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The Cooper S and Winter Driving Suitability

From: Stephen S.
Sent on: Sunday, August 30, 2009 2:31 PM
Hello All,

I currently live in Champaign, IL.  I ride a motorcycle 10+ months out 
of the year to work and on Saturdays.  My old Skylark is driven on 
Sundays to church and the grocery store, and on the snow/ice days.

I am giving serious consideration to the Cooper S with the limited 
slip differential and all weather tires to replace the Skylark.  Being 
able to have the auto successfully navigate on the snow/ice days is 
critical to my decision.

The photos of the Mini that I've seen seem to indicate very little 
ground clearance.  That's a big concern to me.  While Champaign may 
not get the amount of snowfall that you do in Pittsburgh, Champaign 
does have the prairie winds that tend to pile the snow up in some very 
high drifts.  (This past winter the snow in my outdoor parking lot 
drifted higher than the roof of the Skylark's engine compartment!)

The snowplows in Champaign will create snow/ice berms in front of the 
driveways and secondary street's access to the plowed, primary 
streets.  Another concern of mine is how driving through these 
snow/ice berms might effect the front bodywork, or the rear bodywork 
if I have to back onto the primary street.  (On my 1972 Skylark with 
chrome plated, *steel* bumpers front and rear, this was not a concern.)

If memory serves, the Cooper S comes with 16" wheels.  Will going to 
the optional 17" wheels give me a noticeable improvement in ground 
clearance?

Should I be looking at the optional protective covers for the front 
bodywork?

Are there other suggestions or options that I should incorporate into 
my MINI selections?

Thank you for all your replies,
Stephen Stubbs.

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