Mildly Amusing Musings & Some Photographs

Posts tagged “white

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Hood Ornament

Hood Ornament

The hood ornament – such a tiny automotive embellishment, such a big difference between this Ford and any of the modern, generic cars, trucks & SUV’s on the road today.

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“I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel…”

On November 22, my beloved Big Papi was rear ended.  Four & a half months later, the insurance company & direct repair shop (who will remain nameless until a later post) finally arranged for me to take him to Mini myself to get his backup sensors & trunk latch fixed properly.  I was told by the insurance company that “inconveniences are to be expected when you’re in an accident,” but this has been a total nightmare.  Luckily, a trunk light that constantly turns the interior lights on & off is “not a safety hazard that prevents you from driving.”

Big Papi is a 2005 Mini Cooper convertible.   He has some pretty big issues with his CVT transmission.  Every 10,000 miles, he needs to have it adjusted.  Unfortunately, due to poor timing & being poor, I let it get to the point where he could barely drive 45mph.  Shifting into the manual mode, I could sometimes get up to higher speeds but downshifting was a 50/50 chance of a jolting trip to 6000+RPM.   This leads to the only positive experience of the car accident – I was forced to take Big Papi to Mini of Monmouth.  Since they opened, I had wanted to give them a try but it is often more important for me to be editing when I am not working & I could get by driving 45mph most of the time.

I was a little worried that Mini of Monmouth would not be as great as Princeton Mini.   I thought maybe Mini stopped trying now that so many non-waving, boring people were driving Mini Coopers.  Even their advertising is not as fun.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the staff at Mini of Monmouth was equally awesome.  I dropped my car off around 9:30 & received a call less than four hours later to say that Big Papi was ready.  Part of me was a little disappointed because I wanted to test the 2012, take nice pictures of it & write a review.   Because I was working, the nice pictures didn’t really happen & I didn’t get to experience the Mini at night, but here are some mostly cosmetic notes on my six hour drive.

I loved the fun paint on the loaner & was really glad that the Countryman body has not become the only body style.  I think it looks like a Subaru & lacks the charm of the regular Mini Cooper.

I love the orange eyeballs in the headlight eyes & the second set of eyes in the parking lights.

Super cute tail lights too.

I want one of these.   Overall, I approve of the exterior.

The seat controls are still lacking a bit.  I hate that the back adjustment faces the center console.  It is really inconvenient to get your hand in there without jamming your knuckles.  Maybe the non-base models have power seat controls?

The windows have a power down & power up which would be a decent feature if it wasn’t quite so difficult to get it to stay about 3/4 open.   Also, while the location of the cup holders is a bit better than the 2006, there really isn’t much room for a big drink still.  Anything taller than this would have made it really difficult to operate the windows.  There is another cup holder behind the center console but I learned that it isn’t good for cans.   Also, the side/door pockets don’t have as much room as the 2006.  I could barely fit a few CDs in it.  (Yeah, sorry, I don’t have an iPod.)

Ahhhhh, a defroster that doesn’t require super-loud high power defrosting only.  In theory, since I didn’t actually need a defroster today, this is a huge improvement over the 2006.

The round key & push button start took a little getting used to.  When I first tried to start it, I had no idea I needed to put my foot on the brake so I sat there basically turning the radio on & off.  This criticism is for all car manufacturers who have opted to alter the wasn’t-broken-don’t-need-to-fix-it standard turnkey ignition.  Who decided that the motion of turning a key was just too much work?  Instead of letting your designers gadget up something like that, how about working on the mechanical aspects & improving fuel efficiency?  Oh never mind, I saw “Who Killed the Electric Car?”  It is much more important to have a key that doesn’t need to be in the ignition (Audi) or a car that parks itself (Lexus).  If you can’t park your car, you shouldn’t be driving.

On to the slightly less cosmetic…  I didn’t have nearly enough time on the highway but I made the most of my 2.8 miles of speeding.  If the police ask, this was photoshopped.   I was only trying to catch up with the car that passed me.  I like the large speedometer & the 2012’s ability to kick some ass quickly but found the gas indicator a little distracting.

I nearly failed to mention that I hate the new turn signal/directional.  It doesn’t stay clicked in position until you turn or turn it off yourself after a lane change.  It was very hard to figure out if it was on.  Turn signals too were fine the way they were.

Before I found out my car was ready, I was listening to NPR so I didn’t realize the radio displayed the song titles.  I love that.  If I knew it was there, I would have put on “There’s a Law” so that there’d be some irony in breaking the law.  By the way, I was listening to The Disciplines.  You should too.  I don’t think this stereo was as good as the Harman-Kardon though.  At loud volumes, there was quite a bit of distortion.  At times, I felt a little like the people I make fun of for having a stereo so bass-y that it shakes the plastic aftermarket body kit.  I also dislike that the radio buttons aren’t numbered & there was no quick way to switch between a CD & the radio.

None of these cosmetic issues I had outweighed the fact that it was indeed fun to drive.  Add in the nice people at Ray Catena Mini of Monmouth & I found myself falling back in love with the Mini Cooper brand.  When I picked up Big Papi, I was happy to see that they gave him a bath.  Also, I can now back up without beeping, open & close my trunk without lights coming on AND, the best part, drive over 45mph!  Separate from the insurance company’s bill, I had them adjust the transmission.  My buddy is back!!!!  Now, when people ask me how I like my Mini, I can once again tell them just good things.

This is the radio I love AND the super cool plastic window/lock overlay that they should reissue because mine is cracked.  I prefer that new climate control though.

A very big thanks to Steve at Mini of Monmouth.  I’ll be back for an oil change soon.