAT depreciation. From what I can tell, about $1k per year (as opposed to my Focus which lost half its value in 2 years)
Great quality
Good price, especially the base car

MINI Negatives:
Closest dealer is 2+ hours away (Chicago, St Louis, or Indianapolis). The local BMW dealer doesn't sell MINI's but may work on them.
Options. I priced one out online. An S ended up being around 23k. That is alot to swallow for me. Then again... I did load in everything I'd want (optional wheels, LSD, etc)
Insurance. I imagine it is quite expensive to repair so insurance is high.
Interior room. About the same size exterior wise to the Focus but much, much less room. I occassionally haul 4 people.
Looks like some aftermarket parts are quite expensive.

Any feedback? Also considered buying a base Cooper but it seems like the S just has so much for the $$ over the Cooper that it might be worth buying. If I got another Focus I would probably spend 4-5 grand modifying it over time so the price really is wash.
 

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My advice: GET MOTORING!
There's plenty of room if you're willing to compromise just alittle bit up front to make the folks in the rear comfortable.
Repairs are expensive, but the warranty's good and the car's basically very dependable, so you won't have to have alot done outside the warranty period.
MINI's the best automotive bargain for less than $25K I can think of...
 

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What's this button do?
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Forcus said:
MINI Positives:
Great handling and power, stock.
Great detail work
Great recognition. Very rare around here.
From what I can tell very fun to drive.
GREAT depreciation. From what I can tell, about $1k per year (as opposed to my Focus which lost half its value in 2 years)
Great quality
Good price, especially the base car

MINI Negatives:
Closest dealer is 2+ hours away (Chicago, St Louis, or Indianapolis). The local BMW dealer doesn't sell MINI's but may work on them.
Options. I priced one out online. An S ended up being around 23k. That is alot to swallow for me. Then again... I did load in everything I'd want (optional wheels, LSD, etc)
Insurance. I imagine it is quite expensive to repair so insurance is high.
Interior room. About the same size exterior wise to the Focus but much, much less room. I occassionally haul 4 people.
Looks like some aftermarket parts are quite expensive.
If you're going for the Mustang, get the V8. The six just "isn't right" :)

We have a standard MINI, which I thought would not be fast enough, but it's fine for the way I drive (I don't drag anyone), and the savings were worth it for us (we also have a 68 Firebird 400 in the driveway for go-fast moments).

The service intervals on the MINI are crazy-long. 10k for the first service, 12k each subsequent one, so dealer distance only becomes an issue if something happens in the interim.

Options can kill you. That's another reason we got the std Cooper. With options it was about $1k more than a stripped S. The S would have been $24k like we wanted. The base car is pretty well equipped, but we wanted things that ended up being in packages...
And you won't find any huge discounts like you will on another Focus.

Insurance on the standard Cooper is $200 more/year than our 9 year-old VW Golf. All those airbags and the alarm help (we also turned on the DRLs).

Interior room is scarce. I'm 6' and have to scoot the seat up a good bit to fit someone behind me. Getting in and out of the back is not a pleasant experience, but the seats are comfy once you're there. The car also has no middle belt, so three passengers is the limit (you can't fit three in the narrow back seat anyway, unless they're, like, six).

Aftermarket parts are pretty high, but the ones for the S make a big difference, so the bang/buck ratio isn't bad. Performance parts for the standard Cooper are another matter. You can't do much to the motor without spending a fortune, and the gains are not large. You are essentially looking at a BMW, so everything costs more. Think of all the money you'll save on gas, though :)

When we went shopping we looked at probably the same sorts of cars that you seem to be looking at, though with a slant toward more practicality (no Mustang for us). I'd also recommend the Mazda3. You'll have 4 doors (or a wagon), but we liked it far better than the Focus (though obviously not as much as the MINI). The Mustang will have a rotten back seat, just like the MINI. The Solstice/Sky won't have any back seat, so it's only two people there. Remember, too, that they will carry all the baggage that any other cheap GM product is stuck with.

Good luck with your decision,
-Eric
 

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MotorCityMadman
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If you like to drive, and I assume so seeing you've autocrossed your Focus, then the MINI is the only viable option. Hahahaha. OK, I am biased. But the MINI is definitely the top option if you love to drive for driving sake.

Of the other vehicles you listed for comparision against the MINI, there is none. The MINI wins hands down against any Big Three product.

Make the trip. Test drive. Sign on the dotted line.

:D
 

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Range Rover SDV8!
Range Rover SDV8, Triumph Tiger & Triumph Trophy
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An interesting choice.

Don't make the assumption that you have to go for the "S". Both the S and the standard Cooper are both great driver's cars. The standard Cooper isn't just the poor relation of the S, it's a great car in its own right.

If you go for the Cooper, specced up to what you want, you will save a lot of cash on purchase and fuel and still have a great car to drive.

Have fun deciding.

Tigger.
 

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Back to the Fold
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Tigger said:
An interesting choice.

Don't make the assumption that you have to go for the "S". Both the S and the standard Cooper are both great driver's cars. The standard Cooper isn't just the poor relation of the S, it's a great car in its own right.

If you go for the Cooper, specced up to what you want, you will save a lot of cash on purchase and fuel and still have a great car to drive.

Have fun deciding.

Tigger.
ahhhhh but that supercharger whine is addictive ;) ;)
 

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Range Rover SDV8!
Range Rover SDV8, Triumph Tiger & Triumph Trophy
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wylie_eyed said:
ahhhhh but that supercharger whine is addictive ;) ;)
Hello, Wylie!

The supercharger whine might well be addictive, but I was just thinking better a standard Cooper than a tricked up Focus :rolleyes:

Tigger
 
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