My MG's Garage 



Our Garage has an new Baby, its a 2005 MINI Cooper Convertable, as you can see its Jet Black with a black top, and white stripes similar to the MG B with red accents.  Of course it has a name "Vader" which Glenda picked.  The photos below are all taken in the garage, because it's January in Minnesota.

Vader's First Night HomeNapolean asks "what's a convertable?""Do we get to go for rides like this?"My Co-Driver Thinks its cool
Vader's Parking SpotVader's New Stripes  

Click to enlarge thumbnails

MINI Owners feel compelled to list everything that is on their cars, so why should I break the custom.   Below are Vader's specs taken from the MINI Owners Site:

    Year:                                2005

    Model:                               Coooper Convertable

    Exterior Description:        Jet Black

    Interior Description:        Space Grey/panther black Cit

    Factory Options:

  •     Alloy Wheels in white
  •     Anthracite Trim
  •     Automatic Transmission (CVT)
  •     Cold Weather Package
  •     Navigation System
  •     Premium Package
  •     Rain Sensor and Auto Dimming Mirror
  •     Sport Package
  •     Universal Garage Door Opener
  •     Xenon Headlights

    Owner Options:

  •     XM Satellite Radio
  •     Ham Radio Transciever

First reactions:  

Vader is a blast to drive.   I ordered the Automatic instead of the stick because I have a really ugly commute to work in heavy stop and go driving.  Also, Glenda does not like driving manual transmissions, she has driven the B and my former Miata only under duress.   I really wanted her to be able to enjoy this car as well.  I wasn't sure if the CVT Transmission was going to be as much a disappointment as my Passat with triptronic was.  It is not, it features three modes of operation, Standard Mode, Sport Driving Mode, and Manual Mode.  For normal commuting in regular mode it is smooth, responsive, and pretty much mindless letting you concentrate on the heavy traffic around you.  In sport driving mode it sets the shift points higher, and pick a lower ratio, so that throttle response is quick and acceleration is brisk.  Just what you need if you are doing a little zoom-zoom in traffic or find you need to liven your way enroute.   In manual mode you have a 6 speed manual, shifts are very quick, much faster than I can do with a clutch.   It's not the same as a stick, but not too bad.   I even have found that the transmission actually does disengage during downshifts, and I can blip the throttle to pick the revs up, much the same as performing a heel and toe with a manual transmission and clutch.   This manuever does take some practice, and I am not always smooth in performing it.   I hope that with some more practice, I will become more proficient as it seems to need a feel for hitting right.  Still I do get it right about 60% of the time right now.  The car is comfortable we have taken it on a 4 hour each way day trip, and after 8 hours of driving, I was not at all exhausted, and feel I could have made a 12 hour stint with no problems. 

The onbard Navigation is a feature I really like.  It besides having a map view, it gives you your current location, including the road you are running on.  In Navigation mode, I selected the British voice, which also uses some quaint British Terminology, which is fun.  Another feature I like is that the netx turn ahead and the road name are displayed with wonderful Tulip graphics as well.   Makes going someplace for the first time a snap.   The XM Radio is great on the road, I have CD's onboard, but haven't used them since the Sat Radio was installed.  The 8 hour road trip with XM was wonderful, I got to listen to the music I wanted for the whole trip, no fading in or out, no multi-path interference.  It was great.

So far I am very impressed with the car.  Its only drawback is the boot is non-existent.  By the time I put my car kit (tools/flashlight/triangle etc) which fills up a normal size gym bag in, and a set of jumper cables the trunk is full.  There is room if you plop the rear seats down, but even those are best loaded with luggage if the top is down.  Other than cargo space, it is a really great car, and I can't think of any other negatives.

Last modified: April 26, 2005

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