Owning a Mini - costly? Worth it?

I’m looking for a commuter car and found a great deal on a 2004 Mini Cooper. It’s got just over 60K miles on it.

Believe it or not, it’s priced close to some Civics and Corollas I’m looking at…

I’ve heard they’re costly to maintain. Any numbers anyone? Also, do they last? Could I keep this 5+ years and 120K+ miles?

It’s a BMW design and they have proven to be quite reliable. However, budget twice as much as for a Corolla or a Civic for upkeep. They will easily last 120,000 miles. I would stay away from the turbo models, though.

People buy these cars not to save money, but for the fun they are to drive. If you want peace and quiet commuting, don’t buy one either; they are not quiet and the ride is very sportscar-like. It’s an MG with 4 seats.

My son has a Cooper S (supercharged model) and it has not given him any significant headaches, even as it approaches 100K miles. The car is an absolute blast to drive and delivers very good gas mileage, even in an urban environment.

The Mini is as BMW product, however, so when it needs maintenance it will cost more than its Japanese competition.

The new Mini has proven to be quite reliable, which is one of the reasons they are retaining their value so well.


I found a 2005 Cooper (not S, which is fine with me) with 41K miles for $11,500. It seems like a steal and it is priced similar to a 2005 Corolla or Civic with that sort of mileage. The fact that it will retain it’s value over time is probably worth the extra cost of maintenance.

I respect BMW as one of the few companies to remain privately owned and retain their standing as a maker of high performance cars that still retain their reliability. But as stated, you pay for it. Consider in some areas, there may not be a dealer to service your car for over hundred miles and parts and service may be more expensive. It will last IMO, I just wouldn’t want to be locked into the “high octane” repair/maintenance costs just to own these excellent cars. I did for a while with SAABs and regret the decision to do so.


Is there a make and model you’re NOT looking at? What happened to the Integra sedan?


MCP, I thought about logging in under a different name just to avoid this very situation :slight_smile:

Without getting into too much detail, my wife (who is now a stay-at-home mom) and I have decided to get her a nice new Subaru Forester and I will look for the commuter car. The Acura Integra was expensive and all had over 100K miles for the most part. So I upped the $$ amount and got myself into a different bracket. Was basically looking at Corollas and Civics…then I came across the Mini. My wife’s rule was “buy a car that you’ll like and that you will keep for 5 years…and that will LAST for 5 years…” (Of course safety/reliability is part of that).

Thus…the Mini discussion…

Don’t stress over it Dave. While I may not have made too many threads about it, I’ve been in the market for a new vehicle for myself for a few years now. It’ll take time and research to find the right vehicle for yourself.
That said, if this is a private sale, ask to see maintenance receipts and make sure they can prove they’ve been feeding it a steady diet of high octane fuel. Regardless of engine they have in them, Mini’s require premium fuel, so make sure you budget for that when you look at it.
One more thing, check insurance rates too. My local agent enjoys seeing me as they told me they have fun playing around with the rates for the different vehicles I’ve been looking at.

Ive had one for six years so far, with no real problems. I take it to my dealer every 15,000 miles for service, and budget about $500 for it, excluding any repairs.

There have been a couple of posts about Mini auto transmission issues that raised a “red flag” for me. If you can find a manual transmission I’d go for that over an auto.