December 30, 2004

Excellent Requests

So far my topic request has yielded four excellent suggestions, and I'll try to tackle them one at a time. I'll start with the MINI Cooper.

I've had it since March, and everything has gone very well. I haven't had to take it in for service and I've had no problems. The only real issue is that the windows on the doors are frameless. They go down about half an inch when the door is opened to clear the roofline. This way, they can be frameless, but still make a good seal. While I was in Ohio, it snowed and there was ice on the window preventing it from going down. It opened ok, but when I closed the door, the glass crashed into the pillar, cracking a plastic covering. The car is definitely drivable, so we've decided to wait until the 10,000 mile service to get it dealth with. If the dealer was down the street, I'd get it done now, but when it's 100 miles away, we have to plan our visits more carefully.

There are a lot of cars a person can buy. I don't know how many models are available, but I'm sure it's more than a hundred. This makes the choice difficult, but I felt like I knew what I wanted when I bought a car. I liked the good gas milage, the sporty performance, and the small size. It's also pretty cool. We already had a good sized car in the Saab if we ever needed to carry something bigger than a few bags of groceries. Another point of consideration was that the price difference between the MINI that I wanted and the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, or Ford Focus was very slim. The base of each of these cars was less expensive, but the base didn't have things like air conditioning, power windows and locks, and antilock brakes. After learning this (as well as having a couple of bad Toyota dealer experiences) the decision was pretty easy once we picked out the color and features we wanted.

The goal of the car was to recapture the spirit of the original while tossing in BMW's creature comforts and precision engineering while keeping the price lower than BMW's more traditional offerings. I think they've accomplished this with the base MINI, which we've got. The S version is supercharged and built more for performance and meant to evoke the model's racing heritage. The convertible is priced the way convertibles tend to be priced. Overall, it's a car that can be bought by youngsters like Janet and I, or it can be jazzed up for the dentist set.

If I had it to do over, I would definitely buy the car again. It's been a good car, and it's definitely fun to drive. If anyone is in the market for a new car, and you don't need a ton of cargo or passenger space, I would definitely recommend it. The only drawback is that it requires premium fuel, but it still costs less to fuel than any truck, SUV, or car with a larger engine.

Well, that's the report after the first 8500 miles or so. Here's hoping it lasts way more and the next car replace is the Saab.

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