2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)
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.
Bought my 2003 over a year ago with 73,000 miles. Now at about 104,000. Had to replace the rear brakes/calipers/rotors/pads, and was not cheap. Replaced front rotors/pads. Replaced front left hub/bearing at $300 just for parts. Within the last couple of days my windows started opening by themselves, and the doors started unlocking themselves. When I go out in the morning, it's unnerving to see the windows open, and all the locks unlocked. Don't
know what's up with this. Called dealer, and asked about oil/filter, and replace radiator hoses, and thermostat. $365. Seems a little high. Anyone have info on the mysterious window/locks working by themselves?
Like many others, I have had nothing but problems since I purchased this car used less than a year ago.
When I got it I seemed to be in ok condition even after 2 previous owners and 140k.
Starting in the 2nd month o ownership I began having to replace things--each time a cost of $500-$600 mainly due to the high price of the parts.
Every time I fix something, I have another problem.
I am looking to get rid of the car as soon as I can because I cannot afford to keep fixing it nor can I spend all of my time at the shop.
Great car in its younger years--definitely not a primary vehicle or one that will hold up over the years.
I love hownthe car drives and how you feel connected to the ground.
Other small cars feel like the wind can knock them over--not a MINI.
Still feels spacious even as its so small.
Everything is in mini form--cup holder included.
Also, the windshield is shaped in such a way that when you pull up to a traffic light you often cannot see the light without craning your neck--I am only 5'5"...
MINIs have a recall on the power steering pump--mine went out just 4k over the 150k limit and the dealer wouldn't budge to help me cover the cost--$1200.
I hope later models do not have this same tendency or if they do, BMW needs to correct it.
MINI makes shiny, cute cars but shorts the consumer in ways you don't find out until later.
Not an everyday, primary car though the company promotes it as so.
I was given this car in 2004 as a gift from my parents. I could not have been happier. After having it for over eight years now, I am ready to drive it into the Hudson. This car has been nothing but one major problem after another. The first year I got it I was on the highway and the car just stopped switching gears above third gear. Luckily that was covered under warranty. Since, I have had the air conditioning go out twice, the power steering go out, windows stopped, door locks stopped, numerous overheating episodes, etc. My poor father has spent numerous hours and dollars repairing this thing. Thank goodness I have him though, because I would have spent several thousands by now
I bought my Cooper used w/ 68,000 miles.
W/in 4 months this happened: First the key fob quit locking/unlocking door & would instead spontaneously open all the windows. Then the driver's side door handle quit working so I had to roll window down to get out, until window quit too, then I had to crawl out passenger side. Electrical issues caused all windows + sunroof to open when it rained which ruined the cloth seats. Then it started running out of gas before it was on E. Doors locked shut once so my bf had to crawl out window & I had go out trunk so I could roll window up. Then the tranny quit! $5k for a rebuilt! So then I had to give car back to bank 6 months after I got it.
It was really cute on the outside, and would fit in any parking spot.
It was also very fun to drive and got great gas mileage!
Even though it took premium gas, it got very good gas mileage so it worked out.
Where I live it was hard to find an oil change clinic that seemed like they really knew how to service a MINI cooper. I loved the open glass top of the roof, but it seemed like it made the car so hot it would take quite a while to cool down.
Tint on the side windows might have helped that. Cups in the cup holder would block the little toggle switches, but I didn't really mind.
Apparantly the trannys are known for problems which I wish I wold have researched, as I am still in school & now have no car since I cant afford 5000 to fix that! Then when you replace the transmission how do you know you're not putting the same problematic tranny back into it? Who can afford taking that chance?