A Mini Cooper for Chicago winters?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 2004

Dear Tom and Ray:

My wife thinks it's a good idea for you guys to do a "sanity check" on me. Here's my plan: I have a good, 1995 Nissan Maxima that I've owned since new. Our daughter is leaving her car, a 2002 Toyota RAV4, at our house all winter, while she is away. Rather than just have her car sit outside (we only have a two-car garage, which houses the Maxima and my 1993 Mazda Miata), I thought I would sell my Maxima, drive my daughter's RAV4 for the winter, and when she returns, buy the car of my dreams, a Mini Cooper. My wife is concerned that the Chicago (where we live) winters will overwhelm the Mini. So, are you going to help me out here and proclaim my plan a winner? -- Don

TOM: Don, it's a good thing you enclosed a 20-dollar bill along with your letter. Otherwise, we might have been tempted by your wife's $20, which arrived a week later.

RAY: I actually like the idea of you driving the RAV4 during the winter; it's better for your daughter's car than just sitting in the driveway for months on end. So, that part of the plan makes good sense to me.

TOM: But in all honesty, I would have to say that the Mini is not a great car for the Chicago winter. It's got front-wheel drive, so it's not as bad in the snow as the Miata. But it's still small and light, and low to the ground. Four snow tires would help, but it won't be nearly as good as your Maxima.

RAY: So, I think you're going to need three cars, Don.

TOM: Three cars! That's going to go over great with your wife, huh, Don?

RAY: You need to keep the Maxima. It's a perfectly good car, and it will serve you well when the weather is lousy.

TOM: In the summer, when the weather is great, you'll put the top down and drive the Miata.

RAY: And in the spring and fall, when it's not convertible weather but there's no snow or ice on the roads, you'll drive your Mini. How's that sound?

TOM: Is that your wife we hear in the background? Was that the crack of a rolling pin hitting your head? And the crumpling up of our column?

RAY: Well, if that's not financially or maritally feasible, another option is to sell the Miata. Wait! Before you shout "no!" listen to the rest of our plan: Then you buy the new Mini Cooper convertible. Not bad, huh? Huh??

TOM: If that sounds good to you, Don, send another $20, and we'll start working on your wife.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One