Me & My Car: Big on looks, high on spec - I like it
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Newmarket Business Association CEO Mark Knoff-Thomas drives a silver 2016 Mini Cooper s hatch
Why did you choose this car?
The three-door Cooper is compact, high-spec, comfortable and looks good. It is the easiest car to park in town. Very zippy.
Have you always had Minis?
No, and this is the first Mini I have driven since the 80s. I can tell you the experience is somewhat different. This car is fantastic around town but comes into its own on the open road.
Any special features?
The sporty "go-cart" mode is cool, the technology is amazing and it hugs the road like no other car I have driven.
Who else is allowed to drive your car?
Mostly me, but sometimes one of my team at work will take it out for a spin.
Do you have a personalised plate?
No I don't, and I'm not a fan.
How often do you clean it?
I drop it off to the good people at Mini Garage in Newmarket and they keep it looking pristine.
What do you always keep in your car?
A charger for my iPhone - can't live without it - and a spare pair of sunglasses.
Key consideration when buying a car?
Fuel efficiency, comfort, good looks and a decent boot space.
Manual or automatic, which do you prefer?
I tend to buy automatics, but I do love the purity of driving a manual.
Favourite car colour?
Black, white or silver.
Your dream car?
The BMW i8. It has the looks, the speed and the environment all covered in one.
Who taught you to drive?
My dad took me out once or twice but it never went well. I eventually had an AA driving tutor. I failed my test first time as I slowly coasted through a stop sign on a hilly Dunedin road.
Most memorable road trip?
Driving through South Canterbury into Otago through the lakes. It is intoxicatingly beautiful and nourishes the soul.
If you could go anywhere with anyone in any car?
It would have to be Italy's Amalfi Coast - it is windy but stunningly beautiful. I would take former US President Obama - he is leadership personified. It would be in a BMWi8 and there would be no speed limit.
Favourite car scene from a movie?
It's an oldie but a goodie - the yellow Mini being chased through the streets of Wellington by the Holden Kingswood police car in Goodbye Pork Pie is a Kiwi classic.
Favourite racing car driver?
Scott Dixon, he is the ultimate Kiwi success story. He is understated, humble in victory, inspiring and a superb role model.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
The quintessential Auckland experience is a trip out to Piha - it's a great drive. I am also a fan of taking the back way via Whitford and Maraetai to go to the Clevedon markets.
Other drivers ... what irritates you most?
People who don't indicate, especially when changing lanes, or exiting roundabouts.
If you could change one road rule, what would it be?
Up the speed limit to 110km/h.
Would you rather drive or catch public transport in Auckland?
I can't be bothered driving into the CBD these days. I park in Newmarket and jump on the train. One day we will have a fully integrated, cost-effective, fast, easy-to-use public transport network that is within an easy walking distance of 99 per cent of the population. We ain't there yet though ...