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Miata vs. Mini convertible

So, I recently posted a question about buying a '99 Miata and I want to thank everyone for their advice/info. Now that we’ve definitely decided on a convertible to replace our motorcycles we were wondering about this comparo and people’s thoughts about one over the other. We really enjoyed driving the Miata and are looking forward to a test drive of the Mini. Any and all comments would be welcome and much appreciated.

I’m sure you’re aware already of the max. height comfort of about 6’2" for a Miata. Mini should offer better all round driving performance if winter is a consideration. Friend’s Miata has been absolutely trouble free but as a third car. As a primary vehicle when force to, it has really shown it’s limitations.

well, I’m 5’10 and my wife is 5’4 so the height factor is not really an issue, winter driving isn’t really a factor either since this would replace our motorcycles and for this very reason, it can extend our fun into the colder seasons when riding a bike just gets too darn uncomfortable or inconvenient. We can go topless when we want to but don’t have to unlike a motorcycle which gives you no choice. Thanks for your input.

Both are fun, and good cars overall, it’ll come down to which you like. The Mini might have a little more luggage room (but both are better than motorcycles), and might be a little more expensive to repair.

good point about the repair costs, I’m guessing preventative maintenance will run a little higher also. thank you

I would have thought so myself, except I have owned on in Ohio’s snow belt. The traction is better than expected as the weight distribution is nearly 50-50. With winter tyres traction beats most cars on the road. However that is not the reason for my recommendation.

My Miata saved me more than once due to it’s outstanding handling. Hitting glare ice I have been able to recover from a 360? to safely navigate around obstacles.

Budget 2 times the amount per year for a Mini to keep it running. Both are good cars, but the Mini is not an economy car.

One other thing about the Mini- the Cooper S versions can have a pretty rough ride, test it out to make sure it’s ok for you.

Apparently, the MX-5 is not, either. Edmunds estimates the 5-year cost of both at a little over $40,000, including financing. I’d say they are at lest equivalent, though the MINI Cooper (not S) is a couple-a-three thousand less.

Are you looking to buy new or used?
If new, Mini comes with 3, maybe 4 years, free scheduled maintenance from BMW/Mini.

I didn’t test the convertible out, but the base model Clubman was easily the most fun I had test driving vehicles, despite having just over 100 horsepower. I had even test drove a Miata. Only thing about the Miata is that at 80mph, a taller person can get beat by the wind blowing over the windshield(I’m also 5’10").

I appreciate your problem. Back in the early 1960’s, I debated whether I would rather have a Morris/Austin 850 miniminor or a Austin Healy Sprite or the equivalent MG Midget. Of course, this was only a theoretical consideration, because on a graduate assistant stipend, I didn’t have the money to purchase either one. I think I finally decided on the Austin Healy Sprite (or equivalent MG Midget), but obviously bought neither one.

If I were making the decision with today’s cars, I would choose the Miata. Unfortunately, I’m stuck driving a minivan.

Miata = Rear Wheel Drive
Mini = Wrong Wheel Drive (FWD)

The Miata is a true sports car. The Mini is a econobox convertible.


The Miata will be more economical than the MINI.

One “gotchya” on low mileage Miatas of that vintage is the ignition coil module. They are a known issue, they tend to go bad erratically, causing stumbling and missing and may cause the catalytic converter to go bad.
On the higher mileage Miatas this has probably already been replaced.
The spark plug wires are also a replacement item after 30K to 50K miles.

The MINI has a bunch of problems, clutches, transmissions, brakes. All are big $$$$ repairs if needed.

Go drive a Pontiac Solstice if you can find one. These will be rare cars and they are kind of cool…Miata’s are pretty mundane and Mini’s are way cool but problematical…

I might add that I loved the MIATA optional removable hardtop. It was quick and easy to switch out and protected the soft top when on. It also changed the feel of the car making it far more solid. It felt great when it when on and it was like a different, equally great when it came off.

So, with GM shutting down Pontiac and selling Saturn, do you still think the Solstice or even the Saturn Sky is worth looking into?

Keep in mind that the Mini had the worst reliability of all cars this year, according to JD Power.

Miatas have a long standing record for reliability and reasonable maintenance costs. In contrast, Minis are trouble prone and expensive to repair. Remember that the Mini is now a German car and we know how expensive VWs, BMWs, MBs and Porsches are to maintain.

A friend of mine, who was more than 6 feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds, had a first generation Miata as his only transportation. He never complained about insufficient room.

If I fit, I’d go for the Miata. It’s every thing the British sports cars were,fun, light, great handling, and a good ride, but reliable, too. The performance/support on line community is great, too.

After Mazda setting handling benchmarks for 15 years, GM came up with an overweight roadster with a roof that you can’t close w/ 1 hand. And what’s with the big transmission tunnel that takes up so much interior space?