I’ve driven an early 160 soft top ND, but that was a long time ago. Although the MINI is low by hatch standards and as a high shoulder line, the Mazda is extremely low - that and the absence of anything immediately behind you in terms of space were the oddest things for me.
I can’t test drive as am very much in an “at risk” group so have pretty much been in my own personal lockdown since last April and I don’t need to take any risks yet - £18,000 is where my window opens and they’re nowhere near that yet.
I tend to make it my business to test drive stuff I have no intention of buying when I’m a bit bored, so have more or less driven most stuff at some point or other!
The other half is taller than me, but I am short - I know my place. I’m just glad I’m being allowed to spend some money Then again as Mickey Rooney said when stood next to Jayne Mansfield once (I think), “Sometimes there are advantages is being short”. I’m 5’5 and have very short hair, so the roof line won’t be bad for me and unless she adopts a beehive I think she should be OK!
The effortlessness of the MINI engine given its larger displacement than most for the size of car, and given its turbo engine is a fair point. I’ve gone past the point of doing green light blasts, to be honest. The derivation of the MINI unit being a de-tuned reworking of the modular design which I think went as far up as the previous shape 328 also counts against it for many people in a hot hatch as it’s quite lazy and uncharacterful and majors on prodigious torque but I’ll adjust. I like it how it is to be honest, and that may underline how unimportant an engine is to me as long as it gets the job done. The pre WLTP version in the F56 Cooper S was a bit more theatrical with a lot more pops and burbles on the downchange, but as much as I thought I would miss them I don’t.
I think it will be a bit of a shock, but it’s not my main thing in a car - if it’s there when I want to use it and I can get an overtake done, I’m fine with that.
I think the absence of rev matching will be a bit of a sod as I’ve got iffy pins these days and can’t be bothered doing it myself!
The Mazda deals are horrendous when you actually see what you’re paying though. My spec Cooper S had a list of over £28k and it’s sub £340 a month with a grand down and a VT after 36 months on 10k mpa. Mazda prices come out above that on a similarly priced new MX-5 (i.e. just a plain Sport model for comparison) but require a £4,000 deposit. I’ve pecked their heads about it in the past and they all say they just don’t have the room that MINI do.
I’ve always found a MINI dealer who will take it down the bottom line when push comes to shove. They have their targets and someone is typically always going to be at the point where it’s worth shifting an expensive MINI at not much margin for the good it does them with the manufacturer and allows them to keep the badge over the door.
Regardless of what they Mazda offering on a new one, I can always confidently whip it at MINI even if they’re not doing me any favours. But since I can’t get a red interior on a new one, it’s academic anyway.
I don’t do a massive amount of long journeys, but you never knows what’s around the corner.
The fact I’m been doing no miles for over a year and am probably not going to be going back to work full time has made a car much less important to me, so I can just buy a used one outright and have four or five years with it and I will be spending much less over that period than I have been recently.
I will certainly be test driving an RF a good few times before committing - I need to see how bad the blind spot is for one thing. But given my alternatives, if I can’t get a good deal on a MINI, the MX-5 gets it by default anyway, as my minimum spec on a Cooper S is a high one with a few key options packs, I won’t take a Cooper and I won’t go near a used one.
The real concerns I have at the moment are:
Do the engines drink oil at all.
Seat condition - a lot of the bolsters seem a bit iffy on not very old ones.
The blind spot on the RF.
How confident am I pushing a rear wheel drive car after all this time.
Can I live with being so low.
Will a garage hold my winter alloys as I can’t be ringed putting them on myself and obviously I won’t be able to take them there (it’s an MX-5!).
The engine might strike me as being hard work, but I think the way I accelerate these days, together with the roads for my commute which are no longer country rat runs but a new by-pass that has opened will make me less bothered.
I am really grateful for your points though, and they are all valid. Have you got or owned an RF? Very interested in anyone else’s experience with regard to things that became issues that they didn’t think would be.
I normally do 14,000 a year and I’ve done less than 1,000 in 14 months, so I think I’ve gone from being car mad to not being that bothered any more!