24 Oct 2012

A MINI Adventure

Paul and Dawn Whelan run a website called thebestofstratfordupnavon.   They needed a vehicle to get around in and promote their business.  So they bought a 2012 MINI and kept a diary.  The diary was published in three parts on their website.  We've posted it on Speedmonkey because it gives an insight into owning and running a brand new MINI One - especially on the matter of space, headlights and fuel consumption.

Part One

So how are we getting on with our Mini ? We have had it for nearly a month now and clocked up 1500 miles of mixed driving. A couple of longer trips down to Goodwood and Berkshire, mixed in with driving around the rural roads of Warwickshire and a lot of town driving through Stratford upon Avon. The first thing that has became obvious is how the little car sips fuel, it has averaged just under 60mpg which I am sure will improve when it has a few thousand more miles on the clock and has loosened up a bit more. The second surprising thing is it's ability to cover larger distances in comfort. I did have my worries that this would be a downfall, but no - it copes equally as well on the Motorways as it does zipping around town. Talking about town driving, one of the things that takes the most getting used to is the automatic stop/start. Basically this is a fuel saving device that shuts the engine off if the car is stationary in traffic. It is a weird feeling to have the car turn itself off and on again, it also draws attention from pedestrians who think you are continually stalling! This feature can be turned off, but in the interests of economy I will live will the odd looks from passers by! Any bad points so far? Yes, the boot is tiny - but it is a Mini so this is not unexpected, and with careful loading we haven't been caught out yet. Apart from that the Mini so far has performed better than we would have hoped. We will keep you posted on our Mini Adventure!

Part Two

So we have had our Mini for just over two months and just over 3000 miles and it is still managing to surprise us. First of all we are now averaging just over 62MPG with the same mix of drivers and roads. I am not sure we will ever see the claimed 74MPG but to be able to get over 500 miles between fuel ups is pretty impressive. A trip to the coast proved its ability to carry four people in comfort. Although it is Mini in name it is surprisingly roomy inside, with very comfortable front seats and rear seats that are also well up to the job of carrying somebody for a few hours. The eagle eyed of you around Stratford will also have noticed it now sporting extra livery. STMO the parent company of The Magic Alley (surely one of the spookiest places in England) wished for added exposure. So off the car went to Space Graphics (01789 490 900) for them to work their usual magic on. Now both rear wings have on them 'STMO MEDIA GROUP our business is story telling' It is amazing the amount of attention that the car gets, people literally come up to us on the street to ask/talk about it - somebody even thought the car was from The Magic Alley! Any minus points? Not really, only a couple of quirks. It doesn't seem to like certain fuel pumps and shuts the pump off after every 5 litres or so of fuel, also the drivers side wiper squeaks every now and then as it goes across the screen. Apart from that it has been great fun, frugal and very noticeable.

Part Three

Life with our Mini has mostly been good.

However it has been back to the dealers as the headlights were just awful! We took delivery of the Mini at the beginning of the summer and it hardly ventured out at night. When it did there were a few remarks about the headlights and how poor they were. As the nights drew in and the weather got murky it soon became apparent that the lights were about as good as two candles! We had to resort to driving around with the lights on main beam ( Nobody noticed, nobody flashed their lights) and even then they were hardly the most illuminating of things. Rybrook Stratford took the Mini back in and checked it over. The alignment of the lights needed adjusting, but the lights themselves were deemed to be working correctly. Although there has been a vast improvement, the lights are still second rate when compared to other cars we have driven, perhaps the xenon upgrade should be made a standard feature?

Another slight annoyance is the MPG figure has dropped to just over 53. The car has been driven by the same people, over the same roads at roughly the same speeds. I think there is either a problem, or Mini are very optimistic claiming that the car will average over 70mpg. At the moment the car can't even achieve the claimed urban ( the lowest) figure of 67MPG!

All in all the Mini is still a fine car, it just seems to have blotted it's copy book of late.