Is a Mini too Small?

Jan 24th, 2004, 06:32 AM
  #1  
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Is a Mini too Small?

Hello all, I just rented a car for our trip to the UK in Sept from AutoEurope. The best rate is for mini at 454$ for 2 weeks, manual trans. We will have 2 medium size pieces of luggage. Will we fit it all in? My husband wanted a small car, because he likes a smaller car for back roads driving. We had an economy car in Ireland and a compact in Italy. Will we fit ina mini;-)? Judy
Judyrem is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 06:46 AM
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If there's 2 of you, you'll be fine. If you are 4, someone's going to have to hitch hike.
sheila is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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I know there are people who will disagree with this but I think a mini is too small for anything but doing errands around town. They really are awfully small/slow for highway driving.

That said, how big are your medium size suitcases? Do you also have carry-ons? How tall is you husband? And you? Agreed it's harder to drive a full-size car on back roads, but you have a whole range of size options and there can be a world of difference between a compact and a mini.

Since you will have the car for two weeks I would find a dealer here with a similar car and go have a look. Sit in it and get a good look at the size of the trunk - that will provide a realistic answer.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 06:58 AM
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Nytraveler pretty much sums up what I was going to say. Personally I'd go for sometihng a little bigger for extra comfort, particularly if either of you are any taller than average height.

I think travelling in a mini for two weeks in your situation is too much, especially as I assume you will be using the car quite a lot.

Something a little bit bigger could make the world of difference in terms of comfort.
Dave_ is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:06 AM
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Your husband's 100% right about wanting a small car, but the mini is TOO small! The compact size fills hubby's criteria and that's what you should take. You'll be spending hours in it and you deserve some comfort.

And it's not that much more expensive.
TuckH is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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This may sound bold, but I'd take your two bags to a local dealer and try it out. See if they'll fit in the "boot" or back seat, and make sure you'll fit as well. I love minis and can't think of a more fun car to tool around UK in, but they are tiny!!!
Patrick is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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If you are talking about a Mini i.e. with a capital M it is more than fast enough for a motorway with a top speed of 110MPH on the most basic and around 135MPH on the top model it will keep up with any car! In the US I wasn't aware your motorway driving was so fast? Get your facts right dear.

If you are talking about a mini with small m then take it if you're doing narrow country roads there's no need to have a powerful car really, especially if you're a tourist in no rush.
m_kingdom is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:15 AM
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As nytraveler says, it's all a matter of taste.

Modern minis are significantly bigger than those our generation grew up with in the 60s and 70s, they have great roadholding, and corner well on Uk sized roads. In July Autocar magazine rated them, the best cars in the world. The basic model has a 1.6 litre engine which is as big as many standards. At 90bhp, it's not hugely underpowered.

At the top of the range it's got 163 bhp, which is WAY more than my Golf TDi which is a performance car.

I'd love to do this. In fact, I just might.
sheila is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:22 AM
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It simply isn't true that all you can do in a Mini is errands.

There is almost no limit to what can be done - from driving across Europe to having carnal knowledge of your partner. As well as having almost as much from the driving as from the nookie.

However, those of us who say this from experience might just have to admit that such behaviour could be less comfortable now than it was a few decades ago.

But you might be younger and/or more agile. So don't turn down the opportunity for two weeks in the world's most enjoyable car just on the advice of a bunch of posters who might be even less sprightly than me.

So take Patrick's advice. Find a Mini dealer, and take a test drive. Try to find a US road that emulates an English country lane.

Then decide.
flanneruk is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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At those prices I don't think the poster was talking about a "Mini" which obviously would have plenty of power - I think she was talking about a "mini". And I still think they should try out a similar car before committing to someting that small for 2 weeks.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:25 AM
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I think most of the minis are too small, and the engine too weak, particularly if you are doing much driving in the mountains. I consider an Opel Agila to be a mini. It is not so much the size of the car as it is the fact that often you get a 1.0 or a 1.2 liter engine in those things. They are actually dangerous on the highway because you cannot pass slower vehicles because of limited acceleration, and they do not function at freeway speeds. I would hate to drive one of those things at 120 kph for a sustained period of 20 minutes.

I would not want to drive a car with a 1.0 engine very far, particularly if I had to take it on the freeway. A big lorry would squash that thing like it was a bug.

I personally would have trouble fitting my knees under the steering wheel.

About as low as I want to go is an Opel Meriva with a 1.6 liter engine.

I had a Vectra one summer with a 2.0 liter engine. Unfortunately it had an automatic transmission and it lacked a little oomph when going uphill, and it also did not have as much passing power as I would like. By timing every move, accelerating in preparation to pass, I did ok. Perhaps my own Camry 2.0 liter, 4 cylinder, 5 speed, has spoiled me.

The size of the Vectra was plenty and it held the road securely.

An Astra with a decent engine is a very good car, but I do not want the 1.7 low end diesel in the mountains. The 74 kw engine may be ok, but not the 59 kw version of the 1.7 diesel. The 1.4 gasoline engine might be a little small for most people.

But, as one guy told me once, "It is my money." I cannot argue with that.
bob_brown is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:26 AM
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They're not buying it! A mini category car will suffice, don't expect super luxury, but you get what you pay for, in your case it's very very cheap. Normally I'd expect to pay that for a week.

Don't waste you're time trying it out you're only having it for a couple of weeks - you'll save money on petrol and putting the rear seats down will solve luggage problems. If the worst comes the worst you can always change it.
m_kingdom is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:30 AM
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Firstly European cars have engines which are more powerful than US counterparts e.g. a four lite US engine can be equivalent in power to a 2 litre European engine.

Small cars when faced with a head on collision with a lorry are no less safe than a large vehicle. Sadly I know of cases where a lorry has collided with a Rolls Royce - a very large and powerful car, and all occupants were killed. In fact small cars with modern safety features are safer than some large old fashioned US ones.
m_kingdom is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Per Auto Europe the "minis" in questions are a Ford Ka or a Nissan Micra.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:32 AM
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Ford Ka nice and nippy will do a motorway nicely, handles very well. Micra comfortable plasticky effort. Both are more than adequate for you.
m_kingdom is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 07:43 AM
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I remember driving back roads in Wales a few years ago - wish I'd had a mini!!!
jenviolin is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 08:18 AM
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Sorry for the advice to check out these cars -per the companies neither is available in the US.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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Not available in the US? Guess we're not talking about the same thing. I thought we were talking about Mini-cooper, commonly called "the Mini". There is a local dealer here in Naples, Florida and the Minis are very popular -- they're all over the place. Is that NOT what we're talking about?
Patrick is offline  
Jan 24th, 2004, 09:26 AM
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No, Patrick. It's the "mini" Category of cars in their fleet - "mini", as in "tiny" or "tinny".
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Jan 24th, 2004, 09:36 AM
  #20  
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Thanks for the wonderful replies. Well we are not overly tall, he is 6', me a paltry 5'4'(and getting smaller;-)). Yes, Tuck, it is a small mini, not a Cooper, which I love BTW. nytravler is right, AutoEurope said it was either a Ford Ka and Nissan Micra. Never rented either one before. He did not mind the little car in Ireland, not sure what Nissan it was howvever. It seems the concensus is half for the mini, half not. We won't be doing too much motorway driving, maybe just around Manchester and such. We will be doing Manchester, North Wales, Lake Dsitrict, Hadrians Wall, York, then back to Manchester.
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