Update 19FEB18 I wound up selling the car as it just was not to my practical use of going back and forth to work anymore. Our family only needs one good vehicle with one payment which our Ram 1500 crew cab serves us very well. There was no maintenance issues or anything when I got rid of it, but for what I was paying monthly it was just not worth keeping anymore when I can get by with a $2000 car. The car runs drives great and is surprisingly smooth going down the highway at 80mph for a short wheelbase auto. My problem with MINI is their customer service after the sale. So my wife and I get 60mi outside the Dallas dealership and decide to set up the Sat radio that supposedly came with the car. After fumbling with the radio trying to find the "Sat" setting, I called my sales person back to ask where the setting was, he said he needed to call me back. A few minutes later we were informed our car is "Sat Prep" which means me as the owner has to take the car in at MY expense, buy a $150 Sat code followed by $700 to install software in my factory NAV headset. This was not explained to us prior to leaving the dealership. When we called the sales manager back to get this worked out, it was an instant "there is nothing we can do, we should have worked it into the original deal". So at that point when it came to the survey about the dealership, I wrote what happened and in a couple of days got a call from a Dewey Gatts customer relations supervisor on my voicemail to call him back. And so I did not once, but three times over the course of three days with no phone call back. Got a hold of another customer service rep who we again laid out our issue too and she sounded promising of helping out. She said if you have not heard anything in 24-48hrs call back. Again I called Dewey Gatts POC, and again straight to voicemail, so I called again, got another rep "Tara" who was quick to just say what Sat Prep means and that their is nothing they could do. I posted on MINI USA the following: "so there In addition to our previous post about some misleading advertisement about Sat Radio on our new car, we have been back and forth with MINI customer relations since we have not been able to get a call back from our case manager Dewey Gatts. We have waited the 48hrs to hear back on our case since Dewey Gatts will not call us despite the 3 different times I left my number on his voicemail to call. When we asked the customer relations rep named Tara who the relations supervisor was so we could get some resolve on our case (at this point she started telling us there is nothing they could do), she could not tell us who it was, Tara kept telling us the next level are all supervisors. What?? All departments regardless of business type have ONE person/manager who is in charge and then that Manager has someone s/he has to answer to as well. You mean to tell me you cannot tell me who your own boss is? or who your boss' boss is? MINI you have something seriously wrong in with your customer service reps if they cannot tell me who their direct line of supervisors are much less can provide a phone contact. MINI has put a huge damper on my "Motoring" experience. This type of customer service shows what MINI USA's true colors are in order to resolve an issue. If anyone is thinking of buying a MINI, you better have your homework down on what you want because MINI will use any misinterpretations to their advantage and continue to blow you off until you give up. The absolute worst customer service I have ever dealt with. I so should have bought a Fiat 500 or Chevy Spark that I was looking at in conjunction to this car. I know Ford, Dodge, and Chevy customer relations at least make an effort to right a wrong. MINI you have just lost a customer, we were planning to trade our Ram 1500 in next year for a Countryman but that will absolutely not happen at this point, I will stick with American or Japanese for next purchase".
It is a blast to drive - ALWAYS !! Handling is superb... we have the base trim with 3 cylinder, but the 172 max torque makes a quick spin and cornering capability. 16 inch sport wheels and tires provide just the right amount of road holding ability and stopping power. We have the 195/16 runflat tires as part of the sport package. Navigator is great, clear instruction and great voice command functions. Rear view camera and parking sensors work perfectly for tight parking spots. The seats are very comfortable. We love the dual sunroofs as well, and the Harmon Kardon sound system with unlimited tweeter sound and bass. The exhaust note is sporty. Our out-of-the-door price was $27,350 with $5,500 discount right around 2015 X'mas time. Dealer even gave us rear tinted windows for free. Nice!! Thanks. I and my wife both enjoy driving it every minute. Great commuter and sporty little machine.
I have my own opinions that sometimes run counter to the popular view. Case in point are some aspects of the 2016 Mini Cooper hard top. We recently bought mostly for its quirky charm unfortunately not because of its handling. We ordered a base cooper with the 15" wheels but with the default performance tires. The handling isn't as good as I hoped. It has personality like the rest of the car although I'd hoped for it to just work. Steering is responsive, however the car fishtails in quick maneuvers. It fact it's one of the worst I've driven testing by swishing the steering wheel side to side. The rear reacts violently after a long delay like the back is whipping around later. Can be scary on the expressway. We tried 16" wheels and they're a little better but not great. Many other cars this size do better on this test. The other thing I don't like is the Harmon Kardon upgraded stereo. It has way too much bass. If that all you want to hear, maybe it's fine but I rank it as practically unlistenable even with the bass turned way down. The Fender upgraded stereo in VWs are awesome. Awesome bass yet clarity. We didn't order the upgraded stereo. The base stereo is fine and sounds clearer. The little 1.5 liter 3 cylinder engine is great. Has lots of low end torque, is happy to rev, and is surprisingly quiet. Manual transmission is very good. Nice fairly short throw. Rev matching on downshifts, hill hold. I test drove automatics. It works well in most cases but I got it confused when I jumped out in traffic and it took an eternity (maybe a second or two) to decide what gear to go into, all while cars were bearing down on me. Interior is small but can be comfortable is people aren't too big. Sunroof is amazing. Feels like your in a convertible. Overall ride is very solid. Stiff body, normally few rattles, good at absorbing bumps. Storage space is definitely lacking. Mini went cheap for 2016 and removed the secret compartment on the dashboard reducing storage space that's practically non existent. Who's idea was it to make a four door car and only have one cupboard in the rear seat? Overall a fun cute car but with sometimes poor handling with the base wheels. Update 9/2017 The cuteness has worn off. Acceleration, although still good, has lots of hesitation especially in 2nd gear. The car is especially sensitive to bad gas. I have to run the best premium or it drives like a bucking bronco. It is not fun. Even with good premium is still hesitates. It is not possible to smoothly shift this car. The computer is in too much control of the engine RPMs. Rev matching is ok when downshifting, but when upshifting, the engine is VERY slow to rev down. The end result is that the engine is ALWAYS going too fast for the next gear up. Giving it any gas makes it worse. Its simply very hard if not impossible to get a smooth shift especially around 2nd gear. Again the computer software is to blame. They dynamically change the throttle map on each gear. 1st gear is pretty mild. You can give it lots of gas and not go anywhere, but 2nd goes the other way and is very aggressive. Very sensitive to throttle position. 3rd and up and more forgiving. The base radio still sounds awful. Even with the bass turned all the way down there can still be too much booming bass, but its just at one frequency. Frequencies below or above are cut out so you don't hear them at all. The control software of the car drives me crazy. Like its possessed. All sorts of random behavior. My favorite is me having the AC turned off, the button clearly shows the AC is turned off, yet the AC is running and on blowing ice cold air even if I don't want it on. A few minutes later the gremlin lets go and it will silently shut off. This happens at random inconsistent times. I have not been able to find a pattern. I randomly get door unlocks, warnings messages on the screen about start/stop being disabled, persistent chime about passenger not wearing seat belt... when there is no passenger! Which reminds me, start/stop didn't work for me once, just once, leaving me slowly rolling through a downtown busy intersection. Eventually flipped enough buttons it started up again. Thought it was broken, but eventually tried it again and it hasn't recurred. Overall the car is doing ok I guess. But whenever I drive it I'm greatly bothered by the hesitation and rough shifting. Bad stereo doesn't help. In retrospect, I wish I would have bought something less annoying.
I've only had the car for a couple of days but so far it's the best car I have ever driven. It's so much fun to drive! The attention to detail is incredible and it only took two times driving the car to learn most of the features. I can't wait to learn even more.