2007 MINI Cooper S Long-Term Road Test

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2007 Mini Cooper S: High-Performance Hypermiler

July 02, 2008

Our long-term Mini Cooper S is rated at 26 mpg city, 34 highway and 29 combined, which is already significantly better than every other pocket rocket on the market today (actually those are the '08 numbers; '07 models are rated at 25/32/28, probably because those numbers were just converted on paper from the previous EPA estimates, which were based on the old methodology). And check this out: during a 60.5-mile straight shot on the highway yesterday, I consumed exactly 1.612 gallons of gas. I'll save you the calculating effort -- that's 37.5 mpg.

Now this would be a blogworthy achievement even for our efficiency-minded Ford Focus (24 mpg city, 33 highway, 28 combined). But in the Mini's case, we're talking about 37.5 mpg from a car that will rip off 0-60 sprints in the mid-sixes whenever the mood strikes. I think this could very well be a historic first -- can you think of any other car, past or present, that matches the Mini on both counts? Pretty amazing stuff.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 17,547 miles

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2007 Mini Cooper S: Blasting Past 15,000 miles

May 07, 2008

Yesterday our 2007 Mini Cooper S zipped past the 15,000 mile mark. Considering there are still three months to go before it must be returned to Mini, I'd say it'll pass the 20,000 miles mark during it's 12 months in our fleet. And that means we like this little hatchback.

In case you haven't noticed, if a car doesn't make the 20,000 mile mark, it's for one of two reasons...

1) Nobody on our staff like driving it so the car sits in our parking garage like an agoraphobic.

2) It's liked, but has a flappy canvas roof which prevents its from being enjoyable on long drives and is called the Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited.

But back to Mini, which has yet to need a single unscheduled pit stop and never ceases to put a smile on my face. This car is dead reliable, stupid fun and it's averaging 26.5 mpg. If there's a better small car on the market I'm unaware of it.

Scott Oldham, Inside Line Editor in Chief @ 15,008 miles

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2007 Mini Cooper S: Fuel Economy Update

April 29, 2008

It's that time again. On the eve of our four-car fuel-sipper comparison test, I thought I would calculate the lifetime fuel economy of another diminutive fuel sipper -- albeit one that's fun to drive. Since our last update, we've actually improved our Mini Cooper's fuel economy by 0.6 mpg! How about that!

Average MPG: 26.24
EPA Combined MPG: 29 (d'oh!)

Best Tank: 33.70 mpg
Worst Tank: 16.57 mpg

There was a fill-up that reported 40 mpg, however, the entry's penmanship was questionable and it just seemed too good to be true. So it's certainly possible that Brian Moody went on a 123-mile downhill road trip with a stiff tail wind, but I've thrown it out just in case and used the second-best tank...

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 14,775 miles

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2007 Mini Cooper S: Final Trip Mileage

January 24, 2008

For those curious, total mileage for my LA-Flagstaff-Vegas-LA trip in the 2007 Mini Cooper S was 1,236 miles. The car consumed 42.143 gallons of 91 octane, and average fuel economy was 29.3 mpg.

As you might be able to tell from the photo, I stopped off at the southern rim of the Grand Canyon while en route to Vegas. It was my first time there, and although I was appropriately awed, it was tough to find a clear spot to document the Mini's first trip to the Grand Canyon. I guess I was missing the point. But it was only 30 degrees outside, which is a little cold for a hike on-foot.

The Mini's seats turned out to be a little thin for long-distance driving, and at times, my back felt a little sore... though I'm not convinced stress wasn't a factor in this instance. However, the driving position is excellent, and this really adds to the enjoyment of driving the car. I also liked the double sunvisors, and the side visor in particular made it much more pleasant to drive through the desert.

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2007 Mini Cooper S: Seven Hours to Flagstaff

January 21, 2008

I'm about two-thirds of the way through my Mini road trip, which includes a stop in Vegas in addition to Flagstaff, AZ. Time constraints have necessitated more time on the interstate (and less time on back roads) than I'd like, but I'm hoping to squeeze in a run through the Valley of Fire before it's over.

In the meantime, I've found new ways to enjoy our 2007 Mini Cooper S. The turbocharged engine was energized by the cold mountain air and didn't seem to lose a bit of stamina during the climb to 7,000 feet. As you'd imagine, I, too, was energized and I drove accordingly. Yet, the car still returned respectable fuel economy -- I got 27 mpg during my most, well, enthusiastic stint behind the wheel (totaling 346 miles) and 31 mpg during a more frugal 332-mile period.

Our Cooper S also hit the 10K mark as you can see.

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2007 Mini Cooper S: MPG to Date

January 14, 2008

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

Here are the current mpg numbers for our 2007 Mini Cooper S. Now even though the manual Coop is reported to get 29 mpg/36 mpg city/highway, suffering under our staff of leadfoots (feet?) she's been averaging 25.7 mpg. Best tank: 30.9 and worst tank is 22.3.

And just out of curiosity I looked up my average mpg for my trip up north over the holidays, driving extra legal speeds and without the benefit of cruise control and I got about 26.5 mpg...

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 9,483 miles

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2007 Mini Cooper S: Takes the Long Way to Willow

November 30, 2007

2007 Mini Cooper S - Scott Oldham

Yesterday our 2007 Mini Cooper S spent the day at the Streets of Willow road course -- parked outside the pit lane. To offset the lack of track time for our happy red hatchback, I took the long way up to the desert that morning. On my way out of LA, I turned onto Oro Vista Road in Sunland, CA, which becomes Big Tujunga Canyon Road, and then I turned onto the Angeles Forest Highway (here's a map for those interested).

In addition to the Mini's lively, mischievous personality, I was again impressed (and yes, delighted) by how well everything comes together in this car as you're going through turns -- the way the steering feels, the way the suspension reacts, the resistance of the pedals, the euphoric revviness of the engine following a smooth heel/toe downshift...

After 100 miles run at a fairly brisk pace, I still had more than 3/4 of a tank. Fuel range is just never a problem in the Mini.

I enjoyed all this on a crisp, smog-free late autumn morning. By 10 AM, it had already been a good day.

Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor @ 7,470 miles

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2007 Mini Cooper S: Bun Burners

November 05, 2007

Seat heaters have got to be at the top of my list of favorite car features and I especially appreciate them in the cloth seats of our 2007 Mini Cooper S. They are so effective. There are three settings: Simmer, Roast and Scorch. But my buns could only really bear Simmer... Although starting at Scorch warms up the seat right away on a cold day, the soothing warmth quickly turns into something that resembles a broiling hot tub on a sizzling Arizona summer day. I wonder why they make it so hot. Perhaps so you can feel the heat through your ski pants and jeans and thermals?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 6,351 miles

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2007 Mini Cooper S: Smooth Shifting

October 24, 2007

Photo by Caroline Pardilla

After driving our long-term Versa for a couple of days, slipping into the 2007 Mini Cooper S was like slipping into a warm bath on a cold day, like jumping into a pair of tailored, high-quality trousers after wearing ill-fitting jeans...I could go on. But shifting the Mini is soo easy and I don't know if it's because I learned how to drive stick on one or what.

Every shift was smooth, things snicked into place like buttuh. I found myself taking long detours during quick errands just so I could get more seat time... "I wonder if that restaurant is closed? It probably is since it's 10:30pm....but let's drive by it anyway."

Also -- and I know our editor Scott Oldham hates it when we mention these sorts of things but tough noogies -- I think the Mini is really the only manual car in our long-term fleet where I feel comfortable enough to wear heels while driving it. I usually have to kick off my 4-inch heels whenever I drive stick. But in the Mini I think the pedals are high enough so that my high heels can hover over the floor.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 5,922 miles

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2007 Mini Cooper S: There's No Escape

October 15, 2007

2007 Mini Cooper S - Erin Riches

I thought I would be safe from the wiles of the second-generation New Mini: The steering isn't quite right, the torque steer can be annoying, and the red body/black roof color scheme of our 2007 Mini Cooper S is not at all what I'd choose for myself. But yesterday I realized our long-termer has gotten to me. I never get up early on weekends, yet there I was, at 8:30 in the morning, still not fully awake, speeding toward some good roads -- just so the Mini and I could have a conversation.

We talk about different things every time, because there's just so much happening with this chassis and almost all of it's interesting. Also entertaining is the rapidfire response of the turbo 1.6 in sport mode, and I never tire of working through the gears even if redline (6,500) comes a bit early for my taste...

The only thing that bothered me during the drive was the slipperiness of our long-termer's cloth upholstery -- I kept having to hoist myself back up into the seat.

Recently, I was having a sort of light philosophical (well, "philosophical" might be a stretch) discussion with another journalist about what it is that makes the Mini so desirable. What we settled on, I think, is that, yes, the styling is one of a kind, and yes, the driving experience is entertaining, but what binds everything together is that wonderful feeling you get whenever you walk up the to car and climb inside: anticipation.

It never gets old.

Erin Riches, Senior Content Editor @ 5,559 miles

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2007 Mini Cooper S: Easy To Park

October 01, 2007

2007 Mini Cooper S -- Brent Romans

The second-generation Mini Cooper is 3 inches longer than the first generation model. But its 146.2-inch overall length is still quite petite as cars go, and that allows for easy parallel parking. The Mini is actually the shortest car sold in America save for the upcoming 2008 Smart Fortwo. As such, it's quite the functional urban runabout...

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,502 miles

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