More First Impressions

A few more things:

  • The rear visibility certainly is poor but not nearly as bad as I expected. I have had to adjust my driving style a little to accommodate not being able to see over my shoulder but I have always been attentive to the traffic around me so it hasn’t been a big issue. Parallel parking on the other hand is more of a challenge as I just can’t tell how close I am to the car behind me.
  • The windows seem to go down faster than before
  • The fuel guage acts differently. Before, I would get about 100 miles at the first mark, 160 at the second mark, 300 miles near empty. Now I get 140 at the first mark, 220 at the second mark, and 320 near empty.
  • Fuel consumption is bad, best I’ve done so far after three fillups is 23.5 mpg and that was with almost all highway driving. My ’02 typically got 26mpg without trying. I hope this will get better as the engine breaks-in.
  • Radio reception is poor, craps out often even in San Diego. Don’t know if this is a fault or just common with the model. My XM Direct hasn’t arrived yet so am using the iPod for the time being which works great through the aux input.
  • Haven’t been able to get the Universal Remote to work with my garage door opener yet, need to work that out as I hate fiddling with the regular remote

Parcel Shelf Difficulties

I know my DIY skills are somewhat close to zero, but the parcel shelf install is supposed to be really easy and I did do the window-up circuit without any problems….

It didn’t help that it was 110F in the shade (118 in town) but I could not get the threaded inserts to stay in place when it came to screw the shelf into them. Each time the insert would slip down a fraction and be too low for the screw to go into. I even taped them in place but that didn’t work either. So, for now, the shelf is installed and stable but its not screwed into place.

[Update:] Did some research on the web and I appear to be in the majority to suffer this problem. Looks like superglue and patience are the answer.

And maybe it doesn’t matter, I still have the window circuit to do and probably have to remove that anyway.

2005 MCS Convertible First Impressions

I may write a full report on the differences between the 02 and 05 MCS’ or I may not. So in the meantime here’s a quick list of things that I’ve noticed every time I drive so far.

  • I’m not a motoring journalist or otherwise I’d come up with some better word, but the gearbox is, well, tight. First gear is so much sharper, quicker off the mark and with none of that low-rev stumbling. The overall driving feel is a lot better.
  • The top is a marvel of engineering. I don’t know if I will ever stop going ooh and aah every time it opens and closes. Three days in and no signs of the ‘infamous’ wear spots yet.
  • I usually put my wallet in the door pocket but I can barely get my hand in there on the ’05. I am guessing this is because of the roll cage but its utility is limited if I can’t get things out of there real easy.
  • I miss the location of the clock. I hadn’t realised how often I want to see both the clock and my current trip miles.
  • There seems to be less leg room in the back. I don’t care as I don’t sit there but that’s how it looks to me.
  • The leatherette is really nice, I think I prefer it to real leather. I will be covering it with the Wet Okoles but if you don’t live in super hot temps I think its a great choice.
  • The three spoke steering wheel looks better than I had expected.
  • The new OBC is great: more statistics to look at and, most impressively, it seems to be accurate this time. So far no predictions of 38 mpg and 600 mile ranges.

Well, thats it for now. Overall the car drives and feels so much better than the ’02, and it looks great. Count me as one happy new MINI owner.

MINI Scavenger Hunt Day 1 – Find a Diner!

There’s a new competition at the Owner’s Lounge – a trip to MINI United being up for grabs. Each day MINIUSA will give you a photo assignment, you upload your picture and someobody gets to win. Today’s assignment, for day one, is to Find a diner that looks like it’s been around for a while. Park your MINI curbside and tell it to say “cheeseburger and milkshake.”. Check out the competition at the Scavenger Hunt website.

At the Dealer!

Got home this evening to a call from the Sales Manager at South Bay MINI, my new MINI has arrived and is being “prepped for the aux input install and PDI”. That’s great news but I told them back in July not to install the aux input as I don’t want to pay their costs, and I want to put the socket under the console rather than in the glove box. I’ve tried calling her and a couple of the MAs but no one picked up. Going to be very annoying if they’ve done it already.

I’m also slightly concerned about the wheels and tyres. The Owners Lounge does not list my choice of wheels – I went for the 16″ non-run flats – so now I am wondering what my new baby is going to be riding on. I suppose I can live with 17″ run flats if I have to, but isn’t the whole point of this wait is to get the exact car you want?

A MINI Owner No More

Well, Sarah is off on her journey to a new city, tomorrow she will be calling San Francisco her new home. Her new owner was already beaming as he drove her away; another convert to MINI. Not sure if he will make up there without some tickets, though.

We had some good times, I’m going to miss her… Vegas, twisties in Julian…. hey, whose playing The Way We Were?

At the VDC!

Good news today, the Owners Lounge says my vehicle is at the Distribution Centre! Estimated delivery date (to the dealer, I think) is 8/20/2005 so I think I should be on for picking it up on the 27th!

In the meantime I need a name for the car. Usually I pick ex-girlfriends or girls that I wished had been ex-girlfriends but I am informed by those who claim to know that a topless car should have a stripper name. Now, being an innocent abroad I don’t know any stripper names – anyone care to suggest any?


My new MINI is still at the port waiting to be processed, my MA says she hopes it won’t be more than two weeks but there are still several thousand cars to be processed; mine could be #1 or #5000. Anyone know how many cars a day they can usually process? Oh, my car isn’t even at the VDC yet, this is some post-arrival delay before it gets there.

Looks like I have Sarah sold, deal should go down Thursday or Friday if all works out. It will be sad to see her go but sometime you have to let them go.

Frustrating Times

We all know that the wait for the new vehicle can be frustrating but MINI does try to Make Waiting Fun (tm?) by sending out emails, brochures etc to fill the void. But in the last three weeks I’ve been unable to get my dealer to return an email or a phone call with questions about accessories, delivery dates, trade-in values etc, simple questions really that I didn’t expect to have to fight for answers. From changes to their web page, it looks like they have had a bit of a reorganisation but when you’re spending $30k you kinda expect not to be ignored when you ask the basic questions.

I almost see why its worth paying the markup – perhaps the $3k goes towards customer service?? If it wasn’t for the fact that I think I am almost at the end of the wait (but without anyone returning my calls who knows!) I think I’d cancel and buy a Miata.

[Update] Corresponded with my MA – she says that since July 21 the VDC has received 6900 cars and is struggling to clear the backlog. Bottom line, my car is there waiting to be released but we don’t know when they will get to it. She hopes to tell me tomorrow what to expect. I say clear the MINIs, let the BMWs sit there an extra day or three.