MINI: Applying what I learned as a Prius driver

Now that I’ve had the MINI for just over 36 hours, I’ve been learning heaps about how to drive the car and drive efficently.

MINIs include “Minimalism’ which is the Green mode on the car, which includes tips to help you drive more efficiently and there’s also a bit of a game where a little fish riding on top of your car scores you with stars based on shifting, acceleration and anticipation.  Green mode, itself, on the car manages the throttle and also guides you in when to shift to a higher gear.

Now some people would say it’s  bit of a gimmick.  Yes, Blinky the Fish, as I’ve named him, isn’t something I plan on looking at all the time, but hey it’s helped me to refine how I drive.

The drive computer which is below the speedometer also tracks how much extra mileage you saved on the tank of gas.  46.1km is not bad!  I can probably do better.

It remains to be seen if there is much difference between Green mode and Mid mode.  I can guarantee Sport mode definitely will use more gas.

You definitely feel differences between the three modes.  They’re quite stark, where on the Prius (Eco, Normal and Power) you felt the differences but it was not quite as dramatic.

So, what have I learned?  Well, the obvious things being starting off slow, not starting off like a jack rabbit, ease the gas when accelerating.  Makes sense.

Turn off the seat heaters.  I only plan on using these when needed in winter, obviously to help contribute to warming the car.  Turn off the heater in the car as well if it’s not needed, and leave it on auto when using the system.  Also enable green climate control which will often reduce heating of both climate control and seat heaters.

Finding that sweet spot to maintain speed.  I think ultimately, owning two Prii helped me learn how to take things that little bit slower, and be more responsible with gas mileage.  Yeah, funny given the MINI is relatively a gas guzzler.

The MINI kind of takes what I learned from the Prius and kind of kicks it up a bit.  Putting the car in Green mode, beyond the bells and whistles of Blinky the fish, on the trip computer there is a meter that identifies energy being returned back to the car battery by coasting and braking and then how efficient you are actually driving.

Shifting into a higher gear than I normally would contributes to better fuel economy, especially given that driving a 6-speed is new to me.

Auto-stop is a double edged sword.  For a longer stop, it’s great – longer than about 10 seconds.  If shorter, you’re probably going to waste more fuel, so in stop and go traffic, turned off the auto-start.

I am really liking seeing the gas mileage savings increase over a single tank of gas.  So far, I figure I am about 20km short of the Prius in efficiency.

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