Topics: energy, happiness, technology, transportation
In a perfect world, we could simply think of a place and we would automatically be whisked away to our destination. But since we live in such a perfectly inadequate world, not only do we need to work to get ourselves from one place to another, but we need to bring along two tons of metal for the ride! And on top of that, we’re expected to pay money to buy that big piece of metal and pay even more to feed that piece of metal with an overly-priced fuel.
When I write it like that, driving a car sounds about as disgusting as eating the gunk in your belly button. Once you add in the wasted time and money with the aggravation of being stuck in traffic, you’d think “car” and “enjoyable” would have no place in the same sentence… unless “a sack full of money” were also in that sentence.
What if I told you that there’s a fun, safe, affordable vehicle just waiting for you to drive it? You might say, “I have $83 in my wallet, so it better not cost more than that” or “How much are you getting paid to tell me this?” Well, my friend, you’ll probably need a bit more than $83 to buy this car, and the only payment I’m receiving is the happiness experienced by people like you whose boring, painful commutes are transformed into a commute right out of a fairy tale!
That car, in case you somehow missed the title at the top of this article that you’re undoubtedly reading now if you didn’t in the first place, is the faaabulous MINI Cooper. Yes, the adorable but practical go-kart from The Italian Job has made a comeback of epic proportions in recent years. With virtually no advertising campaign, more than 100,000 MINIs are flying out of the manufacturing plant in Oxford, UK annually, and the wait to purchase one can sometimes last half a year or more.
So what is in its tiny package that makes the MINI Cooper so irresistable? Here’s the not-so-hidden truth straight from a MINI owner–me!
The Top Ten Reasons Why A MINI Cooper Should Be Sitting In Your Driveway
- The Quality. When you drive a MINI, you’re driving the culmination of almost 50 years of quality British Motor Corporation craftsmanship. The new MINI is built by a subsidiary of BMW, so it’s often referred to as a “poor-man’s BMW.” From its flashy but top-notch paint to its award-winning Tritec engine, the MINI isn’t just another cheaply made wannabe.
- The Price. While there’s nothing cheap about the quality of the MINI, you wouldn’t know it from the price tag. At around $17,000 MSRP for the base model, you can pick one up for less than a standard-equipped Toyota Camry.
- The Resale Value. Combine that high quality, high demand, and low price and you’ve got a vehicle that has no trouble holding its value. While other cars usually lose half their residual value after three years, the MINI Cooper’s typically drops less than 10% over the same period. So if you’re worried that buying a new car is a foolish use of your hard-earned dollars, but you’re still looking for the reliability and status only a new car can provide, then look no further than the MINI.
- The Fuel Economy. If you think the MINI’s 28-city and 36-highway MPG is impressive, then you’ll be blown away by plans to bump that up another 10% for the 2007 model. And here’s hoping that the rumors of a hybrid or all-electric MINI on the horizon are true.
- The Features. The MINI comes standard with delicious features like 15-inch wheels, leatherette or cloth upholstery, tilt steering wheel, A/C, CD player with six-speaker stereo, and power everything. Also standard is a great ride; sexy steering and handling are a cornerstone of the MINI Cooper. For a few thousand more, you’ll have access to a slew of amazing options like a cold weather package, sports suspension, navigation systems, power sunroof, moonroof, and the most important feature of all–stripes on your hood (which MINI owners call the “bonnet”). There’s even a convertible version of the MINI!
- The Safety. One other piece of standard equipment is really six pieces: a half-dozen front and side airbags that will almost make an accident feel like a run-in with a cloud. Despite its small size, the MINI Cooper consistently earns a four-star crash test rating. From personal experience, I can tell you that this vehicle can take a beating, too. When an SUV rear-ended me a couple years back, my MINI just laughed the incident off while the other driver’s front end needed some major TLC.
- The Community. Being a MINI owner is an experience all of its own. Few other cars garner as much enthusiasm from their drivers as the MINI, and it’s evident from what happens when two MINIs drive by each other on the road. Whether it’s the proper British thumbs-up greeting or a more American hand-wave, rarely do MINIs cross paths without their drivers acknowledging one another. If that’s not enough, MINI owners frequently participate in meet-ups all over the world. With such strong pride of ownership, it’s no wonder the classic Mini was ranked as the second most influential car of the 20th century (the #1 spot went to the Ford Model T).
- The Warranty and Maintenance Plan. MINI Coopers come with a 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty along with a 12-year, unlimited-mile rust and corrosion warranty. Maintenance is also covered for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles.
- The Space. As small as the MINI looks from the outside, they’re surprisingly roomy on the inside. I’m 6 feet, 4 inches tall and have no trouble fitting in the driver’s seat. As for storage and cargo space, the rear seats fold down so you can fit a generous amount of stuff.
- The Future. MINI has been tossing around a bunch of future concepts lately, so you can probably expect to see new versions in the next couple of years that will provide more seating capacity (like this MINI Traveller concept), four doors, and even better fuel economy. While the future of MINIs looks especially exciting, there’s no reason to wait to pick up one of your own.
Without fear of contradiction, I can honestly say that the world would be a better place if everyone drove a MINI Cooper. At the very least, you can make your world better if you trade in your Japanese monstrosity for a bit of British awesomeness.