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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all. I hope this question isn't too often asked, but I am in the market for a small hatch that is a good deal that I will primarily be using as a daily drive. It is a pretty straight and smooth drive about 25 miles one way 5 days a week to work. Decent fuel economy plus a fun drive. I have no doubt on the last part with the Mini Cooper.

I will admit I have always admired Mini Coopers, but never really looked into getting them too much. However, in my search, I came across a deal for a 2011 with about 70k miles for about $7,00 USD from a reputable dealer and it looks really clean. It is the 6 speed manual. This would just be the base hardtop, not the S, which is fine by me for my purposes. I have not test driven it yet, so of course that would be crucial to the decision.

However, in researching, I have of course come across the "horror" reliability issues that everyone seems to talk about. I realize things break on a car and I have been working on them nearly all my 37 years and am a pretty handy DIY'er (and prefer of course to do my own work, if possible but I have limitations). I will say that for as many people who say they love the vehicle, I find others who "loved" it but they paid loads in maintenance fees and it has come across that pretty much anything breaking requires dealer intervention. Another concern is that I live in a somewhat rural area and there are no import dealers around so that could be a problem.

I have read that a lot of the problems one would read about are pre-2011. Is this the case? What is the real scoop on the 'coop so to speak. Should I go for it or should I stay away since I will be relying on it to get me to work every day? Thanks in advance for the advice!

Mike
 

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Like any used vehicle it may be great, but most likely it will have some issues as it is a5 year old car. The most recent problem year minis were 2006-2010 if I remember correctly. You might want to check the history through carfax to see its service records. Minis a great little cars that are really fun to drive. Good luck.
 

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As already said, we're an "F" Forum rather than an "R", however a high %age of us have had older MINI's so your question should be answered well.

For my part, the only real problems experienced with the later R's is "coking" and that was only with the turbo charged models (Cooper S, JCW) so I'm pretty sure you'll be ok. Have a quick look at some uk car review sites (whatcar uk, Parkers, Autotrader uk etc) as a lot of Coopers and Doopers (cooper D) were sold in the uk so you'll get a good representative opinion.

Good luck and welcome to the MINI world :)
 

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Hey all. I hope this question isn't too often asked, but I am in the market for a small hatch that is a good deal that I will primarily be using as a daily drive. It is a pretty straight and smooth drive about 25 miles one way 5 days a week to work. Decent fuel economy plus a fun drive. I have no doubt on the last part with the Mini Cooper.

I will admit I have always admired Mini Coopers, but never really looked into getting them too much. However, in my search, I came across a deal for a 2011 with about 70k miles for about $7,00 USD from a reputable dealer and it looks really clean. It is the 6 speed manual. This would just be the base hardtop, not the S, which is fine by me for my purposes. I have not test driven it yet, so of course that would be crucial to the decision.

However, in researching, I have of course come across the "horror" reliability issues that everyone seems to talk about. I realize things break on a car and I have been working on them nearly all my 37 years and am a pretty handy DIY'er (and prefer of course to do my own work, if possible but I have limitations). I will say that for as many people who say they love the vehicle, I find others who "loved" it but they paid loads in maintenance fees and it has come across that pretty much anything breaking requires dealer intervention. Another concern is that I live in a somewhat rural area and there are no import dealers around so that could be a problem.

I have read that a lot of the problems one would read about are pre-2011. Is this the case? What is the real scoop on the 'coop so to speak. Should I go for it or should I stay away since I will be relying on it to get me to work every day? Thanks in advance for the advice!

Mike
I've always seen the 2007-2010 years as the least reliable. A big reason is the engine...it had a ton of problems. They did introduce an improved design for 2011 that alleviated a good deal of those problems and I still see a ton of late 2nd gens on the road today. For the most part I've never been a huge fan of the second gen MINIs (2007-2013). They were not quite as raw and fun as the first gen (which to this day I still friggin love) and they're not nearly as refined/premium as the current 3rd gen. They are a weird in-between.

If you're concerned about reliability, a base (non-S) model is an excellent choice as they have always been the more reliable model. 70K miles seems a bit high for a 2011, as you can still find late 1st gen models (2005/2006) with similar mileage (at least around my parts) and I strongly feel the late first gen are more reliable (despite getting up there in age) than the majority of the 2nd gen models. I would say keep looking around a bit. You can probably find a 2005/2006 with low mileage and while you might have a few "little problems" they'll be much easier to fix that some of the "bigger" problems you may encounter on the 2nd gen (Which again, I feel they just never quite got right). If your going to do a 2nd gen, see if you can find a 2012/2013 that is certified pre-owned. It won't break the bank, and you'll get a bit of warranty in there too which will help.

Best of luck!
 

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Don't worry about the coking issue lots of dealers now do walnut blast for less than £200 so it's an easy fix. Listen for timing chain rattle but other than that it's a great car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to everyone for the great responses! And pardon my posting in the wrong forum, still brand new to knowing anything about MINI other than admiring from afar....until NOW! I did a ton of research of the course of a couple days and yeah I read some negative things but also read a lot of positive things too. However, like KYDan mentioned in his response...it is a 5 year old used car and there is no reason to anticipate anything different from any other vehicle around the same year and same condition, etc. This started me thinking...for starters, I realized a lot of the people who complained about things didn't seem to be the type who could actually work on them themselves. I have been working on all kinds of different cars, including my first, an 89 VW Jetta Wolfsburg at the tender age of 19. While I don't want to have to work on a vehicle, I can if need be and, with the proper tools, can do just about everything that would possibly need to be done on any vehicle.

As time went by, I was enticed by all the enthusiasm of the owners and started to get excited. The dealer went out of their way to actually bring in the one I was looking at 200 miles from another location with no extra charge involved. This is a very reputable dealer, in business for probably 4 decades now so the trust issue was not really there. I agree that 70k did seem a tad bit much for a 2011; however, the deal I negotiated beforehand was absolutely killer. So I took my wife and 8 year old daughter to the dealership and test drove it...I caught the "sickness" almost immediately. This car was in pristine condition from everything I could see, sounded great, drove great, and was really fun to drive. I was hooked. Carfax and AutoCheck were both spotless, they threw in a 1 year/15k mile warranty (I am a decent negotiator : ) ), and 2 hours later I drove off in what so far is quite possibly my most favorite car I have ever owned. I have no complaints at all. I look forward to many years with the MINI. In fact, my daughter loved it so much that she said I better keep it in good condition so she can have it when she is 16!

Thanks again everyone for the great advice!

Mike
 
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