Thursday, December 6, 2007

Mini makes everything better

I had the pleasant experience of using Zipcar again. And this time around, there would be no denying me my Mini Cooper experience. So pleased was I that I needed to share it with my friends.

I was just a bit excited about my Mini.

When I picked it up this morning, I jumped up and down like an idiot and clapped as the lot attendant drove it up to me. It was red! It was shiny! It came with a medallion, not a key! You press a button to start it! It had a hard drive! I am so simple to please.

I got in and absorbed the coolness of the car. My first favorite thing was that there is a "Start/Stop" button to turn the car on and off. When you insert the medallion into the keyslot, the car emits a couple of pleasant tones, not the monotone beeps normal cars give. I know the button is slowly becoming a common feature in cars but it felt very "Get Smart" to me. I was also happy about the amount of interior room -- plenty. I'm pretty tall and I was wearing heels but I didn't feel crowded at all. My God, I am totally this car's target demographic. Minus the money to buy it or room to store it when not in use.

The car's interior had appealing styling and
was quite roomy for a little coupe.

A car is a ridiculous luxury in New York City. But somehow driving a compact makes it seem a little less challenging while maintaining an air of extravagance. I may have been on-level with the wheels of most of the SUVs, but I felt small, maneuverable and sneaky. Plus, I was jonesing for some driving time. At one point, I switched the car into fake manual mode so I could utilize the steering wheel shift paddles.

It's a dangerous yet thrilling experience driving in the city. And pretending like I'm Charlize Theron in the "Italian Job" remake makes it twice as fun. I deftly weaved and bobbed through the midday traffic on may to New Jersey, and channeled my inner stunt driver on the way back through the Holland Tunnel.

Back in Manhattan, I picked up a friend to drive to lunch. As I drove up to his office, I tooted the horn and waved like a madwoman. He was completely cool and reminded me that he drives a company Mercedes, so he would not be impressed by my temporary Mini. But after wheeling our way through midtown he admitted he was a bit impressed. After lunch he asked if he could drive it. Sorry buddy, I replied, this baby's all mine.

After work I gave BFF M a ride home from her job. She at least shared in my excitement. With the sun long gone, we utilized the double sunroof to take in the skyscrapers at night. At one point we drove under the giant snowflake by 5th Ave in the 60s and got a killer view from underneath. We agreed that with our (pretend) million dollar bonuses from work, a Mini Cooper would be on our list of purchases.

The only downside? I had to gas up the car and it is not cheap. Though the gas fees are included in the Zipcar membership, I was still a bit disturbed when a tank fill-up cost $45. Minis take premium fuel and it has been awhile since I bought a tank. I forgot how expensive gas has gotten.

Sadly, Mini Cooper is now back at the garage for another Zipster to use. But I must say that for all the times I miss Hunk, my old SUV, it is nice to be free to see other cars every once in awhile.

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