Pros
    • Looks
    • Space in the front
    • Handling
    Cons
    • Low ride
    • Limited boot space
    • Repairs can be expensive

    About the Mini Cooper

    Sam purchased this Mini Cooper used for $11,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2022. Sam would buy this car again because: “Yes, it represents a market that will not exist in the future… small fun turbocharged car with good handling and still feeling mechanical. It is not fast, not too slow… just right for a cruise to the Dandenongs and still looks good.”

    How reliable has your car been? Tell us about any issues.

    No, most have not been taken care of. The problem is twofold – many mechanics are just not capable of fixing them (so they say they do not like to work on them) and many owners (generally second owners) have no money to keep them going.

    The issues I have had:

    • VANOS: This only became an issue as the mechanic who replaced the timing chain overtightened the VANOS variator and “broke it”. I bought this car and felt it run rough, after trial and error the issue was traced to this. Spent $2k which included new spark plus, VANOS solenoid and variator
    • Leaking shocks: $700 quoted
    • Cheap eBay special valve cover was installed causing an air and oil leak leak: replaced with genuine $800
    • Broken air-con hose, replaced with BMW genuine: $200 and regassed
    • Cabin air filter last changed in 2017: replaced with Repco for around $40
    • Need to replace headlight globes as current are different age (one brighter than the other): roughly $250

    What do you think of the ownership experience with your car?

    It is a very nice car with great interior (after removing the body fluids of the previous owner).

    I have had the car since March 2022, it now drives well and is very clean inside. The interior is a bit rattly but the comes with age and partially caused by the RF tyres and worn shocks.

    Are you happy with the price and features of your car?

    Yes, it is okay for the age. There is no GPS or Apple CarPlay and other equipment is limited. As standard it does come with sports seats, sports suspension and a sports mode, central twin exhaust tips and a nice burble and pops (unlike the crazy sounds of current AMG/Audi). I can also hear the turbo whistle.

    What do you think of the performance and economy of your car?

    The car is not fast compared to modern cars, my Volvo XC40 is bigger, heavier, and faster.

    The economy of the Mini is also not great… however, overall I am very happy with it. I keep the car Mini in the office carpark, I drive my Volvo to the office, swap cars and then will use the Mini every other time.

    What do you think of the technology in your car?

    ABS, ESC, airbags, CD player and aircon and lots of smiles. Technology is very limited but the secret car menu is great and easily accessible. It has no USB charging points, it may have had a cigarette lighter at some stage.

    What do you think of the ride comfort and handling of your car?

    The ride is a bit harsh, partly because of the RF tyres, partly because it has a sport suspension and partly because the shocks are still original and were never replaced.

    The car has 135,000km on the clock. The handling is actually still good, it turns in sharply, steering has plenty of feel and is quite direct. It is noticeably heavier in sports mode.

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    5.3
    Overall Rating

    Technology5
    Reliability5
    Ride & Handling5
    Price & Features7
    Performance & Economy5
    Ownership Experience5