Been driving the MINI Cooper S Convertible for the last few days, and while it is not what you would call ideal weather for driving with the top down, I’ve really enjoyed this little car.
This one is blue with white strips on the hood and is fitted with high-performance tires on nice alloy wheels. When my daughter saw it for the first time, her reaction was "awsome." It does look pretty good.
With just two people inside, its actually pretty roomy. Roof is high, and the leather seats are quite comfortable and supportive. With my daughter in the rear seat and my wife in front of her, both were a bit cramped – but it was livable for short trips.
I did get to drive a few times with the top down when the sun came out and the temp moved a bit north of 40. MINI has built a sunroof into the convertible top – when you push the button the first time, the front 12 inches or so of the roof slide back. This can be done with the car in motion, just like a regular sunroof. Push the button again and the top folds neatly behind the rear seats. One button can raise or lower all windows at once.
Unlike the Miata I drove recently, the MINI gets pretty windy inside, even at slower speeds. Of course, it could be that it was just cold outside so it was more noticeable.
Aside from the wind, the MINI is a blast to drive. Wheels are literally at the corners, and it handles like a go cart. This was the ‘S’ version, so it had the supercharged 168 horsepower engine. Its not super fast, but it does get up and go. I really like the whine of the supercharger. The automatic transmission worked pretty well, but I’d prefer the manual.
Biggest problem with this car is the rear visibility when the top is up. There is a huge blindspot in the right rear – you could hide a Suburban in there. The rear window is tiny, and blocked by the rear head rests/roll bars. Very scary backing out into the street.
Fully loaded, this car ends up around $33,000. It may be small, but its still alot of car for the money.