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The Mercury Cars Guide : July 31st 2010
16--- Classifieds 62 300 400 carsguide.com.au Saturday, July 31, 2010 USED CARS Mini Cooper Mini recaptures former glory INSTANT CLASSIC: The 2002 Mini Cooper proved popular. We take a look at the world's most famous little car as GRAHAM SMITH checks out the Mini Cooper (2002-07) TRYING to reinvent the past is fraught with danger: the motoring graveyard is full of brave but misguided attempts to breathe new life into past glories. Of all the re-born classics carmakers have tried to pass off in recent times, the Mini has clearly been the best and most successful. model watch THE designer of original Mini, Sir Alec Issigonis, set out to make an efficient, affordable family car. The efficiency was delivered through a clever packaging approach that employed a boxy body, a wheel planted at each corner, and with the engine swung through 90 degrees from tradition to create a tiny car with a roomy cabin. With a modest engine, manual gearbox and few frills, Issigonis' Mini achieved exactly what its designer intended. Cute looks added to its appeal and the Mini became an instant hit. But it was to become much more than a cheap and cheerful means of family transport when rev-heads found its stable chassis could easily handle much more power than it had in its standard form. Grand prix car designer John Cooper was employed to develop a special Mini, one with high performance and nimble handling that was lots of fun to drive. The Mini Cooper was the first of Cooper's creations, the next was the even hotter Mini Cooper S, both much-loved classics today. The popularity of the car was boosted when London's ''in'' crowd adopted it as their favoured means of transport. Appearing in movies such as The Italian Job also helped. With such a history BMW was under close scrutiny when it set about recreating the Mini in the early 2000s. Fortunately for the German automaker it got it pretty much right. The new Mini was much larger than the original car, but BMW managed to capture the cute looks and proportions that made the original so popular. Like the original there was a wheel at each corner, which along with its well-tuned suspension produced a nimble chassis that was thrilling to drive. Initially BMW launched the Mini Cooper with a 1.6-litre single overhead camshaft four-cylinder engine boasting 85kW and 149Nm, but followed up with the Mini Cooper S that had an engine producing 120kW and 210Nm. In standard Cooper guise, buyers could choose between a five-speed manual gearbox and a five-speed CVT auto, while the Cooper S only came with a six-speed manual. A 2003 update saw the five-speed CVT replaced by a six-speed CVT auto. The Cooper and Cooper S had heaps of standard features. Externally there was the retro paint style with a white roof, alloy wheels and lashings of chrome. On the inside there was cloth trim, a leather steering wheel, a split- folding rear seat, airconditioning, CD, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking and a trio of cup holders. The Cooper S had leather trim, sports seats, larger alloys and sports suspension. on the lot For the fun of a Mini Cooper you will need to pay $14,000-$21,000, but you could have the extra thrill of the Cooper S for $20,000-$29,000. in the shop The Mini is generally a solid performer, but there are a couple of problems areas. The power steering is noisy, and there are reports of the failure of the power steering pump. The CVT transmission could be troublesome and should be carefully checked by someone experienced with this type of transmission. The manual gearbox is the best choice for a fun drive. Run-flat tyres are expensive and contribute to a firm ride some find uncomfortable. in a crash The Mini's underlying strength is its stable platform and nimble handling, with predictable power steering and power ABS anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution and traction control. In Cooper S guise it also boasted electronic stability control. Overlaying the active safety was a passive safety package of front, side and head airbags. ANCAP rated the new Mini at four stars. at the pump Mini owner Frank Bradley says he gets 8.9l/100km around town, and 5.7l/100km cruising at 100km/h on long trips. Those figures closely match the official BMW numbers of 8.5l/100km in city driving and 5.6l/100km on the highway, but road testers reported fuel use of about 10l/100km. owners say Frank Bradley bought his manual Mini in 2002 when they were first launched and says he would buy another if and when he was to sell it. He uses it as his daily driver, but it has also become his hobby car since he joined the Victorian Mini Club. His likes include the unique styling, the precise handling, the drivability, incredible brakes and the build quality. His dislikes include the front seat comfort and the noisy power steering pump. Glenys Tidd and her husband have two Minis and she says they would have more if they had the room. He uses his 2002 Cooper S for longer trips to the city from their country home. She drives a 2008 Mini Clubman wagon for the room and the economy. They both have a lot of fun driving their Minis. Mini Cooper also check these VW GTi 2005-07 The VW Golf is the real successor to the original Mini, the GTi the successor to the Mini Cooper and Cooper S, using the same formula of brilliant packaging and sizzling performance. The GTi sets the hot hatch benchmark. Pay $25,000-$30,000. FORD FOCUS XR5-T 2006-07 Like the rest of the auto world, Ford took up the Mini philosophy and built on it with cars such as the Focus XR5, the hot sports hatch in the Focus range. Terrific performance, great handling, an excellent all-rounder. Pay $25,000-$27,000. PEUGEOT 206 GTi 180 2004-07 Peugeot and VW were constant contenders for the hot hatch title after the departure of the original Mini. The 206 GTi 180 delivered a genuinely sporty ride with a punchy engine and excellent chassis. Pay $16,000-$22,000. look for Cute classic looks Agile chassis Fun-filled drive the bottom line Fun-filled driver that successfully recalls the past. 80/100 Charge of the slight brigade About 99 per cent of people who want EV will make an economic decision, but 1 per cent will do it for the environment' A USTRALIA'S first mass-produced electric vehicles are about to hit the road en masse. Well, 40 of them, anyway. Mitsubishi Motors Australia has only been able to secure 40 i-MiEV vehicles this year. They arrive over the next couple of weeks. MMA sales vice-president Anthony Casey says the company has 110 orders for the vehicle, but worldwide demand and limited production prevented all those orders being filled. ''We are going to Japan next week to plead our case on this and other production issues,'' he says. ''Production capacity is still very tight due to limited battery production in our joint venture between Mitsubishi and Yuasa. ''There is a new battery plant opening next year which will double capacity.'' Casey says MMA contacted ''key potential customers'', mainly government and business, and received more than 100 orders, including one company that wanted 15. The vehicles are not for sale, but are available for lease at $1740 per month for three years with the option to buy at the end of the agreement. Casey does not think many will be interested in buying them at the end of their lease because technology will have developed. However, he says that in three years the battery will still be able to be charged to 80 per cent of its capacity. MMA boss Masahiko Takahashi says EV needs Federal Government incentives before it receives mass-market acceptance. ''Australia will be a hard market to crack for EV because of the vast distances you cover, but there is a substantial number of people who are green,'' he says. ''About 99 per cent of people who want EV will make an economic decision, but 1 per cent will do it for the environment. Government incentives, however they come, will make the difference in acceptance.'' The i-MIEV is a rear-wheel-drive car with the electric AC motor in the back. A small space for luggage sits above it. The batteries are under the floor and there is also a cooler for the motor and batteries and a control unit and DC converter. Mitsubishi claims it has 47kW of power, 180Nm of torque, is limited to 130km/h and has a range of 160km on a full charge. It doesn't have a conventional transmission, but a reduction gearbox. The electric motor develops maximum torque at stall to pull the car off the mark. There is no reverse gear. Instead, the electric motor runs backwards. The car can be charged off a 15-amp power outlet from 100-260V, making it a truly global car. It takes seven hours to charge from flat and because there is no memory in the battery it can be topped up at any time and doesn't need to be discharged first. When it is running out of power, there are the usual ''fuel'' alerts, with instruments displaying a turtle. When energy is critically low, it goes into an energy-saving ''limp-home'' mode. It comes with a mains plug-in cable, and there are mains and fast-charge inlets on either side of the car. A fast-charge station can charge the battery to 80 per cent of capacity in 30 minutes, but there are no such facilities yet available in Australia. MARK HINCHLIFFE WANT THE CAR YOU REALLY WANT. . .REALLY FAST? Let s get together. Come in and talk to us about a B&E car loan. Together, we can get you the car you ve been looking for, with a six-hour turnaround, pre-approval of the loan, competitive interest rates and a 20% discount on all new comprehensive car insurance policies for the first 12 months. Hobart -- 106 Collins St Glenorchy -- Shop 63, Northgate Shopping Centre Rosny Park -- 5 Bayfield St 0039M Things you need to know: *Terms and conditions, including fees and charges apply. Full details are available on application. ^Offer valid for all new CGU comprehensive car insurance policies taken out from 1 July 2010 to 30 September 2010. The 20% discount is calculated on the standard CGU insurance premium payable for the insured amount. B&E Ltd ABN 32 087 652 088 (B&E) and AFS Licence No. 236870 acts under its own Australian Financial Services Licence and under an agreement with the insurer, CGU Insurance Limited ABN 27 004 478 371 (CGU) AFS Licence No. 238291. Motor vehicle insurance products are issued by CGU. Before taking out a policy please read the Product Disclosure Statement which is available from any B&E branch or by calling 1300 306 716 and decide if the product is right for you. ^ * Call 1300 306 716 or visit www.b-e.com.au
July 24th 2010
August 7th 2010