2007 MINI Cooper Long Term Road Test


2007 Mini Cooper S: Roadtrip to Sequoia...and why I wouldn't buy one

May 27, 2008

Mr. Kavanagh isn't the only staffer who made a pilgrimage to Sequoia National Park over the long weekend. With a friend in town and the long-term Mini at our disposal, we headed for the selfsame hills, largely in hopes of finding one of those hollowed-out trees that you can drive through. No dice on that front, unfortunately, but we did walk around the biggest tree in the world (39.5 feet in diameter!) and saw a bunch more that weren't much smaller. It's a truly Brobdingnagian landscape -- you can't really conceive of how large these trees are until you've seen them in person.

There's another picture after the jump (gotta give a grateful shout-out to Austin, the aforementioned friend, for helping me stitch it together), but first let's talk about the second half of this post's title: Why wouldn't I buy a Mini like ours?

Two reasons: (1) harsh ride, and (2) demonic torque steer. Brian has already addressed (1) by advising prospective buyers to forgo the optional sport package (which includes upsized 17-inch tires) and sport suspension -- anathema on a BMW 3 Series, for example, but sensible here given our Mini's buckboard-grade ride quality. However, I'm afraid (2) is just part of the car's DNA. For whatever reason the Mini's engineers apparently thought torque steer was cool (unlike the Mazdaspeed3's engineers, for example). It's definitely not cool when I'm powering through a lefthand corner and the wheel's trying to tug me into oncoming traffic.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 16,282 miles

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