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Vertically-unchallenged visitors beware

August 20, 2008

Check out my new wheels:

(this isn’t actually my car but it looks just like mine – a lightning blue mini cooper D! once I find my camera cord I’ll replace this picture with one of my car)

Yes, it’s true. Last Monday I swapped the rental (a Mercedes A-150) for this lovely little blue thing!

Like with any new car – especially one that you didn’t test drive or pick out or anything – I spent the first few days just enjoying the novelty of it all – the new car smell, the trademark ‘Mini’ dash, the funny placement of the window controls (below the radio), etc. Now that most of this novelty has worn off, I feel like I can give a fair assessment of the vehicle:

Pros:

  • Green! The budding environmentalist in me is thrilled with the cars’ green specs. It’s carbon emissions are between 104g/km (IDENTICAL to the Toyota Prius and better than the Civic Hybrid at 109g/km) and 118 g/km (some sites said one, some said the other. not sure wich is accurate. either way, they are less than my old Camry.) It also includes a special ‘diesel particulate filter’ that reduces all diesel exhaust emissions, making it one of the most environmentally friendly in its class. You can get all the details on it’s specs & greenness here.
  • Mileage.  47 mpg city, 65 mpg highway.  Enough said.
  • Lightning Blue! It’s silly, but I’m happier driving a blue car. My favorite car in the whole wide world (my 2000 VW Beetle) was blue. My Camry was blue. I’m meant to drive blue cars.
  • Manual shifter paddles. As a non-car buff, I’m not sure how to describe this aspect of the Mini. So bear with me. The car is an automatic. But it sort of has a manual option. Instead of putting the gear to ‘D’ like you would for automatic, you can put it at ‘D1’ and then use these shifter paddles affixed to the steering wheel to change between gears. There is no clutch at your feet or manual shifter in between the seats but you still have more control over the car than you would if it was on automatic.  I don’t know. Boyfriend enjoys this option. I keep it on Automatic and call it a day.
  • Stylish interior.
  • It’s MINI! Parallel parking is a breeze.

Cons:

  • It’s MINI! Before actually sitting inside one I was under the impression that it would feel a lot like my old Bug. Small from the outside but surprisingly spacious on the inside. Lots of head room with a reasonable backseat. And then I sat in mine. Umm… There’s a reason they call it a ‘mini.’ It has four seats but unless 2 of the passengers are midgets or don’t have legs, it fits 3 max. As far as trunk space – it fits my computer bag, my gym bag and maybe a water bottle. Maybe.

Overall, I’m THRILLED with the car. Even if I had a choice (which I didn’t), I probably still would have gone with the Mini (unless a VW Bug was an option). Although it’s TINY there’s no question it’s fun to drive. And if there was ever a time where we could get away with driving what’s essentially a 2-seater, this is it. 3 years from now when we are back in the US who knows what sorts of items will have to be strapped in the back seat…

Anyways. That’s my take on the Mini. If you’d like more info, this guy says it better than me AND lets you see one in action:

I don’t know about you, but I think Boyfriend and I should see for ourselves how well it handles around Italy:

You can come too as long as you are willing to ride on the roof or rent your own 🙂

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