My current car now is a 1998 Plymouth Voyager which up until April had only 48000 miles on it. After my 1994 Ford Escort died from a bad case of “transmission repairs will cost much more than the value of the car”, I had to resort to driving the van to work at 20 mpg. That was when I was driving 60 miles per day, which took about 45 minutes. With the new job, I’m now putting in 100 miles per day for an hour commute. So I need a car that will give me better mileage. My dad has a Prius, and while it is interesting and gets close to the theoretical 60 mpg, it is butt ugly – we’ve termed it the Space Car – and more money than I want to spend.
After a lot of looking around, I settled on the Mini Cooper with manual transmission, which will give me about 40 mpg. So today I stopped at the Princeton NJ Mini dealer to factory order a 2007 Mini Cooper. The car you see above is the model from the configurator at the MiniUSA site. My only beef with that site is that many things, like the financinig calculator, would not work in Firefox, and I had to resort to firing up IE7.
And I now need to learn to drive stick. The dealer was nice enough to take me for a spin in a nearby lot and let me try my hand at the manual transmission. The car rides nicely, but I will definitely need practice getting into first gear smoothly from a standstill without chirping the tires or stalling. Beyond that, I was able to shift up and down through the gears once the car was in motion. I added lots of neat little extras to the car that should make that hour commute a lot more fun. The car is definitely small, but should have enough room for my 4 year old’s carseat and my 12 year old daughter – our older son will probably be too big to ride in the back so he can stay home while the wife and I take the other two for a cruise. =) Since the dealer was closed, the info could not be completely entered into the system, so now I’m waiting for the dealer to call me on Monday with my vehicle number that I can use to track the car as it is built and transported to me over the next 6-8 weeks. Stay tuned.