GirlDriver, USA

GirlDriver, USA
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mini Cooper Me

The 2013 Mini Cooper Hardtop in red and black.
It's not a one horse open sleigh but, oh what fun this two-door sedan is to drive.  Little Mini Cooper and I went north last week/weekend clipping along a two lane highway that is in great need of repair so it was quickly apparent that this vehicle is not for soft bottoms.  I don't mind it.  I like a sporty suspension.  If you don't, you'll be looking at bigger cars anyway.
The odometer is the center of the world in the Mini.  Note the toggle switches for all operations except the audio system.
I think what is most appealing about the Mini is the way the instrument panel is packaged with the huge odometer in the center stack and the smaller but still prominent tachometer behind the steering wheel.  All the space taken up by these two dials means less space for the sound system and air-conditioning and heating but Mini has packaged those compactly below the odometer.
The interior look is enhanced by the sharp carbon black, checkered cloth upholstery.  Other than that there isn't that much space in which to put appointments.  But, like, the door handle is cool.  Little things like that.  And none of the touch points felt cheap.
Powered by a dual overhead cam 1.6 liter inline four-cylinder engine coupled with a 6-speed manual transmission, this little two-door was fast off the mark and had plenty of power, uphill or on the flat.  I left several bigger cars in the dust and let's face it, it pays to be small and lighter when you want to go, go, go.  Sport-tuned suspension makes it all the more fun.
Seen from the rear, the Mini is a design darling.
Because I've been down on sunroofs for a while now, I made a point of opening the one on the Mini.  It was open all weekend to the gorgeous weather we experienced in the northeast and the spring air was intoxicating.  But I'd still buy a convertible and if I could not have a convertible for any reason, I wouldn't order a sunroof.  The one on this car is $1,000.  For me, an open sunroof creates too much noise in the vehicle and doesn't provide enough benefit.  That, however, is a matter of personal taste.

I was stumped by the audio system.  I could not get the radio to turn to FM.  Shouldn't turning on a radio be a no brainer?  Yes, it should be a snap to figure out and if it's not I think things are overly complicated.  I even read the manual and still couldn't get it to go to FM.  Then I decided to plug in my (OK, ancient) iPod and the Mini USB wouldn't accept my connector.  Like my USB connector wasn't up-to-date enough to be in a Mini? That's discriminatory.

There's not a lot of space in this cutie.  I can't imagine having to sit in the back seat on a three hour trip for example.  I carry a lot of stuff back and forth. I did put the back seats down and crammed my stuff in the car but if you haul at all, you'll find the space in this Mini very tight.  Other Mini models are bigger.
Base cost for my Mini was $19,700 and with delivery and the extras on my model, it cost $25,600.
Gas mileage is excellent--29 city/37 highway/ 32 combined.


  1. The downside of living in the US is that you are the last one to experience the awesomeness of the newer release car. That’s why there are some that like to import cars.

  2. I've been looking for a Mini Cooper in NC. Do you have any recommendations on places to look for them?

  3. Hi Earl, You can search by your area for used on or Kelley Blue Otherwise find a Mini dealership in your area. There's one in Winston Salem, one in Raleigh and one in Charlotte.

  4. I just got a Mini this past weekend. Same colors as the one above and I love it! It's a fun little ride.

  5. Enjoy your ride, Linda. You have no other options. It's just a fun little car. Congratulations!

  6. Enjoy your ride, Linda. You have no other options. It's just a fun little car. Congratulations!