Mini Cooper 1.5
Week ending: August 25
Current mileage: 3119
Miles driven this week: 99
Read the full Mini Cooper review
This week, I had the opportunity again to take over the reins of the Mini Cooper, which I welcomed with open arms – given how much I enjoy driving our engaging long-termer.
The Mini spent a considerable amount of time at low speeds during my commutes and I seldom got out of first and second gear. However, this demonstrated just how highly-geared the lower ratios are, which makes the Cooper more flexible and an even better package, in my opinion.
In another small hatchback where you’ll be well into third gear, the Mini is happy to stay in second. Even when the revs eventually reach 2500-3000rpm you don’t realise, as it’s so docile in that range.
Despite being over six months old now, the car still attracts attention among fashion-conscious passers-by. Parking up the other evening, one lady yelled "I want that car. It has to be mine!" proving our Mini Cooper is still a favourite among the hipster trend-setters.
By Aaron Smith
Week ending: August 18
Current mileage: 3020
Miles driven this week: 19
The Mini has just been pootling around this week, and guarding a precious parking space right outside my house. I needed the area clear for a skip to be removed from my front garden because I'm currently undergoing a 20-week hardcore house renovation.
While the Mini was occupying its space, I decided to use the time to get to grips with some more new technology. The Mini Connected function is an optional extra and offers Facebook and Twitter connectivity, plus web radio and a host of other extras while on the move.
However, after excitedly downloading the relevant smartphone app and getting my phone synced with the car via USB, it wouldn't work. Puzzled, I checked all of the settings both on the Mini and my phone, an Android-powered Nexus 5. After running the self-diagnosis troubleshooting tool, it informed me that there was 'no active connection' numerous times. It then said that my phone wasn't 'supported regardless of the connection method'.
This was made all the more odd after I checked the Mini website and it assured me that my Nexus 5 phone was compatible with the Mini Connected function. I then checked other users' feedback about the app on the Google Play store, and it seems to be a pretty common occurence that Android-powered phones suffer in this way.
I'm disappointed, because one of the best bits about the Mini, for me, is the way it's stuffed full of useful technology. I bet Apple iPhone users don't have the same issues.
Week ending August 12
Current mileage 3001
Miles driven this week 57
It's all been about mpg this week, or more accurately, trying to improve the Mini's fuel economy around town. It's not too bad; at the moment, I'm averaging around 36mpg for short urban hops.
I'd like to try to reach the low 40s, so I have been experimenting with the Cooper's Eco green driving mode, instead of using the usual Mid mode. So far, I've managed to 'save' 3.5 miles, according to the Eco read-out. I've achieved this through obediently obeying the on-screen prompts to change gear within the optimum green range that the car is calculating.
This makes for a much more considered and admittedly slower driving style than I usually employ, but when the range-to-empty fuel indicator says you have only five miles left in the tank before you will theoretically conk out, I'd say that's a small price to pay.
Week ending August 5
Current mileage 2944
Miles driven this week 64
The Mini's had an easy week in terms of mileage, but the air-conditioning has been working overtime instead. Getting into the car after a long day at work, it's normally pretty toasty because the Mini has been sitting in the sun all day patiently waiting.
This is where the 'max AC' button has proved invaluable; press it and the air-con kicks into overdrive, with all of the fans whirring and pushing out cool air almost immediately. It's impressive - the system takes about a minute to get the cabin temperature down to a comfortable level for the drive home.
It may seem like a little thing, but after driving so many other cars whose air-con isn't as effective as the Cooper's, it's a godsend in the very pleasant weather we've been experiencing recently.
Read about the rest of our long term fleet