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  #41  
Old 11.06.2015, 17:05
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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Any thoughts on what one should look for in buying a fairly new Mini Cooper (not the S) for a daily drive to work?

My wife wants one, not me.

Lots of the smaller cars she has looked at are distinctly under-powered for the hills she needs to negotiate on the way to work.

Any other ideas - she was thinking of a Renault Clio but it would have to be a new/almost new one and they're pretty pricey.

She has no interest in an Audio or BMW as she thinks most of them are driven by T*ssers (and to be honest, she has a point).

Thanks!
I find this an odd statement. Unless she's in a hurry no small car with more than 50 horsepower would have problems negotiating hills. Given the Mini Cooper (not the S) is not exactly a hot hatch (120hp or so) I find the statement even odder.

On-topic though: unless the wife's in love with the looks of the Mini, just get the new model Fiesta ST http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/arti...-Fiesta-ST.jpg
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  #42  
Old 11.06.2015, 17:22
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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I think you missed the heavy dollop of sarcasm about Alfa reliability.
Ah sarcasm! That was why they created emoticons - for numpties like me .

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But you've piqued my curiosity: in what way do you see Alfas as "just another Saab"? Their shared Scandinavian heritage? Aero industry links? Saab's famous racing legacy? Or just bankruptcy?
I did confess I know nothing about cars! I just grew up hearing that the Alfa is not a reliable car and maintaining it is a costly affair. Like Saab
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  #43  
Old 11.06.2015, 18:08
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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I find this an odd statement. Unless she's in a hurry no small car with more than 50 horsepower would have problems negotiating hills. Given the Mini Cooper (not the S) is not exactly a hot hatch (120hp or so) I find the statement even odder.
http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/arti...-Fiesta-ST.jpg
Some of the smaller cars are classed as 'city' cars and of course they can get up the hills but are not much fun when trying to overtake when doing so.

I'm thinking the VW Up for example which was suggested to her as ideal.
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  #44  
Old 11.06.2015, 18:08
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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I've owned seven. Never had any problems.
What models were they?
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  #45  
Old 11.06.2015, 18:17
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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I find this an odd statement. Unless she's in a hurry no small car with more than 50 horsepower would have problems negotiating hills.
Oh really?


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  #46  
Old 11.06.2015, 18:49
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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May I suggest you never go up to a 156 owner and say that - especially using words like "main" and "seal"
Oh yes, Alfas have truly terrible reliability. My parents just drove their 156 (ym. 2000) from Finland to Spain without a single problem - only to meet a guy at a restaurant on the first evening of their arrival who wanted to buy their car on the spot. The styling is unique and the engines have nice notes. As a comparison, my parents were considering the A4 in 2000 and went for the 156 instead. How many 156s do you see on the road, compared to a A4s of the same era? I see old 156s almost every day, but very seldom old A4s.

And the Alfa reliability story is total bullcr*p, usually uttered by people who never have owned one due to their reputation and lack of courage to risk owning one. The reputation was however undoubtedly true in the 80s/early 90s due to Italian car manufacturers using poor-quality Soviet steel in their cars, but that was more than 20 years ago and the quality has improved.

I have a 159 and their reliability must really be terrible, as the seller sold me a 6 year old car with 70K on the clock with a warranty of two years - and I just got offered to renew it for one more year (at a cost of 500 chf), even though the car has 110K on the clock - must truly have terrible statistics if they offer me such deals? Oh, did you know that the 159 was developed under a German quality manager? *ironic rant over*

The 159 has given me a few funny experiences - one guy took a picture of it on the highway in Sweden while driving - how many non-exclusive car drivers with 6 year old cars can say that? And more than once have I seen someone look at it twice on the parking lot, or even taking a picture of it again. Not bad for a car that is prized at less than the German competitors and is already a generation or even two behind the technology of today. The styling of Alfa has always been years ahead of their competitors, and their influence on many other brands is noticeable (159/Chevy Spark, 156/Honda Civic/Renault Clio, etc).

No, I'm not saying that Alfas are better than their German counterparts. But I'm saying that their reputation is bullshit, and that they are definitely not worse than the Germans. My friend has an X3 with so many problems (fuel pumps seem to be a problem in those BMWs...) that he is now looking into buying an Alfa.

Whatever car you and your wife decide on buying, I'm sure will be great as very seldom one chooses a car with the head but more often with the heart. I will personally never drive anything else than Alfa, as I cannot think of one negative experience in a total of 15 years of Alfas in the family. Very few cars can offer a similar experience for the that little money.
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  #47  
Old 12.06.2015, 09:00
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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How many 156s do you see on the road, compared to a A4s of the same era? I see old 156s almost every day, but very seldom old A4s.
Very good point - based on this and this the A4s must all be off the road being sold.
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  #48  
Old 12.06.2015, 09:02
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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Well, that's not really a car, it's a Fiat
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  #49  
Old 12.06.2015, 10:47
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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Very good point - based on this and this the A4s must all be off the road being sold.
With the risk of going slightly off-topic (sorry OP) - Thank you for pointing that out, Dodgyken. I'm an awe, as I truly didn't recognize a few of those A4s as from the same era as the 156. During that period of time, the 156 only had one major (see below*) facelift, while the A4 apparently had a few more. Upon the purchase of the 156 into our family, we were obviously comparing it to this A4, which is from the year 2000 - and this is the model I was referring to not seeing around, as mentioned in my previous post.

I guess the Alfa design can then be considered a bit more extravagant and timeless, as they pulled off 10 years of production (1997-2007) with only one (two*) facelift? (*Actually there were two; one 2002 and one 2003, but the first one was only changing the color of the bumper strips and mirrors from black to the same color as the rest of the car, which in this case can almost be put into a parenthesis - compare it yourself: Phase 1 vs Phase 2 vs Phase 3 - compare a Ph1 (B5) A4 to a Ph2 (B6) A4 to a Ph3 (B7) A4 - much larger variation there.)

Trying to google around for some production numbers, I realized that it was not really worth it due to all the different facelifts etc, but I found this list of awards for the 156 (which only makes me like it even more ):

In 1998, an international jury of 56 journalists (40 of whom voted for the 156) representing 21 countries awarded the Alfa 156 the European Car of the Year award;[10] it was described as having a "very refined suspension layout so to offer an impeccable roadholding".[34] The 2.5 V6 engine was awarded with the International Engine of the Year award in 2000.[35] The 156 has won more than 35 awards,[36] including:
  • Technical Innovation Award - Common Rail 1998 - (Autocar - Great Britain)
  • Best Compact Executive 1998 - (What Car? - Great Britain)
  • Best Compact Executive Car 1998 - (Auto Express - Great Britain)
  • Die Besten Autos 1998, Paul Pietsch Preis - Innovation prize for Common Rail, (Auto, Motor und Sport - Germany)
  • Auto 1 Europa 1998 - (Panel of engineers, drivers and journalists from the 11 European magazines headed by Auto Bild)
  • Auto Trophy 1998 - (Auto Zeitung - Germany)
  • Trophee Du Design 1998 - (Automobile Magazine - France)
  • European Award for Automotive Design in Belgium 1998
  • Car of the Year in Denmark, Spain, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, Portugal, France and Croatia 1998
  • Car of the Year in South Africa 1999 (South African Guild of Motoring Journalists)[37]
  • Prix de l’Innovation Technique pour le Common Rail 1997 (France)
  • L’automobile piů bella del mondo ("The most beautiful car in the world") in Italy 1997
Again, must be terribly horrible cars...and I'm not even going to talk about the Alfas in motorsport - but I could of course point out this test between the BMW 3 and the 159, performed by Germans, just for your sheer pleasure
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  #50  
Old 12.06.2015, 11:04
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

1) Winning the European Car of the year is not something to shout about. How the Renault 9 beat the VW Polo remains a mystery. In 1986 the Ford Scorpio was considered better than then Merc W124 - regarded as one of the best cars Mercedes ever made. Fiat have won it 9 times, BMW never have.

2) Alfa did not win "Engine of the year" in 2000 - they won 2.0-2.5 engine of the year. In 15 years, across 12 classes, Alfa have picked up 2 awards. BMW 62. (Although the PSA 1.6 engine is in there which is notoriously troublesome as is the VW twin-charger engine!!)

3) A long list of awards means nothing -there are hundreds of "award" ceremonys each year and pretty much every car will win something. I bet Ssangyong will point to a list of awards they have won

4) I like Alfas - I spent a couple of great summers in various Alfas - and the 156-era Spider remains a favourite of mine. I have run a 156 flat-out in Germany and loved it. Their leather (especially tan) is fantastic. But I am realistic about them as an ownership prospect - and depsite you having a good run with yours, surveys suggest they are less reliable and more expensive to run than other cars.
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  #51  
Old 12.06.2015, 11:10
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

Sales figures don't lie any car can be made reliable, just depends how much money you want to throw at it, I've had Many (still got some) traditionally unreliable cars that have never let me down, but that's not down to luck.

Alfas are stunning cars, they look and sound great and the interiors of the newer ones are 2nd to none, would I want one as a daily driver without a backup plan? Not a chance
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  #52  
Old 12.06.2015, 11:31
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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1) Winning the European Car of the year is not something to shout about. How the Renault 9 beat the VW Polo remains a mystery. In 1986 the Ford Scorpio was considered better than then Merc W124 - regarded as one of the best cars Mercedes ever made. Fiat have won it 9 times, BMW never have.

2) Alfa did not win "Engine of the year" in 2000 - they won 2.0-2.5 engine of the year. In 15 years, across 12 classes, Alfa have picked up 2 awards. BMW 62. (Although the PSA 1.6 engine is in there which is notoriously troublesome as is the VW twin-charger engine!!)

3) A long list of awards means nothing -there are hundreds of "award" ceremonys each year and pretty much every car will win something. I bet Ssangyong will point to a list of awards they have won

4) I like Alfas - I spent a couple of great summers in various Alfas - and the 156-era Spider remains a favourite of mine. I have run a 156 flat-out in Germany and loved it. Their leather (especially tan) is fantastic. But I am realistic about them as an ownership prospect - and depsite you having a good run with yours, surveys suggest they are less reliable and more expensive to run than other cars.
I'm not going to contradict you, as you have just as valuable points in your post as I consider having in mine, but (there's always a but, huh?):

1) BMW won car of the year in 2006. Unless you mean a different award in a different class?
2) Referring to your point 3 - you make it sounds like Alfa is pointing out the rewards, and I'd just like to state that it actually is a wikipedia link. You should know how bad alfa is at marketing, compared to many other brands.

I'm happy to hear you've had a few good experiences in Alfas, just like bigblue - then you guys will know what I'm talking about and might even understand my devotion
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  #53  
Old 12.06.2015, 11:35
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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1) BMW won car of the year in 2006. Unless you mean a different award in a different class?
You quoted EUROPEAN car of the year - I didn't realise we were moving goalposts
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  #54  
Old 12.06.2015, 11:37
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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You quoted EUROPEAN car of the year - I didn't realise we were moving goalposts
Aha, that explains the misunderstanding - not meaning to be "moving goalposts", as I was simply quoting Wikipedia, and not really focusing on the awards in such detailed manner
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  #55  
Old 12.06.2015, 12:15
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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Very good point - based on this and this the A4s must all be off the road being sold.
that's just because Audi and VW are owning the market so their depreciation is less steeper than other brands such as alfa
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  #56  
Old 12.06.2015, 12:24
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

Whilst we're on the subject, what, in your opinions, is the best bang for buck for a small, second car? I'm thinking ahead to when daughter #1 will be driving and it would be nice to have a 2nd family car as we'd be living a bit further out. Is it possible to pick up something reliable, nice to drive and cheap to insure for less than 3k, for example?
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  #57  
Old 12.06.2015, 12:26
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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Whilst we're on the subject, what, in your opinions, is the best bang for buck for a small, second car? I'm thinking ahead to when daughter #1 will be driving and it would be nice to have a 2nd family car as we'd be living a bit further out. Is it possible to pick up something reliable, nice to drive and cheap to insure for less than 3k, for example?
Mazda MX-5? Maybe possible to find a good example at the right price?

And you'd have a cabrio for the weekends
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Old 12.06.2015, 12:43
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

Would be nice, but I was thinking of something a little more practical, for shopping etc. and to take the daughter for some driving practice.
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Old 12.06.2015, 13:01
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

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Would be nice, but I was thinking of something a little more practical, for shopping etc. and to take the daughter for some driving practice.
Just did a quick Autoscout search here. Out of that lot, I would be looking at the Ford Fiesta and the Honda Jazz and the Nissan Micra, all of which are perfectly decent small cars.
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Old 12.06.2015, 14:28
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Re: Buying a Mini Cooper?

For 3k just get anything with a fresh mfk, the odds are she'll crash it within 2 years. Get her something with as many safety features as possible, abs, airbags, side impact , traction etc. the odds of a 3k car passing another mfk in a couple of years are pretty slim anyway.

Smart cars tick all the boxies but only have 2 seats
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