Apr 29th, 2013
In Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, the narrator takes the reader on a journey that explores the nature of “Quality” as a thing we all instinctually understand, but none of us can adequately define. His conclusion [SPOILER ALERT] is that what we perceive (if only peripherally) as quality is itself the source of all existence, and that quality is achieved when a person takes care to do, or build, or fix something well. That’s a rather inadequate summary of a book full of interesting ideas, but that concept of quality, and especially its definition, has me thinking about the word and its relationship to the next generation MINI, the F56. In fact it has me thinking about what the real secret sauce is when it comes to making a MINI a MINI. Hint – it’s not a central speedometer.
Nov 7th, 2012
In 12 months time we had little complaints about our long-term Countryman. Save for the short range and rigid ride (thanks to the run flats), living with the R60 was painless. Except for one major design flaw of course; the clutch. In our experience, all the auxiliary components in the driveline combined with the standard MINI clutch, created a tangible lack of feel at the point of clutch engagement. In English; you would stall the thing early and often. It didn’t matter how experienced one was at rowing the gears, nothing would prepare you for how terribly the clutch engaged. And from 2012 November production onward, MINI has updated the clutch and the issue is no longer. But what about current owners with the issue? And is the Paceman affected? Read on.
Jul 8th, 2009
It’s something we’ve been wondering for years. Is MINI immune to quality control issues? I’d say yes and no. The recent quality issues I speak of are the much publicized results of the recent JD Power survey where MINI came in last (with authority I might add). I think there are two reasons that these results don’t impact MINI as much as other cars. As mentioned in a recent New York Times piece, much of the complaints new owners have revolve around the complex (and at first maddening) interface controls of the climate, sound and car control systems. We can just imagine the confusion most consumers have getting into a new MINI for the first time coming from such appliance like cars as a Camry or Civic. While the interface may not be ideal (we’d call it less than ideal) it is something that people get use to. So a fault, yes. A quality control issue? Not in our book. This is the first problem with the survey and a larger problem with how JD Power conducts the tests themselves. continued →