Car and Driver spent 14 months and 40,000 miles with a Mini Cooper S, driving the British racing Green sparkplug with enthusiasm through all seasons and recording its failures and successes along the way. Minis are equipped with computerized service programs that tell their owners when they need attention, and the test car's service message only popped up twice over 40K miles, once at about 13K and again at 30K, both times yielding no-charge oil changes and inspections. Some cracked trim and dash squeaking was remedied during the second service as well. The car's acceleration improved over time, although some drivers were alarmed at the Mini's supercharger's desire for revs, feeling that in everyday situations keeping the rpms up can be annoying at best and dangerous (during avoidance maneuvers that could require downshifting) at worst. Other peeves include the large shade-less sunroof that turned the car into a greenhouse in the summer, and the needlessly complex seat releases that facilitate backseat access. The overall quick- and nimbleness of the Mini was widely appreciated, although some thought its ride overly stiff. The price after options was $23,815, and operating costs including wear and tear and gasoline (at $2.22/gallon) for 40K was just under $3,000.


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