2007 Mini Cooper S: Weekend on the Central Coast
April 21, 2008
Various California Central Coast wineries were the destination for the 2007 Mini Cooper S over the weekend. As I'd expected, driving the Mini on all the back roads between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo was a bigger treat than tasting various pinot noirs. As previously reported, any curvy road is fun with a Mini. However, roads with tighter, lower-speed turns show off the car's personality to best effect...
Higher-speed stuff can still be entertaining, but brutal acceleration is not within the car's repertoire, at least not in stock form.
Even though my traveling companion, Deputy Managing Editor Caroline Pardilla, and I drove crazy enough to make each other carsick, the Cooper S still returned 29.5 mpg over 600 miles. One thing I noticed was that the ride quality was a little better on the roads we drove (considerable time on I-5, CA Highway 33 and U.S. 101) than it was on the roads I took to Arizona (I-15 and I-40). In addition, the cloth seats never got uncomfortable during 3-to-4-hour stints. Cargo space was perfectly adequate for three days of travel, even though we both purchased wine along the way.
The best scenery of the trip was found on CA Highway 58, which, between Highway 33 and the 101, is an explosion of wildflowers. We stopped for a picnic here (shown above). The best winery we visited on the trip was Wolff Vineyards -- be sure to try the chardonnay.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,499 miles