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I've heard lots of comparions of the Element to a "Baby Hummer". I suppose it's natural to consider the Element as a thinking man's Hummer just based on external looks. But really, it's so much more than that. Personally, I've never had the slightest inclination towards a Humvee. Rather, I've been viewing the Element as a thinking man's Volvo station wagon, or Subaru Forrester or Outback, or maybe as a thinking man's mini-van, or a more practical version of a small pickup. But today, I parked next to a MINI Cooper S, and got to thinking about comparisons of these two vehicles.

This might at first seem like an odd comparison, but I think it's not as odd as might initially be believed. Both the Mini Cooper and the Honda Element are red-hot 4 seater, 4 bangers that have wide appeal to a whole range of people that for whatever reason desire to own vehicles that are a bit different. In fact, when the MINIs came out, I considered getting on the waiting list, but quickly dismissed the thought as impractical, and surprisingly expensive.

Parking next to the MINI made me realize that the Element really wasn't all that terribly much bigger, but seemed to make much better use of the footprint that it occupied. But what really surprised me was doing a comparison of the fully loaded Element EX Auto 4WD to the fully loaded MINI Cooper S on cars.com (Note, that I purposely only compared the higher end, more loaded versions of both cars. A comparison of the Element DX to the standard Mini, might further make the point that Mini owners really aren't getting much car for their buck.)

The following has not been checked for accuracy:

Element 4WD auto EX trim level starting at $20,850:
2.4litre, 4 cly. engine producing [email protected],500rpm
curb wt. 3595lbs
max. towing cap. 1500lbs.
fuel ecconomy 21-24mpg
recommended fuel standard unleaded 86 octane or higher
auto trans. std.
manual trans. (not yet)
cruise control (std. EX)
OAL 166.5"
OAW 71.5"
Ht. 74"
wheelbase 101.4"
front headroom 43.3"
rear headroom 39.4"

MINI Cooper S (supercharged version) starting at$19,425
1.6l super charged 4cyl. engine producing [email protected]
curb wt. 2524lbs.
max towing capacity N/A (are you kidding?)
fuel ecconomy 25-34mpg (are THEY kidding? not great!)
recommended fuel 91 octane!!! (Is this right? Minis need premium?)
auto trans. N/A (nope!)
manual trans. 6 spd (sounds like fun!)
cruise control optional
OAL 143.9"
OAW 66.5"
Ht. 55.8"
wheelbase 97.1"
front headroom 38.8"
rear headroom 37.8"

So, basically, for not much more money, Element owners get:
*4 doors instead of 2
*limited off road capability
*a bit worse gas mileage
*much more room for passengers
*incredibly more room for cargo, in an amazing number of configurations and permutations of the flexible interior, as opposed to the static interior of the MINI
*ability to tow a small trailer
*Honda reliability
*ability to use standard unleaded gas
 

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OK, this is hillarious!

After hub and I ordered the Element....when he'd describe to people what it looks like this is what he'd say...."It looks like a humvee and a mini cooper had a baby." People would instantly get a general idea about it's overall appearance and instantly say..."ooohhh kewl!".

So, your mini cooper analogy is completely correct! We've been saying it for months! ;) Touche!

Angie :D
 

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As a person who owned an original Mini Cooper S many years ago, I was rather disappointed by the performance and feel of the new model. The old one was superbly balanced, agile, breathtakingly fast and felt glued to the road. Interior space wasn't compromised by any great design objective for comfort, but then it was so much fun you didn't really notice that it was really little different that piloting a park bench on castors.

The new Cooper S on the other hand is quick, but not blindingly so. It feels safe on the road but not bonded to it, and while it's remarkably comfortable, I didn't get out of it with the same sense of exhilaration and joy that accompanied even a trip to the store in the old S. I was really a little disappointed. Of course comfort and safety features are far more fundamental now than then, and thus the deisgn brief is somewhat different. But the spirit of the Cooper S isn't there and instead of raw and wild, you get a beautifully crafted compact that hints at a heritage but doesn't quite follow it.

Strangely, when I got in the Element and started driving it, there's more of the Cooper spirit in that. Not for the speed and acceleration of the S, but in the feel of the car, the responsiveness to controls, the bare functionality and the smile it encourages in those who drive it, the energetic engine that seems willing to work hard, the fact it can be hussled along back roads with a sense of connectivity to the road - and the fact you can feel what it's doing and become almost part of the machine. I think that's why I bought my Element, and why I find driving it is unnervingly addictive!
 

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I also was very interested in the Mini and went through a period of really wanting one. I needed a car and couldn't wait indefinitely to be granted the chance of owning one. So I bought an Acura RSX-S instead.

I liked that car, but it didn't really have the 'it' factor for me. The Element does have 'it', whatever strange alchemy 'it' represents. I briefly considered a Mini, but when I was out shopping and was told I had to make an appointment for a test drive :eek: and they had a vending machine for brochures :shock:, I got turned off. :x

Maybe someday I'll go back for a test drive, but I have no Mini-envy left. I am more than happy with my E, my 'it' car, my Mist-E. 8)
 

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Kind of resurecting an old topic here, but for a goof, me and my girlfriend test drove a Mini Cooper (not the S model) yesterday. That thing (with an automatic and the base engine) could not get out of it's own way. It was very sluggish, and it had kind of a "go-kart" feel to it. I'm so used to the Element's tall posture (compared to the Mini), driving in that thing was practically driving on the ground. I'm 6'5", and I fit in there. It has more legroom than the E. As far as the backseat goes, it's pretty much worthless. The switches would take a while to get used to, and the tachometer and speedometer placements are kind of weird. It's a fun car to drive (I drove an automatic with the "auto-stick"), but I should have test drove a manual one. The model I tested was stickered at $23K+. After driving that, I'm happy with the E. I noticed they had at least 10 or 15 Mini's on the lot. I think their novelty is fading a bit.
 

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Why the supposition that an Element owner is any more or less a "thinker" then any other consumer? :oops:
 

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[quote:0a16a79f70="angiebanana"]OK, this is hillarious!

After hub and I ordered the Element....when he'd describe to people what it looks like this is what he'd say...."It looks like a humvee and a mini cooper had a baby."
Angie :D[/quote:0a16a79f70]

yeah, I think Car and Driver termed it this way, too...along with a Rubbermaid analogy thrown in. I call it the Hummer/Mini Love Child! :lol:

Steve
 

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[quote:8418c9e046="natural wonder"]

MINI Cooper S (supercharged version) starting at$19,425
1.6l super charged 4cyl. engine producing [email protected]
curb wt. 2524lbs.
max towing capacity N/A (are you kidding?)
fuel ecconomy 25-34mpg (are THEY kidding? not great!)
recommended fuel 91 octane!!! (Is this right? Minis need premium?)
[/quote:8418c9e046]

Actually for a car with forced induction that's pretty respectable mileage.
And again, since the car has a supercharger, 91 octane is proably a must.
 

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When the minis first resurfaced I REALLY wanted one....and I think I just about had my husband convinced to at least consider buying one, but then I met and fell in love with my E.....now whenever we see a Mini we comment on how we could have ever considered spending that much money on that car.....when for the same ammount we got our most awesome E!

My hubbie and I have also used the "Hummer + Mini=E" to describe our E
 

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Fascinating thread. When I was thinking about buying a new vehicle the two vehicles I narrowed down to were the Mini and the Element.

Our children are grown and so "practical" isn't a real necessity. We own a 2002 Dodge Ram 4-dr truck for people/cargo and a 2002 Jeep Wrangler for pure fun and bad winter weather.

So the 3rd vehicle would be for trips back and forth to our lake home and for going to the grocery, Target or out to dinner when the Wrangler was too small/rustic or the truck was gross overkill.

Either the Mini or the Element would do the job and to my eye, both have the "it factor" that others have described. They are similar in the ways described by the original poster- 4-seat, 4-speed funmobiles with at least reasonable economy.

But for me, the Mini S that I wanted with bells and whistles would have been in the $26K neighborhood while the 2wd 5-spd EX that I wanted (don't need 4x4 with the Jeep) ended up costing me $18K delivered- a savings of more than 8K!!

Add to that the additional reliability, versatility, headroom, practicality and safety of the larger Element and it became a no-brainer for me.

I still smile whenever I see a Mini go by, but I wouldn't trade my Galapgos Green Element for one if given the chance. So far the Element has proven ideal for our needs. It would border on "perfect" if the blasted dashboard didn't sound like I was popping corn continously! :lol:

So... I think the comparison is well-founded. I didn't narrow my choice down to a Hummer or an Element even though I can see a family resemblance. I narrowed it down to a Mini or an Element. And I like the idea of Elements being the offspring of a Hummer/Mini mating! 8)

Steve
 

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About 6 months ago I was thinking of getting a Cooper S myself but I had so much bad luck with the VW that was only 2 years old and finding out that the Mini was made by BMW these days I was turned off by the fact that it was another Bosch Bug that would be expensive as hell to fix and knowing that there where probably some of the same electrical components in both the VW and the Mini, I was speculating regret if I bought one. I am very happy with the Element, it is 2 months old now and already has a better track record than the Jetta after 2 months of owning that car.
 

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[quote:29928c534c="ShaneS"]knowing that there where probably some of the same electrical components in both the VW and the Mini[/quote:29928c534c]

One of the laws of vehicles:

British built = electrical problems.
 

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Come on let's be honest. The E would be the bastard resulting from a Humvee raping a mini, not a love child.
 

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gibroni said:
Come on let's be honest. The E would be the bastard resulting from a Humvee raping a mini, not a love child.
Assuming the Humvee could catch the Mini, of course. But if this is the case, should we demand child support?
 

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The E and the Mini have some similarities. Both standout in a crowd, are fun to drive, and not for everyone. Both also have a certain cool and a very loyal and loud constituancy. Both have clubs like this.

I like being lumped with other offbeat, cool, or cliquish vehicles. It suits the E.

Some call the Element the Hummer H .5

You could say the E is a cross between a Mini and a Hummer (or maybe a Jeep).

No matter what it is like the E still stands out. And in our world of generic sedans, that is a good thing.
 

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the fact that this is a two year old post makes me really freaked out that on post #6, zarthustras signature.... :shock: eek!
 

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Ummm, what is this Mini bashing thread going on here? My girlfriend has a Black top Cream Mini (Automatic, not the S). It is, in my opinion, a very fine car. Probably the best in it's class for the money and a joy to drive. The automatic has that manual stick shift thing where you can actually drive it like a manual transmission by tapping the shift knob but without the use of a clutch. Pretty cool in my estimation. The service contract is also pretty sweet as the dealer will actually pick up your car and give you a loaner if need be.
I can't compare it to the old mini, as I have never driven that car. But I can tell you that the new one can hug curves like it's on a rail (cliche', I know). I've driven this car to Vegas and hit speeds over a hundred and ten with plenty of room to spare on the gas pedal. Seriously, it felt like I was going 60mph. Very tight and controllable with alot of kick even in the highest gear. Great interior styling and well made. A great dash with toggles, fine instrument panels and spiffy dials. The engine is quiet and strong.

Seeing my NBP Element next to my girlfriend's Mini in the garage gives me a big kick. It's a perfect pair for fun+function+more fun. These two cars were meant to be with each other. They are both cool, functional, and a joy to drive. Swapping cars for a day or two is no problemo for either of us. No one here has to drive a Camry.

By the way, the Mini is not a small car. You can get alot of stuff in it, if you fold the back seats down. The interior is also very wide and comfortable and efficient room in the back seats. Not good for a Home Depot run, but you can still do all of your grocery shopping.
 

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silverfish said:
Ummm, what is this Mini bashing thread going on here?
I don't think anyone has bashed the MINI here.
But you are right they do go together nicely.
I got the MINI to keep my wife away from the Element.
Here's mine.





 

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It's funny we should get all the Humvee refernces. My buddies pete and Josh Call the E the " H .5 " for Half a Hummer.... I think its the coolest ca ever. So stoked to own one. Does anyone know of any funny E Bumper stickers and were to find them?
 
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