While Roxy is Away

I figured, since I was going to be hanging out at MINI of Ontario all day last Saturday covering their Grand Opening Event, it would be a great time to let the lad in back have a go at some repairs.

While those repairs were ongoing, they gave me a 2010 Clubman Cooper to drive. A sparkling silver check board roofed specimen complete with automatic transmission, no sport package and no heated seats. Perfect car for the loaner fleet.

That, aside from the automatic transmission, I have been thoroughly enjoying.

That’s right. 15″ wheels on skinny tires. No sport suspension either. Still, this MINI handles like a MINI and provides a much better ride. I was going to say quieter, but with 2800 miles on the run flats, they are already getting noisy.

And it’s quite quick. Even with the automatic. One would say it gets up and goes very well and like I’ve mentioned, I have very much enjoyed having this MINI to drive for the last few days. Plus it has given me the opportunity to drive an automatic transmission car for more than an hour and I have figured out why I don’t like it.

If you are going to drive the pants off it, then the automatic isn’t so bad. Hit the sport button, move the lever to the left and mash the go pedal. Manually shifting the gears or letting the computer do it for you is perfectly acceptable if you are going to be driving in a more aggressive manner.

It’s when aggressive driving is over that this transmission really starts to dull. In stop and go traffic I find it getting confused and switching between gears, causing serious lag. Other times I’m finding that, much like the CVT, it takes to long to ‘engage’ a gear and just lets the engine wind out, almost like taking 100 yards to let the clutch out of a standard shift car.

And, since I spend most of my time driving more like my grandmother and less like Mario Andretti, I can’t stand the automatic.

Which is really too bad. I’ve been diggin’ the more relaxed motoring this Clubman has afforded me, but the transmission just drives me batty!

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