Tonight the KC MINI Club met up at Baron MINI to get a look at the new 2005 MINI Cooper Convertible. Now I had seen numerous photos of the new topless MINI on other sites and was prepared to be unimpressed. I was rather unimpressed. It was very nice, as are all the MINIs, and looked like fun, but I hardly ever use my sunroof and I couldn't see myself ever wanting one.
What I was impressed with was the new features on the 2005 Cooper S that was sitting not twenty feet from the Cabrio. Even though the Electric Blue isn't one of my favourite colors (sorry Jeff) I liked the body color dash and door inserts.
I also really liked all the chrome that is now available as an option. Talk about a little bling bling! I like the addition of overhead map lights although I'm not sure I like the clock in the speedometer. If you look closely, you can see the digital clock in the lower right of the readout under the odometer reading. Click on the pic for a larger view.
You can view the rest of my 2005 photos including the new headlights, tail lights and body color interior in a gallery here.
So here's the latest shot of the xB. I designed the graphics and installed them a week ago and I've gotten mostly positive responses to them.
Next on the list of mods are some cool wheels but I've got a vacation to save for first.
The MINI is starting to get jealous although there's no contest for my affections. I really like the Scion but it's no MINI. The xB is a nice driver but it's just a car. The MINI, on the other hand, has soul and is a pure joy to drive. My better half commented last night that the Scion never feels like it's too much to handle but riding in the MINI, at times, makes her want to hang on for dear life.
I think it's time for another track day...
So this past Sunday marked one year since we picked up the MINI at the dealer. I have to say that after a year of motoring, it's been as good as I could have ever imagined. Those of you with MINIs know what I'm talking about and the rest of you will have to live vicariously through my adventures until you get one of your own.
Speaking of adventures, last Friday night a group from the MINI Club headed down to Pleasant Hill, MO for their monthly "Cruise Night". Every month a bunch of people bring their classic and sometimes not so classic cars and park them on a blocked off street of downtown Pleasant Hill. Most of the cars are tricked out muscle cars from the '60s and '70s but this month seven MINIs showed up to crash the party. They had half a block roped off just for us and we got a fair share of attention. Below is a picture of six of the MINIs lined up at Sonic just outside of town.
Out of the seven MINIs present, I have worked on six so my percentages are going up. Last month I think I was five out of nine. I'll see if I can get to 100 percent by next month's meeting.
The MINI got a new driveway companion today. We picked up the xB Saturday afternoon at dealer. When we pulled into Olathe Toyota in the MINI, all the salesmen were standing around outside smoking and chatting. We got out of the car and a couple of the jackals, I mean salesmen, approached us. The first one said to me, "Man, that is one sweet ride!" to which I replied, "You think so? I'm here to trade it in on a Camry." He believed it for all of about two seconds. I got a good laugh.
About an hour later we were off in our new metallic black xB which will be the wife's main ride unless I need to haul something that won't fit in the MINI. After two days of tooling around town in the xB I have to say that I really like it a lot but the MINI will always have my heart. Here's my full review with special comparisons to the MINI.
Media folk have likened the Scion xB to the MINI Cooper, I think, mainly because they are both kind of eye catching new cars. As far as I'm concerned, that's as far as the comparison goes. The Scion xB is sticker priced at $14,170 compared to the standard Cooper which bases at $16,999 and the Cooper S at $20,849. Also consider that an average MINI buyer will add $3,000-$5,000 worth of options bringing the final purchase price up to $20K-$25K. The bottom line on the xB we purchased was $14,225 and it has everything we could want with the exception of cruise control which, sadly, isn't even offered as an option. Like I said, other than being unique in styling, there's no comparison.
We sought a second car with the following criteria:
1.) Affordability - At $14K, check.
2.) Decent hauling capacity for my sign business - With the rear seats folded down it meets my needs with room to spare. Check.
3.) Gets good gas mileage - Rated at 31/34, that's 10 MPG over any of the nearest SUV competitors. Check.
4.) Styling - Well, this is debatable but it's kind of like an ugly mutt of a dog that wins you over with its personality (see items 1, 2, and 3). Check
5.) Drives well and is comfortable. - I was skeptical about the 108 HP engine but was won over after the first test drive. It's no Cooper S but it has ample power and decent handling for a car of this type. Check
I also have to say that most of our friends and family who've looked the car over, taken a ride and then realized how affordable they are, said they would seriously consider buying one sometime soon. The Scions are not limited like the MINI and I think pretty soon the streets will be teeming with them but that doesn't bother me. I still have my MINI and it's not going anywhere.
I recently finished some custom graphics for a friend's Vespa Scooter. It will probably be the first of many although I don't know if there are as many Vespas as there are MINI Coopers out there.
SCION xB UPDATE - Blue seems to be the color that is in great demand and the color that's not available. So we'll be picking up our new Black xB over the weekend. I haven't figured out what kind of graphics are going on the Scion yet, but rest assured it'll be something eye catching.
As of tomorrow, we'll no longer be the owners of a 1993 Honda del sol. We're selling it to my 15 year old nephew. I have no doubt that within six months it will be unrecognizable due to the modification whims of said 15 year old. You know what I mean - large-loud muffler, neon, spinning rims and a spoiler the size of a surf board. I guess we always knew that would be the fate of the beloved green ride. It served us well for seven years.
So, out with the old and in with the new.
New Scion xB, that is. We ordered the car, lovingly referred to as "the box" last Wednesday evening. We've been looking at them since August last year when they were announced. They've been available on the west coast since last fall but went on sale here on June 23.
I'm not planning on quite the excitement that was stirred upon ordering the MINI last March but I am pretty stoked about it all. At least we won't be waiting five months for it like we did on the MINI. The dealer said it would only be a couple of weeks. If we wanted another color besides blue onyx pearl (pictured above) we could be driving it now. I'm sticking to my guns, though. I really want the blue. If two weeks passes and there's no word, I'll yield to another color so stay tuned for updates.
Above is a photo from the 2004 Auto Show. We took a similar photo last year and you know what happened then...