mw
mw HalfDork
12/16/10 9:34 a.m.

I'm trying to decide on a next car. I love 3drs and want something sporty, but economical in both fuel and maintenance costs. The car will see mostly dd duties with the very occasional track or autox (already have two miata for that).
The two options that appeal to me are an early MINI or a 02 civic sir (at least that's what they call them here in Canada) hatch. Does anyone have any insight as to which one will be more fun on a daily basis and which would be cheaper to own in the long run? I'm looking to spend 6-8k so that gets me an 02 MINI Cooper or similar ep3. The MINI does get some points ahead since my wife likes the look better and I have a hairy dog so the leatherette will be better than the suede interior. WWGRMD?

mistanfo
mistanfo SuperDork
12/16/10 9:39 a.m.

From what I've found in my research, the Mini will cost more for maintenance. Not saying htat it will explode daily or anything like that, just that it will potentially be more expensive.

Never driven an 02 Civic, so I can't comment on how much less fun it would be, though I truely believe that it would be less fun.

mndsm
mndsm Dork
12/16/10 9:44 a.m.

Earlier MINI's are going to be higher mileage and have more problems than the Civic. I hate to say it, because I openly hate Honda, and lurve my MINI Cooper S- but given those as the two choices, I'd take the Honda.

Have you considered other stuff in that price range? That money will buy you a pretty clean Mazdaspeed Protege, though it's not a 3dr. I see you live in Canada too- do you have a separate concern for winter? Can this be a summer only car? an LS1 F-body should be in that price range as well.

Nitroracer
Nitroracer SuperDork
12/16/10 10:07 a.m.

May I suggest..

Probably better on price, equal on handling. Good value for the dollar.

mw
mw HalfDork
12/16/10 10:09 a.m.

It's got to be a four season car. It will have snows in the winter. I'm open to other stuff in the same price range, but I don't really like the MSP. I currently have a P5, so I'd rather have something a bit different.

mndsm
mndsm Dork
12/16/10 10:21 a.m.

Understandable. I do like the Focus SVT option too.

That being said, I don't want to dissuade anyone from a MINI. They're piles of fun. BUT- repair costs aren't cheap. Thank god we have an extended warranty on ours, because our local MINI shop just swung a 4 grand repair bill at us O_o

RoosterSauce
RoosterSauce Reader
12/16/10 10:25 a.m.

The Civic should be cheaper in maintenance and insurance, and I think it probably has more room and a spare tire. Many parts are shared with other Civics and the RSX. I used to want one of those back in '02, but it was out of my price range so I ended up with a regular Civic EX. Blah. The seats in the Si were so lovely. I think it could be equally as fun as a Mini, perhaps with a few tweaks. I'd guess the Civic would be better in the snow, too, but I don't really know anything. My current 3-door of choice is an Accent, so maybe you shouldn't' listen to me..

motomoron
motomoron HalfDork
12/16/10 10:51 a.m.

I had an ep3 Si and would have been all over the SiR. That said, I've ever seen 1 ep3 at an autocross and it was the "fun" group - not SCCA. On the other hand Minis are dominant in an SCCA class and seem more like a drivers car.

The Honda is anvil-reliable, and the Minis, from what I understand are pretty robust as well. From personal experience I know the pain of BMW parts pricing so the Mini probably loses there. The ep3 was not terribly well supported by the aftermarket during its production run - I had an early one and it was tough sledding getting suspension under it. The Mini has a lot more stuff available, and the chassis has been around a long time, relatively.

But as the post above says - if you could find an SVT Focus? that's a nice bargain car.

Strizzo
Strizzo SuperDork
12/16/10 11:13 a.m.

In reply to motomoron:

i think in canada, the same car that was called the Si in the US was called SiR in canada.

oldtin
oldtin Dork
12/16/10 11:25 a.m.

You have the miatas - make the wife happy - get bonus points

Cone_Junky
Cone_Junky Reader
12/16/10 12:27 p.m.

The MINI is a lot more fun to drive, but the Honda wins on reliability-hands down.

RoosterSauce
RoosterSauce Reader
12/16/10 2:57 p.m.
oldtin wrote: You have the miatas - make the wife happy - get bonus points

That's why the Honda wins, because it needs to be a reliable dd with dog room. Miatas are already fun^∞. Why would anyone need more fun than that?

mw
mw HalfDork
12/16/10 4:08 p.m.

After looking around I find that I could get an rsx or even an rsx-s for similar money. It's more Of a fastback than hatch, so I'm sure rear headroom would be limited. Would these be as dun as the MC

Hasbro
Hasbro HalfDork
12/16/10 4:35 p.m.

Out of the box the Mini is a lot more fun to drive than the EP3 SiR/ Si. I've only driven a few if the S versions. If they'd given us the EP3 Type R it would be different but that's a mute point. Maintenance-wise the EP is hands down the winner. The RSX-S is basically the same chassis and suspension as the EP but has the K20a2, which is hard to argue with. I had a choice between the three and chose the EP because of the rear space, it's a Honda and want to keep it for many years, and performance potential (a lot of work).

If I had to do it again I'd still be unsure. Probably the mini. Although my EP is really coming along so maybe the EP!

Nitroracer
Nitroracer SuperDork
12/16/10 11:25 p.m.
mw wrote: After looking around I find that I could get an rsx or even an rsx-s for similar money. It's more Of a fastback than hatch, so I'm sure rear headroom would be limited. Would these be as dun as the MC

I spent three or four hours in relative comfort in the back of an rsx, the integra back seat isn't bad either for that matter. It will compromise your hauling of tall items though. I prefer the dash, shifter, interior of the rsx to the ep. The power jump isn't hurting either.

DrBoost
DrBoost SuperDork
12/17/10 1:01 p.m.

mini, hondas are boring

paul
paul Reader
12/17/10 1:28 p.m.
mw wrote: Does anyone have any insight as to which one will be more fun on a daily basis?

Absolutely the Mini...

mw wrote: which would be cheaper to own in the long run?

Absolutely the EP3...

(note: current '05 ep3 owner :)

93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
12/17/10 1:49 p.m.

Does the SiR up there have the REAL K20 motor? Or the weaksauce stupid 160hp version?

mndsm
mndsm Dork
12/17/10 1:50 p.m.

^ That.

Strizzo
Strizzo SuperDork
12/17/10 1:54 p.m.
93celicaGT2 wrote: Does the SiR up there have the REAL K20 motor? Or the weaksauce stupid 160hp version?
me said: i think in canada, the same car that was called the Si in the US was called SiR in canada.
93celicaGT2
93celicaGT2 SuperDork
12/17/10 2:03 p.m.
Strizzo wrote:
93celicaGT2 wrote: Does the SiR up there have the REAL K20 motor? Or the weaksauce stupid 160hp version?
me said: i think in canada, the same car that was called the Si in the US was called SiR in canada.

If that's the case, then the Mini for sure. I have a deep intense dislike for the 160hp K20 lump. Right when it seems to make power, it's time to shift.

DaveEstey
DaveEstey Reader
12/17/10 5:16 p.m.

Funny, the 160hp lump has a wider power band than the 200hp one and makes the same amount of torque lower in the power band.

The Honda will be reliable as the day is long. I had my RSX for 178k miles with the only repair being a primary o2 sensor and a TPS sensor. The only reason it's gone was an elderly man deciding that red meant go. That car saved my life in the end.

Also, with some pretty basic suspension the car can really handle, most owners just don't seem interested in racing them, instead they go "Moar Lows".

Hasbro
Hasbro HalfDork
12/17/10 8:49 p.m.
93celicaGT2 wrote:
Strizzo wrote:
93celicaGT2 wrote: Does the SiR up there have the REAL K20 motor? Or the weaksauce stupid 160hp version?
me said: i think in canada, the same car that was called the Si in the US was called SiR in canada.

If that's the case, then the Mini for sure. I have a deep intense dislike for the 160hp K20 lump. Right when it seems to make power, it's time to shift.

The K20a3 is a great motor. The stock EP is just too heavy for it if you want it to scream. They build to about 180-190 whp na and are very good turbo motors to 300 hp and a computer tweak safely ups the rpm by 1,000 for shifting. In Europe they have the EP1 and EP2 with 88 hp and 108 hp so it could be worse!

The EP, for me, is perfect with a K24. Lots more usable torque, gas friendly, and easy to build. It doesn't have to be choked like a K20a2 or Toyo 2ZZ-GE to make it scream.

mw
mw HalfDork
12/17/10 9:21 p.m.

Yeah, Canadian sir's only have 160hp

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