The Perfect Drive Test Drive for My Body AND Mind
16 Jun 2005|Terri Ducay
I‘m in the market to buy a new car … but like many, I’m not just interested in its performance or its looks. If I were sitting on a psychologist’s couch, she’d say I was looking to add new meaning to my life. I’d describe it as wanting to make a change and have some fun. None of the dozen’s of car review magazines and web sites include this in their list of ratings, so I had to do my own research.
The journey to find my perfect car started with visits to Subaru, Audi and BMW. Each had large, clean showrooms. Each had sales professionals who could articulate their car’s stong points: safety, stlyle, performance, number one in Consumer Reports, etc. In each case, I took a test drive. And in each case, the overall experience was flat. Even though these cars meant very high standards, they were still just cars.
Then I noticed it. Across the street sat a MINI Cooper . “Too small, not practical” was my first reaction, but I remembered I was seeking change and a new experience, so I off I went.
I knew this car was different the minute I entered the showroom. The environment was hip, stylish and informative. What was emphasized was not so much the car, but me and how I’d experience driving the car. For example, there was a “Test Drive Accessory” display that offered a variety of music CD’s to play during the drive. The music ranged from Soul, Blues, Rock, etc. How brilliant I thought, music is critical to my experience while driving but I don’t carry my CDs with me when looking for a car. I picked The Rolling Stones ‘Hot Stuff’ and was on my way.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I was in love with the MINI Cooper. It wasn’t how the car handled as I drove it, or how the seat felt, or some vague sense of status associated with the brand, or the thrill of risk any small car conveys. All of this was present, but these attributes were nicely wrapped in a overall meaning I can only describe as “Hot stuff.” And based on blogs like the Cooper Chronicle and Ians GGMINI, I’ve got lots of company.
So the moral of this story is: What started out as test driving cars based on a list of practical criteria, turned into a time of learning how valuable the design of the driving experience is. No longer will I expect car showrooms to tell me only about gas mileage scores and warranty stickers. Instead, I will expect an experience that transports my body, my mind and my spirit. Thank you MINI!