Comments on 4 cars looking at buying 1

I am looking at 4 different used cars to buy for my daughter that lives in Chicago and wondered if anyone had any comments or could recommend what car they thought would be best for city driving and snow. Below is a listing of the 4 cars:

1999 Honda CR-V with 72,534 miles

2001 Toyota Camry with 89,226 miles

2002 Honda Civic with 53,968 miles

2003 Mini Cooper with 38,000 miles

I would really appreciate any comments.

Any of those would be okay for city driving and snow. The CR-V would probably be a little better in deeper snow if it’s a 4wd version, but in Chicago they’re extremely agressive about snow removal so it won’t be an issue. I would tend away from the Mini-Cooper because they seem to be having some reliability issues and repairs can be expensive (It’s a BMW after all).

Although another thing to consider is that Chicago is notorious for heavy salting (Snow removal can be a major political issue) and unless your daughter is going to be good about washing the undercarriage of the car, I’d just go with whatever’s cheapest-- maybe even something cheaper than what you’re looking at.

Probably can’t beat the Cooper for a city car. It’s small and nimble. I’d probably pick the Civic second. The other 2 are bigger and less parking friendly in a big city. Just my opinion. And, of course, I’d love a Mini Cooper myself even though I don’t live anywhere near a big city.

All four are adequate for year round driving in Chicago. If it has all-wheel-drive, the CR-V will get around better than the others in snow and ice. The Civic will get the best gas mileage. The Camry is larger, quieter and more comfortable. The Mini Cooper will be the most fun to drive but will be significantly less reliable than the others and more expensive to maintain.

Since all are several years old, it is vital to have them inspected by a trustworthy mechanic. It may very well come down to picking the one in best condition.

All things considered, I would go for the Civic. It’s easy to drive, park, extremely reliable, and easy on gas. As mentioned, snow removal in Chicago is frequent, as is the application of salt, which is not used in England where the Cooper was built. Our neighbor had 2 daughters in college here, and bought both of them Civics. They were bullet-proof and the girls always made it to class, a distance of 20 miles of city driving, in all kinds of weather.
The Cooper is the worst of all worlds; unreliable, difficult and expensive to fix and likely very poor rust protection.

The Camry is agreat car but probably too big for what your daughter needs. The CRV is a good amchine, but will be more expensive to run and maintain.

If your daughter lived in Alaska or rural Maine, I would vote for the CRV.

All four are great cars for your application. Of the group the Mini Cooper will have the highest maintenance, repair bills and least snow ability. Personally I would get the Toyota Camry as its the most comfortable by a significant margin of the lot and still parkable in the city.

The statements on rust and Mini Cooper have no basis as all modern vehicles including Land/Range Rovers are fine with rust. This is not 20 years ago.

I vote for the Camry. It will deliver good fuel economy and it is a little heavier than the Civic, which should slightly improve traction. I would be tempted to get the CR-V if it has four wheel drive, but if it doesn’t, go for the better fuel economy of the Camry.

All pretty go choices, but if I had to buy my daughter one, I would lean toward the Hondas but would make sure all the service has been done on it. The mini would not even hit the list. Also with Hondas if kept nice the resale is thhe best.