Used 2003 MINI Cooper Consumer Reviews - 336 Car Reviews | Edmunds
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2003 MINI Cooper - Consumer Reviews

2003 MINI Cooper

Average Consumer Rating

336 Total Reviews

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Need space in the garage?
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Chazz
on

Vehicle

2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)


Review

Here was the challenge: Find a decent performing car that would fit in my two car garage along with an electric golf cart and a Chrysler Town and Country. At the time – about three years ago - the Fiat Abarth was out of stock at the local dealers and the current Mini was about an inch and a half too long. However the earlier Mini, being a little shorter, would work just fine, so I bought a used Cooper S to replace my Porsche. The previous owner had installed 18 inch wheels which allowed the car to corner as if on rails but resulted in a really rough ride. After about a year of this, I changed to 17 inch wheels. Much better. Any car with over 100,000 miles is going to need a lot of things replaced, and the Mini is no exception. Maintenance cost can be greatly reduced by not using “genuine Mini” parts. For example, I just had the clutch changed (for the first time) at 160,000 miles. The dual mass flywheel used as original equipment by Mini is made by Luk in Germany. Buying the replacement genuine Luk part from Rock Auto cost me $254.79 whereas had I bought the same part with a Mini sticker on it, the price would have been $734.75. I think of this Mini as a two person and a dog sports car that surprises many people with how fast it i


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Research the quality issues before you buy
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Paul Chiang
on

Vehicle

2003 MINI Cooper 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)


Review

The Mini Cooper is the car to get if you value the unique blend of sporty handling, appearance and cargo space above all else, including reliability issues and the high cost of maintenance and repairs. I have spent as much on repairs and maintenance as the purchase price by the first 70k miles. There is no shortage of class action lawsuits for various problems that Mini refused to resolve.

It's a fun car to drive well under the speed limit. I can squeeze a lot of stuff into it. I have been able to transport a queen memory foam mattress.


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NOT reliable after 125K miles
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Ethan
on

Vehicle

2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)


Review

I take good care of my cars. But as soon as these Minis get up to 125K - 130K miles, literally EVERYTHING starts failing. And each repair runs $500-$700. In the span of 4 months, I experienced a coolant leak, corrupted crank sensor, busted water pump, and finally a busted head gasket. The last one was the final straw - the mechanic said the repair would cost more than the car's value. And I should also mention, these cars are NOT made to withstand Wisconsin winters. If you live in the Northwest, avoid these cars at all costs.


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I love my mini - Car lover
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Amber
on

Vehicle

2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)


Review

Just starting from the time I got the car- I Purchased my mini last year (in 2014). The seller did not do any maintenance to the car since he owned it (for 3 years) and no record of what was done to the car. I could tell there was something going on with the belt at the time I purchased it. (ended up being belt tensioner)

We have done tons of maintenance that was overdue along with preventative maintenance to keep it running strong.I literally drove my mini from Florida to California, then from California to Iowa, then from Iowa to Florida and had no issues. Not to mention the little car was weighted down most likely beyond its capacity as I was moving around the country a lot at the time. Here is a list of typical things that need to be replaced for higher mile minis and I highly suggest you look into these parts for replacement if you do own a mini:

*Bypass valve
*PC Valve
*Spark plugs and wires
*Coil Pack (usually rusted connection causing acceleration issues)
*Map Sensors (preventative not really needed at the time)
*Timing chain tensioner
*ATI super charger damper crank pulley (highly suggest you go with a higher grade crank pulley- the stock ones are known to not last)
*Power steering pump (always known to eventually go bad)
Oil pan and seal
*replaced belt
*fuel filter
*Suspension bump stops
*Engine Mounts (mine were literally done for falling apart- i went with poly mounts however it will make the car more rigid so more vibration)

I am a mother with a 3-year-old son. I have a large Recaro Car seat that fits in my car. I drive my car daily and I make road trips in my car. You have to decide personally why do you want an older R53 mini? My husband and I work on our own cars so we don't pay for a mechanic; We only pay for the parts. I highly suggest Way Motor Works or ECS Tuning they have the best deals on parts from what we have found for my mini.
The car is small and rigid so the ride is not as smooth as our 335Xi BMW. If you want something that drives like a Cadillac then think about getting a different car. This is a fun little car that I enjoy modding and driving and I plan on replacing the engine when it comes to that point. I don't plan on ever getting rid of my mini. Is there some maintenance sure what car does not have maintenance especially once you hit 100k miles. Mini coopers are not your Toyota Camry or Honda Civic standard car they are for the unique few who find an interest in the silly character and the up and down pro and cons of what all involves the mini.


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For Risk-Takers Only
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By joe troise
on

Vehicle

2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)


Review

These little cars are very seductive, but beware--the early model Minis are quite trouble prone and as expensive to maintain and repair as a Porsche (not an exaggeration---I checked this thoroughly). Clutch? How's $2400? Engine? How's $6,500 on up? Automatic transmission? Don't even ask. Front brakes? $500. Broken AC? $1200 on up. New catalytic? How about $1800? Broken sunroof glass? Again, don't ask, you'll have a heart attack.

Plusses: Fun to drive, great acceleration on the S model, plenty of leg and head room for tall drivers, decent fuel economy, great handling and braking (to a point--a Mini does like to hop around a bit).

Minuses: AC sucks, punishing hard ride, jittery handling on rough roads, extremely high repair and maintenance costs.

In short, if you can't throw $150 a month at a car to keep it running and safe, then don't buy an R53 or R52 Mini Cooper.


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