I was getting worried about the lack of a warranty with my Cooper and had been contemplating trading it in for a new one. As I gave it more thought I realized that perhaps I should go with something more practical. The MINI required premium gas and I'd end up with a higher payment with a new one should I started looking around for something else.
My eye first fell on the Toyota Yaris largely because of it's 40mpg claims. I went down to the Toyota dealer to check it out and was quickly disappointed. The thing comes standard with absolutely nothing, no power windows/locks, abs brakes, cd player etc. As you add things on to the car it ends up about the same price as a Corolla. Plus when test driving the car it really didn't feel solid, not at all what I was used to with the MINI. I absolutely loved my Cooper and there was no way I was going to take such a drop down in quality so I kept looking.
And on to the VW dealer. Which happens to be where I purchased a new 2006 Jetta 2.5. I was a little disappointed at first because both the GLI and the GTI seemed so nice but they also both require premium gas again and would have costed more in a monthly payment. I was sad to lose the little Cooper but the Jetta has many of the same features plus a few new ones and is definitely a solid car. These mkVs are so much nicer than the previous model Jetta! So I got an awesome new car with and extended warranty and was able to keep my same payments. Plus my wife loves it as well and it's an automatic so she'll feel more comfortable driving it around.
Pics to come tomorrow after I wash it again. The so called "detailing" the dealer did wasn't very impressive. One thing about the whole experience I should mention is that I'm much more impressed with the local Toyota (Fort Myers Toyota) dealership. My wife and I bought a Scion Xa from them when they first came out and earlier this year traded that in for a 2006 Rav4. We told them what we wanted in a payment and in a car and they did for us pronto. Very limited negotiating necessary with them. On the other hand at VW we told them the maximum payment we were interested in and they showed us all these cars that in the end they were not able to give us for the payment we wanted. They totally wasted our time on cars they knew wouldn't work out for us but everyone there was very nice. I'll have to try out the service center to make a real comparison in service.