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jayz February 25th, 2012 06:08 PM

Mini, anyone have experience with one?
My daughter is about to turn 16 so I am looking at good starter cars. She would love a D90 ST but she lives with her mom 160 miles away so I wouldn't be able to work on it for her when needed. Does anyone have input on these things, long term reliability or safety? I am doing some research but would like to hear from someone that has some first hand experience.

Thanks, Jason

evilfij February 25th, 2012 06:45 PM

Neat car to drive. The base is not very fast (good thing). Between the mini and the golf/Jetta/sportwagen, I much prefer the vw as the mini is, well, mini, and I can't imagine it is very safe in a wreck.

I would look for an 06 jetta tdi.

What is the budget? Mini's seem to really hold their value (then again so do tdi VWs).

DMSLongLake February 25th, 2012 07:56 PM

I had an 04 Cooper S and loved it... Really fast and zippy. the supercharger whine made me smile. The only negative experience I had was the headlight ballast was REALLY skip the xenon unless under warranty

Rocky February 25th, 2012 08:04 PM

For crash ratings look at the US and the Euro Ncap test results.
You want her to get around- I'd almost prefer a VW Golf GTi over the Mini. Just more metal and better for college.

jayz February 25th, 2012 08:47 PM

Actually the VW is another one I am considering. I am going to go out and drive them and try to get an Idea how they feel. I am looking at around 10 to 15 K. Also considering a 3 series BMW. I will check out the crash rating site. Thanks for the advice


kinetic February 25th, 2012 09:11 PM

For what it's worth, my wife had the mini clubman when we first met. I drove it once on the highway and vowed that when the lease was up I'd get her into something safe. Now it's an LR3. When I followed her in the 90 to return the Cooper, I realized her head was at the same height as my bumper. Peace of mind is priceless.

Stormer February 25th, 2012 09:23 PM

Nothing against Minis in general but no way I would ever put my 17 or 19 yr old in one. We are in a supersized world. Jetta/Golf TDi is a nice choice and has a larger profile. 2 dr. vehicles are great as your child will not become the chauffeur for all her friends.

DMSLongLake February 25th, 2012 09:50 PM

I would not put my 17 years old self in a Mini Cooper....not due to the safety...but due to the fact that I would lose my license in a couple of days...

jayz February 25th, 2012 10:20 PM

Yeah, I hear that. My first car was a 240Z, I crashed it and bought another one. After that it has been one 4WD or another. Slower and safer. If I had my way I would put her in a Suburban but that is not exactly an economical college car. I am really partial to the BMW. I was in an accident in my girlfriends car when I was 17 and if I had been in a shitbox honda or something similar I would have been dead, crushed in a ball of sheet metal. Seeing how that thing took a side impact at 70 MPH made me a believer in German engineering. She wants a soft top Jeep but i don't see that as being a great kid car either

bjf February 25th, 2012 10:25 PM

The mini had amazing crash safety results actually.

evilfij February 25th, 2012 11:15 PM

For 15-17k buy her a new base Jetta with the 2.0 litre. No speeding possible and a decent sized car.

LRover February 26th, 2012 06:37 AM

I love my Mini S (it has been great) but for my daughter's first car I bought her an old full size Ford Thunderbird so there was as much metal around her as I could get.

Rosproline157 February 26th, 2012 10:39 AM

Jetta's are great cars! Years ago I had a 1.8T, and wife and I still miss it.

bjf February 26th, 2012 11:02 AM

I had a 01 Wolfsburg jetta and I loved a couple of things about it. It ha cloth heated seats which were awesome. It really moved well too. The big issue was the 1.8s were all recalled for coil issues or some crap. Vw didn't have enough parts in stock so they only did the recalls as people complained of issues with the car and the engine light being on. I think the car has four coils and you literally can get stuck bringing it back four times. I'm sure it has been resolved by now.

rover4x4 February 26th, 2012 12:27 PM

80's suburban.

NomaD110 February 26th, 2012 01:55 PM

Would any of you really put a 16 year old kid in a Defender?

woldd90 February 26th, 2012 02:09 PM


Originally Posted by NomaD110 (Post 333122)
Would any of you really put a 16 year old kid in a Defender?

Really? Slow, safe and sticks out like a sore thumb... What else could you want?

iamgoode February 26th, 2012 03:16 PM

I drove a turbo mini clubman a couple of years back, if it wasn't for the quirky dash I'd have one.. I owned 3 "real" minis over the years, 1 was a clubman.. I don't know who came up with the dash in the new ones but they missed by a mile IMO. Don't buy your kid the S, it's too fun..

I put my kid in a 2004 Toyota RAV 4, it's perfect.

RedD90 February 26th, 2012 03:22 PM

I had a Clubman back in the 80's. Nothing like driving around with your ass inches from the ground. Parked easily but never really felt safe in the thing.

Abrooks February 26th, 2012 05:21 PM

We bought an '03 new. And when someone that's owned a dozen + land rovers tells you that it was the most frustrating car he's ever owned, that should count for something. Terrible build quality, reprehensible service and non-existent after-sales support. When it wasn't in the shop it was fun to drive, but after 11k miles I traded it on an A3 and never looked back.

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