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Hi All, first post on this forum for me. My wife is looking to change her 2016 VW Polo Blue GT for a Mini Cooper. She's narrowed it down so far to two cars (both at a dealer nearby). The one she prefers is a Sept 2020 Cooper (not S) exclusive, with Pano Roof, Leather, Harmon Kardon and in Indian Summer red metallic (which she loves). As I understand it, the car has a 1.5 3 cylinder engine with 136ps and a 7 speed DSG auto gearbox. We've test driven this car yesterday and whilst it generally went very well, I do have a few questions please, as her and me having come from 20 years of just VW's, the Mini brand is brand new to us.

1. The steering felt really heavy, (certainly compared with VW's we are used to), it's the first thing we both commented on. Is that just the way that Mini's are set up ? We checked to make sure we weren't in Sport mode, but tried it in Mid and Green (I think that's what they were called) modes, and it didn't get any lighter. The dealer on return indicated that's how people that buy mini's like them, but it was it thought a touch heavy for a car that will spend the majority of it's life manoeuvring town centre traffic and supermarket car parks. One thing I did notice was that the TPMS bonged at us at when I went into the tyre menu, it showed both fronts at 2 bar and one rear at 1.8 bar and the other at 1.6bar. I know the backs were underinflated but that wouldn't affect the steering, unless 2 bar is way too low even on the fronts ? Is this just the way Mini's are please ?

2. After sitting in a new Mini in the showroom, I immediately noticed that "our car" had a much smaller infotainment screen with thick plastic boarders on each side. On doing a little investigation it seems that car has a 6.5" unit but newer cars come with an 8" unit which looks much nicer? Is this a pretty straightforward conversion or very hard and cost prohibitive ?

3. Finally (and this is subjective), the front of the car (the grill etc), seemed to have just a a little too much Chrome and made it look a little blingy for our tastes. Is there a gloss black option that these can be replaced with, or again would this cost a fortune ?

4. Any major problems with these cars (anything we should double check), or are they pretty reliable little motors generally ?

Thanks in advanced.
 

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Steering can be a bit heavy at slow speeds if the car is equipped with a hydraulic power steering system. As an aside a front wheel drive car has some of the heaviest steering you can imagine. Years ago I bought a 3/4 ton pick up truck. Weighed at least 4000lbs. It had power brakes but no power steering, A real basic model of truck. Oh it was rear wheel drive. The thing required a huge amount of effort to turn but I quickly adapted.

Skip some years. In my 2002 VW Golf TDi -- all 2800lbs of it and front wheel drive -- lost power steering on the freeway when the accessory drive v-belt broke. But steering -- least least when it came to changing lanes -- was fine.

When I got to the exit I wanted for the VW dealer I stopped at a light. When the light changed I had to make a sharp (90 degree) turn to the left. I went to turn the wheel and it would not budge. I had to stop and back up and then make a real effort to turn the wheel and managed to get it turned to make the turn. It was I swear harder to steer that VW than it was the pick up truck..

Cars fitted with electric power steering can have -- my experience at any rate -- much lighter steering at slow speed courtesy of the electric power steering system which can be commanded to provide more assist at slower speeds and less at higher speeds to avoid twitchy steering.

The MINI's steering weight is also affected by what tires are fitted. My 2018 MINI JCW fitted with run flats had reasonably light steering. My 2023 MINI S fitted with non run flats is a heavier steering car. Not by much but some.

The tires should be properly inflated. If the rears are under inflated this can reduce the right height at the rear of the car and while clearance is not a worry this changes the caster angle of the front tires/wheels. This can affect steering effort. At least theoretically.

For now I would advise you to get the tires inflated correctly. And remember for every 10F change in temperature tire pressure changes by 1psi. So if you inflate the tires to the correct temperature at say 50F if the temperature drops to 30F the tires will lose about 2psi of pressure. To avoid this in cold weather I inflate the tires a few psi over at 50F so when the temperature overnight drops to 30F when I get in the car the tire pressures are lower than they were but because I alllowed for some loss of pressure due to temperature falling they are not under inflated.

For the screen and trim I can't help you.

For reliability my info is the newer MINIs, circa 2014, are better than previous versions but one must thoroughly check out any used MINI to confirm it runs/drives right and manifests no issues on the road and that all systems work. From the headlights to the tail lights and everything between.

You want to consider only a stock car, with no accidents, and one which you can have some confidence has received good servicing.
 

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2019 Cooper S F55 Exclusive Thunder Grey
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Steering is not generally overly heavy, I'm not sure what the pressures should be on a 1.5 but on the S I think they're about 2.3 bar front so check what they should be as under inflation will make a big difference. I'm surprised a dealer would let it go out on a test ride with incorrect pressures, get them to sort it and test drive it again. Is it a mini main dealer? My S has the smaller infotainment and I get on with okay, even when using the sat nav, and it's very intuitive and easy to use. Overall this generation of mini are pretty reliable without any major issues. Buy with confidence and enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. Yes it was a main Mini dealer (part of a very big chain). Just after we started the test drive the Tyre pressure warning came on. Rather than press our luck as we were only 1/2 mile away from the dealer, we turned round and headed back. We then told the salesman what had happened, he came out to the car, brought up the TPMS menu, and just said, “yeah they are a little under inflated, but you’ll be fine” and sent us back out for the test ?
 

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The steering felt really heavy, (certainly compared with VW's we are used to), it's the first thing we both commented on. Is that just the way that Mini's are set up ?
If we ignore the fact that i never tried that particular car at the mentioned dealership, yes, that is the way MINI are set up. However, it only feels heavy in comparison, because you are used to another car that has a light steering. Outside of any comparison, the steering is not too heavy and can be easily handled on a daily basis. After driving the MINI for a while, you may find other cars unnecessarily light. Like, sometimes i use car sharing and they have a lot of Peugeot e-2008. Every time i sit down in one of those, it feels like i am holding a toy steering wheel.

It’s an apples and oranges thing, but i also have a Mercedes with a pretty light steering wheel at parking speed and i prefer how the MINI is set up. You can feel more road rather than the power steering.

2 bars in the front wheels is a bit on the low side and could affect steering, but not much really. Expect about the same “heaviness” all the time. Except winter tyres, it’s lighter on winters.

seems that car has a 6.5" unit but newer cars come with an 8" unit which looks much nicer? Is this a pretty straightforward conversion or very hard and cost prohibitive ?
It’s not rocket science but more complicated that one would like.
Better get a bigger infotainment if you want it.
the front of the car (the grill etc), seemed to have just a a little too much Chrome and made it look a little blingy for our tastes. Is there a gloss black option that these can be replaced with, or again would this cost a fortune ?
There is a dechrome kit and it does not cost a fortune, but i never researched this topic too much. But you can find enough info on the forum and Internet.
Any major problems with these cars (anything we should double check), or are they pretty reliable little motors generally ?
Not really. No common issues with engines and gearbox and all the expensive stuff.
There was a fuel tank breather valve issue (but i can’t say it’s like very common)
There was an issue with upper engine mount but i think it should be fixed on newer cars or at least there is a service recall for that. If you are looking for a 3-door, fix the “door seals on B-pillar rub on paint” issue and that’s it.
 

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Hi and welcome Sootchucker. That name looks familiar from a certain VW forum where I've been known to lurk.

Steering deffo heavier than say a Golf or Polo but you do get used to it. From memory my F54 is meant to be 2.3 bar fronts - I guess the F56 will be similar but the door pillar info panel will confirm the correct pressure values for your wife's car.

Good luck with the new motor. (y)
 

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Tyre pressure will depend on wheel size and kerb weight of the car - these are the pressure guides from my F54 Clubman Cooper S (red) and the wife's 3 door Cooper D (orange). Steering weight will be different for different tyre size and you should notice firmer steering in sport mode compared to the other two.

Font Electric blue Handwriting Display device Menu

Font Menu Gas Signage Number
 

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Thanks guys. Yes it was a main Mini dealer (part of a very big chain). Just after we started the test drive the Tyre pressure warning came on. Rather than press our luck as we were only 1/2 mile away from the dealer, we turned round and headed back. We then told the salesman what had happened, he came out to the car, brought up the TPMS menu, and just said, “yeah they are a little under inflated, but you’ll be fine” and sent us back out for the test ?
That was when you should have gotten out of the car and walked off the lot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi and welcome Sootchucker. That name looks familiar from a certain VW forum where I've been known to lurk.

Good luck with the new motor. (y)
Yup - that's me - New to all this non VW stuff :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

All with all the forums I'm part of, I'll do my best to contribute where possible, but for the time being just think it will be lots of questions - sorry !
 

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2016 Mini Cooper Convertible, Blazing Red
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Retrofits on MINIs are often expensive, complicated, or simply not possible do to each car's wiring and coding being unique to the original specification. Head units can be upgraded, but it won't be fun or cheap. Many YouTube videos on this. The chrome grill surround can be changed out, and the part isn't expensive. However, to do it right you have to remove the entire front bumper. There are YouTube videos on this as well, including a couple where people have removed the grill without taking the bumper off. They didn't have an easy time of it.
 

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If your handy with a spanner changing the front grill to gloss black is very easy, you can get stick on ones but OEM looks better. Light surrounds and belt line just clip on so easy enough to change, again you can get stuck on one's. I went for stick on door handles and petrol cap as it was cheaper but OEM for the grill and lights.
Steering in the F56 is heavier then your average car but not to the point it's an arm workout. When I jump back in the F54 Clubman the front end feels very light in comparison. Both are on 18's but the wider clubman tyres run 2.7/2.2 bar where as I run 3.2/3.0 bar in the 3dr.
 

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Hi All, first post on this forum for me. My wife is looking to change her 2016 VW Polo Blue GT for a Mini Cooper. She's narrowed it down so far to two cars (both at a dealer nearby). The one she prefers is a Sept 2020 Cooper (not S) exclusive, with Pano Roof, Leather, Harmon Kardon and in Indian Summer red metallic (which she loves). As I understand it, the car has a 1.5 3 cylinder engine with 136ps and a 7 speed DSG auto gearbox. We've test driven this car yesterday and whilst it generally went very well, I do have a few questions please, as her and me having come from 20 years of just VW's, the Mini brand is brand new to us.

1. The steering felt really heavy, (certainly compared with VW's we are used to), it's the first thing we both commented on. Is that just the way that Mini's are set up ? We checked to make sure we weren't in Sport mode, but tried it in Mid and Green (I think that's what they were called) modes, and it didn't get any lighter. The dealer on return indicated that's how people that buy mini's like them, but it was it thought a touch heavy for a car that will spend the majority of it's life manoeuvring town centre traffic and supermarket car parks. One thing I did notice was that the TPMS bonged at us at when I went into the tyre menu, it showed both fronts at 2 bar and one rear at 1.8 bar and the other at 1.6bar. I know the backs were underinflated but that wouldn't affect the steering, unless 2 bar is way too low even on the fronts ? Is this just the way Mini's are please ?

2. After sitting in a new Mini in the showroom, I immediately noticed that "our car" had a much smaller infotainment screen with thick plastic boarders on each side. On doing a little investigation it seems that car has a 6.5" unit but newer cars come with an 8" unit which looks much nicer? Is this a pretty straightforward conversion or very hard and cost prohibitive ?

3. Finally (and this is subjective), the front of the car (the grill etc), seemed to have just a a little too much Chrome and made it look a little blingy for our tastes. Is there a gloss black option that these can be replaced with, or again would this cost a fortune ?

4. Any major problems with these cars (anything we should double check), or are they pretty reliable little motors generally ?

Thanks in advanced.
1. In relation to tyre pressure my father in law has the exact same car as it was a special edition. The tyre pressures should be 2.4 bar at the front & 2.2 bar at the back.

3. In relation to the chrome you could change nut would be expensive. The other option would be to wrap it in PPF which would be alot cheaper

4. ive owned 8 brand new mini coopers, 4 of them being F56's & can say i haven't had any problems. They have been totally reliable.
 
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