MINI Wins Automobile Magazine Comparison

The Cooper S has won another magazine comparo. This time from the highly respected Automobile Magazine and the cars are the new Mistubishi Eclipse, Mustang and Acrua RSX Type S. Certainly an interesting comparison. Here’s an excerpt:

Driving these cars reinforces the fact that the talk of a decline in enthusiasm for small, sporty coupes is so much hype, because there’s always room for lots of style in a personal package. The Mitsubishi Eclipse GT makes a big statement in a car that’s just right for everyday driving, but it’s a little too big for real driving excitement. The Ford Mustang V-6 is the best ride yet for a trip to the ice cream store on Saturday night, but it’s better if you don’t want to get there quickly. The Acura RSX Type-S is a pure driver’s car, but you have to drive it so hard that it can wear you out.

For us, the Mini Cooper S is the best of these cars. Completely utilitarian yet utterly stylish, the Mini Cooper S is the most personal expression you can buy for twenty-five grand, especially because its broad range of accessories ensures that no two cars are alike. Meanwhile, it drives like sports cars that are three times more expensive and turns every trip into an adventure.

The design guys have reminded us with these sporty cars that it’s possible to make big-time style available to everyone, and the Mini Cooper S proves how great the result can be.

[ 2006 Eclipse meets the RSX, Mustang, and MCS ] Automobile Magazine

MF Analysis: Automobile did the right thing by focusing a bit more on the RSX type S and the MCS. Having driven both I can say that there really isn’t a bad choice to be made. That said, for me the MCS is a more entertaining car on every level. It would seem the Automobile staff feel the same. The other two cars were simply out of their league when it came to the kind of performance most of us would be interested in. Sure the the ‘Stang and the Eclipse have respectable straightline numbers, but neither can attain the all-around performance that the RSX or MINI have in abundance.

  • My girlfriend replaced her (flooded) S2000 with an RSX. I agree with Automobile – you have to really push the RSX, keep the revs up to wring the fun out of it, but it delivers. And when it comes to handling, if you replace the stock tires with something stickier (as we did), it’ll take the corners just about as well as the MCS.

  • mataku

    good to see a comparison of the two. I was considering the MC vs the RSX and ended up with the MC. My little bro was real sad that i didn’t go for the RSX, but he’s just a little asian kid who likes hondas and acuras.

  • Luke

    The only 2 cars I test-drove were the MCS and the RSX. I loved the interior and the overall quality of the RSX, but the way it rolled around corners left a lot to be desired. The ride is a lot softer and I think you give up some handling for that. Nothing aftermarket wheels and suspension couldn’t solve, but I wanted the best car that was stock so choice to get the MCS was clear.

  • Frank

    To me the RSX looks like another cheesy Japanese car. Totally unimpressive design IMO.

    The MINI has all the looks, resale, cool factor, uniqueness, handling, safety above and beyond of what the RSX can possibly offer.

  • RUKnight

    A good friend of mine owns an RSX type S with the a spec suspension package. It’s a very nice car but the stock tires really hold it back. It’s a touch stiffer then my MCS but since I have potenza S03’s my MINI would run away from his RSX in the corners. In terms of power his is stock and I have a pulley and an exhaust. I think I’d have a slight edge there as well. The RSX is a nice car but it just didn’t really do it for me

    I’ve driven a new mustang V6 with the auto and automobile is right on. Great car for cruising at a not to quick pace. Ford really did a great job overall with it though

  • Rene

    I, also, considered the Acura RSX. A friend was selling his, but it was not the S-Type. Another consideration was that I have owned and driven soooo many Hondas that I was really tired of the styling (I did have a 1987 Civic CRX SI, which was a lot fun to drive) and so forth. The MINI just won my heart because it was so unique.

  • 05DSMCS

    I love how the pictures illustrate the performance. Each car shown taking a hard corner looks like it’s plowing it’s front end into the pavement – except for the MCS, only a little lift of the outside back wheel, otherwise it is as level as if it were parked.

  • 05DSMCS

    er…inside wheel is what I meant

  • Xan

    I tooled around with a friend in an RSX-S for a while, but never considered it before my MINI. What I felt was the most lacking was the weightless shifter feel. Just didn’t have the feel that I have grown accustomed to with my getrag tranny. That said, it was hella fast . . . I was just trying to reach the VTEC when the power kicked in at redline and ended up at 80 in a 40 . . . oops.

    While I enjoyed the rush to the redline that the Honda VTEC offers, it is not nearly as livable as the short-shifting MCS. I appreciate my torque plateau in the midrange where I can get to it without winding it out.

  • scotteast

    Just a minor note: The Automobile article actually compares the V6 Mustang (and not the GT) to the other cars. Given the price and the HP, it’s an appropriate comparision.

  • Ned Nissly

    I totally agree with the comment in the article that the MINI Cooper S “drives like sports cars that are three times more expensive . . .” I owned both a 2003 MCS and a 2002 Porsche Boxster S but recently sold the Boxster because the MINI provided all the fun, and nearly all the driving performance, of the Porsche.

  • Greg W

    Things that make you go….hmmm. I hope we don’t see MCS in “The Fast and the Furious 3”.

  • 05DSMCS

    I don’t think MINI would be stupid enough to pay to have their cars in a movie like that.

  • F.R Walter

    MINI should be paid, a lot, to allow there car in a movie like that!!

  • Edge

    I disagree, MINI should be paid nothing at all for it… by… simply… NOT doing it!

  • Osmodious

    The only thing they generally don’t talk about in these articles is the owner experience…I know it’s a tough thing to do, but Autoweek ALWAYS talks about that part, if only briefly (and they have owner comments). The reason I say this is because it might have an impact on a comparison like this…at Ford, Quality is job None; Mitsu is pretty good, though their dealers can be jerks; Acura is impeccable (my friend has only had one small problem with his RSX, and the dealer bent over backwards to make sure the impact to him was minimal); and Mini needs to work on it, a lot (I have had tons of little annoyances with my ’04 MCS and, on the few they have managed to fix, it takes multiple visits…my seat has been loose since last August, even after 9 trips in, for example). I wouldn’t trade my Mini for an RSX all dollars being equal, but if they want to charge a premium price they should be providing a clearly superior product, quality-wise.

  • gokartride

    I’m a Mini guy so MINI is the car for me…no comparison.

  • I don’t have that issue floating around my house anymore, but if you read the stats that were in the magazine, the MCS outpaced the Mustang in the 0-60 catagory. I guess the entry level ‘stang really is a ‘Pony’ car.

  • Nick Kasoff

    Minis are number one at being really fun. I had a 99 Mustang, and hated it. As a previous poster said, at Ford, Quality is job None. My ’05 Mini convertible has been flawless.

  • Kawakii

    I love my RSX –wouldn’t trade it for anything. Only thing that bums me out is that my acura hasn’t put out a more efficent ipod connection for this model.

  • Izzy

    i have an 05 rsx type s (and given i have only owned hondas/ acuras) i dont think there is a car in the world that could make me go to another car company. hondas will last forever and you can tweak the motors to get tons of EXTRA power out of them. the small things that need to be improved on doesnt really matter since most gear heads replace or “upgrade” to new rims and tires, suspension, and so forth. but i am still open minded and just might have to go test drive some minis now 🙂