Saturday, November 25, 2006

Consumer Reports Says...

Most Reliable Sport/Sporty car*

(Best score first)
Lexus SC ($65,455)
Toyota Camry Solara (4-cyl.) ($19,930)
Subaru Impreza WRX ($33,495)
Honda S2000 ($34,250)
Mitsubishi Eclipse ($19,99)
2006 Mini Cooper hatchback ($20,900)
*Best and worst predicted reliability, according to Consumer Reports survey research.

(I added the prices for comparison. Source:

10 best and worst cars for depreciation

1. Toyota Prius
Ongoing demand for this thrifty gas/electric hybrid and excellent reliability give the Prius the best depreciation rating among all currently sold models. In addition, many owners are hanging onto them, so good luck trying to find a used Prius. $22,000.

2. Mini Cooper
This trendy, fun-to-drive retro-hatch/convertible has generated a cult following reminiscent of Volkswagen’s Beetle. While the reliability of early models was below average, it has improved to average in recent years, according to CR’s Annual Car Reliability Survey. $17,500 to $25,500.

3. Scion xB
This boxy wagon has love-it-or-hate-it styling, but it provides a spacious interior, stingy fuel consumption, good reliability, and a low price. Scion is Toyota's youth-oriented brand. $14,000 to $15,000.

4. BMW M3
The limited-edition, tuner-developed M3 is the perennially popular high-performance model in BMW’s 3-Series line. A fanatical following and legendary performance mean that used M3s command premium prices. About $49,000 to $56,500.

5. Lexus RX
Among the top SUVs in Consumer Reports Ratings, the RX is plush, quiet, and comfortable while providing better-than-average reliability and good crash-test results. The RX400h hybrid is among the most fuel-efficient SUVs we’ve tested. $36,000 to $46,000.

6. BMW 6-Series
Available as a coupe or convertible, the 6-Series is based on the 5-Series platform. But its more limited production helps keep its resale value high. $72,000 to $79,000.

7. Lexus GX
A different SUV from the Lexus RX, the GX is a traditional truck-based, off-road-ready vehicle. It has above-average reliability, a well-appointed interior, and good frontal offset crash-test results. But resale values might not continue to hold up as well for the GX as demand softens for body-on-frame, V8-powered SUVs. $46,500.

8. Acura TSX
Providing a nice balance of sportiness and comfort, the well-rounded TSX provides above-average reliability, good crash-test results, and a long list of standard safety equipment. $28,000 to $30,000.

9. Scion xA
The small xA hatchback looks much different from the larger xB but shares its low price, good reliability, and excellent 30-mpg fuel economy. $13,000 to $13,500.

10. Honda Civic & Civic Hybrid
A longtime Consumer Reports recommended model, the Civic offers outstanding reliability, good fuel economy, and good crash-test results. While the Hybrid version returned an excellent 36 mpg overall in our tests, even regular Civics do well in our fuel-economy tests, with 29 mpg for the automatic. $14,500 to $24,500.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Morbid Fascinations

More dented MINI surface after describing the events of what I'm calling "The Curb Incident".

This owner writes, "You're lucky to have gotten in a crash that fast and not have that bad damage. I hit a wall at 80mph sideways and my car was in shambles..."

And then yet another MINI owner adds this to the discussion:

"i owned handsome rob for 44 days and someone smashed into me..."

Kind of sickening, isn't it?! But still, no reports of deaths or major injuries. More than we can say for Ford F-150s....

Monday, November 20, 2006

How Do I Put This? - Episode III

And now, the continuing saga of, "How Do I Put This?"...

I'm a pretty patient guy, but it's officially been "one week without the MINI". So I put on my best, "considerate and patient" voice, and call the good Dr. Wyatt...

me: "hey good morning- i just wanted to see if you thought you'd be done before or after the long weekend?"

dr w: "we're still waiting on the parts- and we're closed on thursday and friday. once we get those in it should be about 4-5 working days... so, yeah, after the long weekend."*

So, how *do* I put this? How about "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHRRRGGGHHHH!!!"

Sure I've got "partial rental reimbursement", but who's got (partial) money for a rental car for another week- or longer?! *I'm trying to be patient, but "Express Service" my ass. (She should have never said "in and out-in about a week". )

Tune in for the next episode where you might hear Bushfinger say, "So- does this come with a CD Player?"

Friday, November 17, 2006

MINI Brother

Seems MINI is the latest to jump on the reality show bandwagon. Let's take a look...

How Do I Put This? - Episode II

For those just joining us, you missed a lot in episode one of "How Do I Put This?"...

Today I got my repair estimate from the body shop (had to bicycle over to the P.O Box!)

All I can say is, "Wow!" I've either got great insurance, or the body shop is seriously padding the tab! (Then again, this is my first accident in 15 years of driving and the shop is "five -star" rated!) With 62 items on the list (yeah 62!!!!) I'll note a few things I didn't expect to see:


  • Right Front Tire*
  • Right Rear Tire*
  • Right Front Wheel*
  • Right Rear Wheel*
  • Front Center Bumper Air Deflector
  • Front Right Bumper Air Deflector
  • Front Bumper Filler Panel
  • Front Center Bumper Trim
  • Front Center Bumper Moulding

  • Fuel Tank (wtf?)

Repainting front/rear fender? I really didn't think anything needed to get painted! Lets hope it matches! (does it ever?!)

*(looks like they're replacing my aftermarket wheels/tired with OEM ones? I really didn't expect my insurance would be covering aftermarket wheels!)

Graphical representations courtesy and may not depict actual parts used.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MINI - 0 , Tree - 1

Seems I've got a recurring theme here on the "BUSHFINGER MINI" MINI-blog as of late: Wrecked MINIs! (er... "crashed MINIs" may be more accurate.)

In the spirit of Red Asphalt, the latest entry into the crashed MINI gallery is our dear dear "Hector"...

Let's Be Careful Out There!

Okay, How Do I Put This?

On Sat. afternoon Mr. Bigglesworth and I were playing "Extreme Irresponsible Driver" on a local back road we often drive irresponsibly on.... Yep. You already know the rest! For the curious...

Somehow the back end lost traction and spun a 180, finally slamming into a curb on the other side of the road at about 70mph. It managed to hop off the street, over the curb, and into a dirt field.
No humans or curbs were hurt. Mr. B on the other hand...

The uninvertible MINI remained upright where other cars probably would have flipped over. There

is almost no body damage that the average person would notice ( (front right a-panel, plastic body moulding, front right fender, rear right fender... *I* notice!); The curb took a chunk out of the rear rim and severely tweaked the front one; alignment is non-existent. All passenger side plastic body trim sustained damage.

The rear tire is rubbing against the frame so hard it made a pile of "rubber dust". The hit was strong enough that the wiper fluid reservoir apparently cracked upon impact. The jack stand support and who knows what other under-carriage bits got torn off and flew into the dirt. I didn't take inventory. I got home before my non-runflats went flat!

It got towed to the body shop recommended by the insurance company this afternoon. I'm fully covered (or so they say). While mild and a yawner in comparison to other recent MINI-crashes, my instincts tell me it's going to end up much worse than my untrained eye can see. I don't have a repair timeline yet. My fingers are crossed.

Here is an opportunity to share a learned lesson: Even in one of the best handling cars on the market, there is no excuse for driving like an idiot. Please spare the sympathy. It was totally my fault and a blatant reminder that the world is not a race track.

At the expense of my reputation as a good driver, I'll be chronicling these events for posterity on my blog and gallery at

PS: I apologize to the MINI community for contributing to higher insurance rates.