Better World Club

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

There’s Nothing Mickey Mouse* About the MINI

The MINI Cooper is sporty and it has style. In fact, it’s probably the only compact car that large truck and SUV enthusiasts won’t make fun of. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), MINI also has the lowest gas mileage of the high-mileage compacts. Still, the mileage isn’t bad, and if the MINI’s sporty looks can get an Escalade driver to convert to a compact car, then all the better. MINI is even testing an all-electric version of the Cooper (see “It’s Electric!” below for more details).

Long story short: overall, we like the MINI Cooper.

*Our former editor took an informal The MINI Cooper is sporty and it has style. In fact, it’s probably the only compact car that large truck and SUV enthusiasts won’t make fun of. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), MINI also has the lowest gas mileage of the high-mileage compacts. Still, the mileage isn’t bad, and if the MINI’s sporty looks can get an Escalade driver to convert to a compact car, then all the better. MINI is even testing an all-electric version of the Cooper (see “It’s Electric!” below for more details).

Things People Like About The MINI (May not apply to all model years):

- Great handling
- Very zippy
- Grabs passerby-attention

Things People Don’t Like About The MINI (May not apply to all model years):

- Most users recommend skipping the “Basic” model and getting the “S” model
- Sometimes a rough ride, and some have developed rattles over time
- Music controls are poorly designed

MSRP:

$18,550 - $34,300

Fuel Economy Stats:

Estimated EPA MPG: 28 (city), 37 (hwy), 32 (combined)
Cost to Drive 25 Miles: $2.20
Fuel to Drive 25 Miles: 0.78 gal
Cost of a Fill-up: $33.50
Miles on a Tank: 380 miles
Tank Size: 13.2 gal
Annual Fuel Cost*: $1324
Annual Petroleum Consumption (1 barrel=42 gallons): 10.7 barrels/year

[*Based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15000 annual miles and a fuel price of $2.82 per gallon.]

It’s Electric! :

Mini unveiled an all-electric version of its two-door Cooper hatch -- the “MINI E” -- at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show. BMW is using its Mini brand to test the waters with its electric powertrain technology, but the vehicle was also developed in order to meet new California regulations that require carmakers to offer zero emission vehicles.
The Mini factory located in Oxford, England supplies vehicle gliders (cars without powertrains) to a team located in Munich, Germany, which then adds the electric running gear.

9,500 people signed up to lease the MINI E, which will cost about $850/month. In June 2009, Mini started a program to lease 500 2008 Model Year units in the United States. 250 units are leased in the Los Angeles area and 250 in the New York/New Jersey area.

Presumably, if the test goes well, we’ll see more electric MINIs in the future.

Warranty:

Basic: 50,000 miles / 48 months
Powertrain: 50,000 miles / 48 months
Rust: Unlimited miles / 144 months
Tires: Covered by tire manufacturer.
Maintenance: 36,000 miles / 36 months

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Frontal Crash, Side Crash, And Rollover Tests:

NHTSA rates crash-tested vehicles by assigning them one to five stars. A five-star rating indicates the most injury protection, while one star indicates the least protection.

Driver Front: 4 Stars
Passenger Front: 4 Stars
Front Side: 5 Stars
Rear Side: 4 Stars
Rollover: 5 Stars

Recalls:

MINI had two recalls in 2009. The first involved replacing 16-inch diameter front brake discs with 17-inch diameter front brake discs. The second replaced 15-inch wheels with 16-inch wheels. (And who says, “Size doesn’t matter”?) The recalls were limited, only affecting 572 vehicles.

Standard Features:

- Programmable Power Door Locks Operated Via Internal Switch and Remote
- Selective Locking/Unlocking Via Remote Keyless Entry
- Vehicle Anti-Theft Via Engine Immobilizer
- Locking Fuel Filler Door
- Power Liftgate Lock/Unlock
- Radio Anti-Theft
- Corner Brake Control
- Front Power 280-mm X 22-mm Ventilated Disc and Rear Power 259-mm X 10-mm Solid Disc Brakes
- 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
- Electronic Brake Force Distribution
- Brake Assistance
- Vehicle Stability Control System Operated Via Engine Power Reduction and ABS Traction Control Measures Steering Wheel Angle/Direction, Yaw Rate, Wheel Speed and Lateral Acceleration
- Traction Control
- Hill Start Control
- 55-Amp Hour Battery
- Front Power Outlet Integrated With Cigarette Lighter
- Drive-By-Wire Control For Throttle
- Cargo Area Power Outlet
- Cigarette Lighter With Ashtray
- Audio and Security Prewiring
- 150-Amp Alternator
- Free Scheduled Maintenance For 36 Months or 36,000 Miles
- 1.6-Liter, I4, 16-Valve, DOHC, MPFI Engine; Front Mounted With Horsepower Of 118@6000, Torque Of 114@4250, Alloy Block and Alloy Cylinder Head
- AM/FM Radio With Speed Sensitive Volume and 6 Speakers Total; CD Player
- Auxiliary Audio Input Jack
- Diversity Radio Antenna
- Radio Data System
- Perimeter Lighting Located On Headlights
- Automatic Headlights With Automatic Off
- Halogen Headlights
- Front Air Dam
- Front and Rear Body Color Bumpers
- Chrome Located On Exhaust Pipe
- Chrome Grill
- Manual Air Conditioning
- Interior Air Filter
- Service Interval Indicator
- Tire Pressure Monitor
- Exterior Temperature Gauge
- Trip Computer With Average Speed, Average Fuel Consumption, Miles To Empty, Instantaneous Fuel Consumption and Trip Odometer
- Tachometer
- Steering Wheel Mounted Controls For Audio
- Digital Clock
- Engine Start/Stop Button
- Audible Warnings Include Seatbelt Unfastened
- Illuminated Entry Includes Footwell
- Front Dual Map Lights
- Trunk Light
- Leather Steering Wheel
- Fine White Silver Interior Trim
- Carpet Located In Passenger Cabin and Cargo Area
- Multi-Function Remote Operates Door Lock/Unlock, Illuminated Entry, Fuel Door and Tailgate
- Keyless Entry Operated Via Key Fob
- Remote Tailgate Release Located On Multi-Function Remote
- Front and Rear Crumple Zones
- Driver Airbag With Dual Threshold, Dual Stage Deployment
- Front Seatbelt Height Adjusters
- Emergency Fuel Shut-Off Device
- Front Pretensioners With Force Limiters
- Passenger Airbag With Dual Threshold, Dual Stage Deployment
- Side Head Curtain Airbags
- Crash Sensor Unlocks Doors, Turns On Interior Lights and Turns On Flashers
- Side Guard Door Beams
- Front and Rear 3-Point Seatbelts
- Passenger Airbag Cutoff Sensor Activated By Seatbelt Engagement and Passenger Weight
- Seat Mounted Front Side Airbags
- Automatic Locking Retractors
- Front Dual Bucket Seats With Adjustable Seat Height, Manual Memory and Adjustable Headrests
- Leatherette Seats
- Rear 50/50 Split Folding Bench Seat With Adjustable Headrests
- Easy-Entry Seat
- Power Speed Sensing Rack and Pinion Variable Assisted Steering
- Tilt Steering Column
- Telescopic Steering Column
- 2 Front and 1 Rear Cupholder, 3 Cupholders Total
- Glovebox
- Front Dual Door Mounted Storage
- Temperature Controlled Storage Cools Glovebox
- Front Dual Seatback Storage Pockets
- Cargo Area Cover
- Front Open Lower Console Storage
- Independent Multi-Link Rear Suspension With Springs, Shock Absorbers and Performance Ride Type
- Independent MacPherson Strut Front Suspension With Springs, Shock Absorbers and Performance Ride Type
- Front and Rear Stabilizer Bars
- Getrag(R) 6-Speed Manual Transmission With Overdrive
- SBRP175/65R15 84H All-Season Tires
- Compact Spare Tire
- Alloy Wheels, 15-In. X 5.5-In.
- Underbody Tire Carrier
- Tinted Glass
- Rear Window Defroster
- Front Dual Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
- Vehicle Speed Sensitive Intermittent Windshield Wipers
- Front Dual Sunvisors
- Rear Window Automatic Wiper/Washer
- Dual Body Color Power Adjustable Folding Exterior Rearview Mirrors
- Power Windows With One-Touch Up and One-Touch Down

Technical Specs:

Standard Engine: 1.6L I4
Standard Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
Cylinders: 4
Horsepower @RPM: 118@6000
EPA Class: Mini-Compact
Number of Valves: 16
Fuel Type System: Gas Engine / Multi-Port Fuel Injected
Turbo: No
Overdrive Transmission: Yes
Compression: 11.0:1
Displacement: 1598 / 98
Bore X Stroke: 3.03x3.38
Cruising Range: 422.4 miles
Power to Weight Ratio: 21.8
Valves Configuration: Dual Overhead Cam / Twin Overhead Cam
Cargo Volume: 6 cubic feet
Fuel Capacity: 13.2
Brakes: Disc
Driveline: Front Wheel Drive
Steering: Rack & Pinion
Steering Diameter: 35.1
Suspension: Independent
Tire Type: Passenger
Tire Width: 175 mm
Tire Aspect Ratio: 65
Tire Construction: Radial
Seating: 4
Tow Capacity: 1433
Headroom (Front): 38.8
Headroom (Row 2): 37.6
Hiproom (Front): 38.0
Hiproom (Row 2): 39.0
Legroom (Front): 41.4
Legroom (Row 2): 29.9
Shoulder Room (Front): 50.3
Shoulder Room (Row 2): 44.7
Curb Weight MT: 2568
Curb Weight AT: 2646
Ground Clearance: 4.5
Height: 55.4
Length: 145.6
Track (Front): 57.4
Track (Rear): 57.8
Weight Distribution (Front): 61
Weight Distribution (Rear): 39
Wheelbase: 97.1
Width: 66.3
Doors: 2

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