Topics at Rolling Doughnut have been serious lately, so I want to shake it up just a bit and do a little fun, personal blogging.
Since it first re-appeared in 2002, I’ve been obsessed with the MINI Cooper. (Do the pictures below give away the outcome of my story?) I almost bought one in ’02 when I was looking for a new car. I wasn’t quite ready to jump in at the time, which turns out to be good since early models had a high risk of problems. I didn’t account for that when I decided against the MINI. The six-week wait for delivery decided it, since I needed a car I could drive off the lot immediately.
In 2007, the cars had improved significantly in build quality. And the six-week wait didn’t matter.
I began looking at car options in early 2006, but never felt compelled to make the leap until I came back to considering the MINI. The ’06 models were nice, but MINI intended to release an updated Cooper for the 2007 model year, the first model developed under BMW leadership. The looming changes convinced me to wait. Okay, being slightly indecisive, it convinced me to wait and wait and wait. And wait. Ask Danielle. In September, I finally placed my order for a Laser Blue 2007 MINI Cooper S. Behold:
I love small cars, but the ability to custom order (almost) the exact car I wanted is the MINI’s biggest selling point. Aside from my dream color – the orange-ish maroon Nightfire Red, which explains its appeal – being an exclusive color¹ to the base Cooper, I picked everything and only what I wanted. I made one minor mistake in not adding Xenon headlights, but that was my mistake, not MINI’s imposition of “any color you want as long as it’s black”. Looking at any other car, I had the choice of Package 1 or… Package 1. (I discount Package 2, even though most car makers splurge and offer that much choice, because Package 2 in every instance includes leather seats. I’m not interested.) I looked at an Altima, since my brother likes his, but if I wanted to add heated seats, it added $7,000 to the car because it upgraded everything to the premium selections. Why? Don’t list that option separately if it is impossible to purchase that option separately. MINI gets this right.
Since I took delivery two weeks ago, I haven’t stopped smiling every time I drive my MINI. I enjoyed my Volkswagens, but I remember how much fun it is to drive a small car. The MINI is the best small car I’ve driven. It’s quick and corners well. It doesn’t have much cargo space, as we learned when we bought a vacuum cleaner, but it makes driving fun again. That’s what I want.
¹ Laser Blue is an exclusive color to the turbo Cooper S. I bought the turbo-powered S for the better throttle response, not the extra horsepower. If the throttle of the Cooper was quicker, the slower 0-60 time would’ve been fine. I’m not racing so I don’t care.