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Last night I noticed about one of the few cars smaller than an Insight on the road - a Mini Cooper. Of all things, it's a four-seater.

Here is my thought - Honda should build a hybrid styled like the Mini Cooper. I think it should be a little larger. You could almost argue that the Element is a Mini Cooper trying to be an SUV. Some say the Mini Cooper is ugly, but it sells. The Insight gets about double the mpg.
 

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Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....

I once owned a cousin of the Mini... a 1966-model MG 1100. As I recall, it was similar (if not identical, if differently-badged) to the Austin America, and a bit larger than the Mini. Every once in a blue moon, one or the other pops up on eBay (usually as "parts cars"... siiiiiiiigh).

Front driver, seated 4... the enormeous trunk extended under the seats in back (you could slide a small folding card table under there and close the lid! :shock: )... went like stink and handled about as well as anything handled in the mid-60's. It was tiny (not much longer than an MGB as I recall, and about as wide). I remember it got 25-30 mpg back then on a tiny, east-west four-banger with the radiator in the left wheelwell :roll: ...

Got rid of it because of the electric gremlins (daily appearances... had nothing to do with the 12v positive ground system), a screaming speedometer (a mechanical bar would go left-to-right under a row of horizontally-oriented numbers, numerous trips to dealer for lubrication never cured the noise problem, think of a muted blender on "liquefy" for a sample), and non-existent dealership network for service farther than 20 miles from home...

But now that you mention it... why not a hybrid vehicle like that? It was very useful, large inside, small outside, a ton of storage room, fun to drive (I first learned how to do bootleg turns with the handbrake in this, my first-ever front driver... I'm grinning right now) :D ...

Let me think... Honda quality, all of the above virtues, none of the gremlins, and 50-60 mpg... Yes, I'd buy one tomorrow :mrgreen:
 

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Ehh, I went for a ride in a mini cooper S with a friend who was considering buying one. Interesting little car in deed, build quality is really good as it is a BMW, but overall something didn't impress me. Although I have to admit that they are smart with how they are selling them. To get a mini cooper S you have to put down a $1,000 deposit to get on the list. In a few months they contact you and you put down another $1,000 to get an order, finally about 7 months after that you finally get the car. They are smart because they have kept the demand high even years after they were first sold. And used ones with 10,000 miles on them are bringing MSRP still.

I dunno, the new Mini's are novel, but from what I saw not really all they are hyped up to be. Still, I like their billboards "Lets sip gas, not guzzle."
 

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Wow. I'd buy a Mini Cooper in a heartbeat if I had the funds, hybrid or no. Those things are aimed right at me (so I'm a sucker) but I don't mind. I have a two-stall carport, and my husband refuses to get rid of the Accord. Where would we park the Cooper? Right behind the Insight -- they'd only combine to take one spot!
 

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I don't quite understand the excitement about the Mini. It is just a small car. Presumably the BMW version of the Mini has only just hit the American market? Glad they are using MPG as a selling point.
 

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Mini has been in the US since 2000 I believe. They have become a novel car to have for those with enough money to play around with. Fuel economy is sorta accounted for. One of their billboards is "Let's sip gas, not guzzle." Still, the 5 speed is rated for 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. I think the goal was more to make a fun to drive car than a fuel sipper. This is evident in the fact that they offer not only an optional supercharged version, but also a 6 speed and performance suspension packages.

That billboard has since been taken down, but it was very ironic that it was the next one say a half mile away from the one before it that was an advertisment for a big Dodge truck.
 

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The Mini is not for everyone... but...

If you appreciate the Insight, you owe it to yourself to test-drive a Mini. It's just a hoot... and the smaller-is-better movement is not a bad thing as far as I'm concerned. I'm not saying you have to love it, just drive one to see what the hoopla is all about.

And if you get hold of a CooperS! Oh, my, gawd! That thing is just a little rocket.

I envy the Euros with their little Smart cars and other maneuverable, fun, small vehicles that we will never in a million years get here (because of our litigious society, our "gotta have some metal around me" attitudes, and our cheeep gas). When My Beloved and I hop the pond, I make every effort to drive and rent as many cool, unavailable-here vehicles in Europe as I can... and the Mini is just one available-to-us sample of the wares we don't get over here. We're lucky to have it... almost as lucky as we are to have the Insight! :mrgreen:
 

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I did go for a ride in a cooper S. It was alright, that ride included hard enough acceleration and cornering to make the guy giving the test drive look nervous. It was fun, but overall I don't think they lived up to their hype. The friend who was test driving the car ended up buying a S2000, which now that I've been in both the S2000 is a lot more fun. Not to mention a 9000 rpm red line and over 200 hp at the rear wheels from a 2 liter engine. It's just impressive. And it's a Honda too. But thats just my opinion.
 

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Yeah, Rick...

Given the choice between a Mini Cooper S and a "Stookey," I'd get the Honda fer shure. Yes, it's a little more "nervous" when you drive it, but that adds to the thrill, don't it...

I didn't mention before because I forgot, but the Mini runs on (gasp! :evil: ) premium fuel. That really good mileage idea sure takes a hit when you're spending more for gas from day one. As long as you're going a little deeper into the Visa, I'd leave the Mini behind for my trusted Honda reliability.

Your opinion is always valued; as they say, "that's what makes horse races." I'd just like to see more variety in the hybrid world, which I have no doubt is coming... :D
 

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S2000 = S2K = Stookey. I love it :lol:

Kip
 

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Discussion Starter #12
counselorkv said:
Don' you think the Mini looks just a little bit like the very first hondas?
My first Honda was a 1974 Civic. The body style was similar.
 

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Mini look-alikes...

Oh, yes, the earlier Hondas looked a lot like the Minis. Other cars as well... there's a good reason for that...

Sir Alec Issigonis designed both the Morris Minor and the Morris Mini-Minor (the Mini), front-drive vehicles that carried the greatest payload in the smallest practical space. This "two box" approach maximized passenger space and minimized propulsion space. If you wanted that combo from any manufacturer, front-wheel-drive and a two-box design was the most elegant way to go.

My first Honda... a '80 retina-searing, VERY bright yellow 5-speed Civic (I called it "Tweety-Pie yellow" so My Beloved at the time [I forget which roman numeral she was :roll: ] picked the personalized plate "2ET PIE" :roll: ) looked just like a Mini from the side, at least to me. Sure was a fun little booger, would return 35 mpg, go 100+ mph, and cost us less than $5,600 with tax, title, and license... and air! I miss the old days... :cry:
 

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A local mechanic/enthusiast put an integra engine and a supercharger into pristine 1990 CRX SI body. Except for the wheels, muffler and a Japanese convex hood it looks stock. Puts out about 230 HP. Of course no one would ever do that to an Insight. :wink:
 

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Delta Flyer said:
Last night I noticed about one of the few cars smaller than an Insight on the road - a Mini Cooper. Of all things, it's a four-seater.

Here is my thought - Honda should build a hybrid styled like the Mini Cooper. I think it should be a little larger. You could almost argue that the Element is a Mini Cooper trying to be an SUV. Some say the Mini Cooper is ugly, but it sells. The Insight gets about double the mpg.
I own both a 2001 Insight and a 2002 MINI Cooper. While I would like to have a Hybrid Civic to compliment the Insight, I ended up with the MINI for mostly personal bias. However, for us, couple with no children, the combination of both cars works out perfectly.

The Insight is perfect for highways, and gets really good mileage if the conditions are optimal. But for short trips and city streets, MINI is a better choice. The quick acceleration, driver's visibility in all directions, the small footprint, etc. all make the MINI a great car for the hectic city environment.

There are many obvious reasons why Insight gets better mileage, but I'll only concentrate on the issue of shape. In order to maximize interior space over a small footprint, you'd notice that MINI is designed with the bonnet to be only about 20% of the car. The boxy body and tall profile gives it a much larger drag compare to the Insight. Again, as a compliment to the Insight, I get A LOT of cargo space for a small car that's easy to park anywhere. Now that I don't have a trunk (but I do have a "boot"), I don't keep TRASH or useless stuff and haul around extra weight like I used to.

With traction control and great handling, when the weather is really bad, we usually park the Insight and carpool in the MINI. And of course, when we have more than two persons in a group, we have to take the four-seater MINI.

While I feel that we are doing well as ANTI-SUV advocates, the MINI had done a far better job than the Insight. While I don't get as great of mileage from the MINI, I am just as proud to drive both cars.

I will probably trade in my MINI for a Diesel version of the Cooper, once the new Diesel laws kicks in the next few years, and MINI can finally import the One-D. And with a Diesel vehicle, I may even look into home-made biodiesel...


BTW, since the original topic is about building hybrids that's smaller than the Insight, here's my old post about the Hybrid mini-car:

http://www.insightcentral.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=728
 

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Ok I just found out that for the movie the Italian Job for the scene inside the subway tunnel they wern't allowed to use Internal Combustion so they made 3 mini's full electric. Now that would be a cool conversion.

I could just see it now, AC propulsion drive train, lithion ion pack, should give you about a 250 mile range and enough power to play with your average Ferrari!
http://www.acpropulsion.com/
There's come cool videos of their Tzero drag racing some very expensive cars.
 

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MINIs are about 2,600 lbs. I don't know anything about the EV technology these days, but with that much weight, can an EV MINI really achieve 250 Miles? I was thinking that the retrofitted MINIs probably just go a few miles for the sake of a few movie shots, and that's about it... [shrug]

Charles
 

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Ok, you could do 200 miles anyways. I didn't think the new mini's weighed that much. This would be with a lithium ion battery pack. If you had a lead acid pack in a conversion your looking at more like a 50 mile or less usable range. It really depends on how efficient of a drive train you use. For the movie I'm sure the cars only had a few miles of range, thats all they'd need, I'm just saying you could give it more range easily. I'm not exactly sure where you could put batteries though. Maybe under the floor boards if they wern't too low.

Now, FYI there has already been one Insight EV conversion. It's got an AC drive train and initially the guy had some hawker batteries in it to see if it would work out and he eventually went to a lithium ion and has a 250 mile range on the car.

Only drawback, lithium ion is expensive still. But even with a small sealed lead acid pack given the limited dimensions you could still design a fast little 30 mile commuter mini fairly easily.
 
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