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Used 2003 MINI Cooper Hatchback Consumer Reviews

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$4,833 - $7,533

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Pros
Cons
4 out of 5 stars

I love my mini - Car lover

Amber, 10/11/2015
2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)
48 of 48 people found this review helpful

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.

Safety
4 out of 5 stars
Technology
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Interior
5 out of 5 stars
Comfort
3 out of 5 stars
Reliability
4 out of 5 stars
Value
5 out of 5 stars
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3 out of 5 stars

Need space in the garage?

Chazz, 05/30/2016
2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)
27 of 27 people found this review helpful

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

Safety
4 out of 5 stars
Technology
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Interior
3 out of 5 stars
Comfort
3 out of 5 stars
Reliability
3 out of 5 stars
Value
4 out of 5 stars
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3.25 out of 5 stars

Cute on the Outside, Scarey Under the Hood

ddealminana, 05/26/2012
2003 MINI Cooper 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)
35 of 39 people found this review helpful

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

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3 out of 5 stars

Research the quality issues before you buy

Paul Chiang, 05/28/2016
updated 07/03/2016
2003 MINI Cooper 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)
21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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 lived with a stuck driver's side window and a windshield stress crack for many years. When I brought my Mini in for a recent power steering recall, I was informed that coolant and oil was leaking. It would cost almost $3k at the dealer or $1.5k at an independent shop. There is no shortage of class action lawsuits for various problems that Mini refused to resolve. It's a fun car to drive under the speed limit. I can squeeze a lot of stuff into it. I have been able to transport a folded queen memory foam mattress. I decided to sell my Mini rather than repair everything and risk facing other issues (clutch, transmission, etc.) popping up in the near future. I paid the MSRP of $17k in 2003 and sold it for $3k to the local franchise dealer in 2016 after another mechanic corroborated the repairs that were needed. I was not able to get anyone on Craigslist to pay more than the dealer.

Safety
3 out of 5 stars
Technology
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Interior
3 out of 5 stars
Comfort
2 out of 5 stars
Reliability
1 out of 5 stars
Value
3 out of 5 stars
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2 out of 5 stars

Good for a while...

socalpv7, 10/21/2016
2003 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl S/C 6M)
10 of 11 people found this review helpful

I had my 2003 Mini Cooper S for just over a year. It was a good year of ownership but not without it's major hiccups. I, too, was one of the people that thought I would be amongst the "lucky ones" and not have any of the issues that the other reviews mentioned. I wish I was wrong. The Mini was not bad at first...I got mine with only 57K miles. It was fun to drive, gripped like a go cart, had decent acceleration, and got okay fuel economy. Just over a year later I am glad it is gone (with 64K miles). I miss it, but it was far too expensive to maintain. Here is my list of the things that went wrong while I owned the car (I kept up on maintenance, or at least tried to): 1. Engine would occasionally randomly have issues idling and sometimes shut down. 2. The A/C is basically non-existent. Even with a fresh re-charge it never blew cold or strong enough to make a difference (say hello to sweaty back on hot days). Also, don't know if it was just mine, but anytime the A/C was on, even on low, the car was much harder to drive and would sometimes stall when idling. Acceleration was also drastically decreased. 3. Everything creaks and rattles from the interior plastics, cheap door sound, etc. 4. Clutch/flywheel started making screeching sounds, come to find out flywheel was burning ($1,800 for clutch and flywheel). The dealer said this is a common issue. 5. A/C compressor went out in the middle of the summer ($900). 6. Two days after the A/C went out, passenger window motor regulator failed, couldn't roll window down or all the way up. 7. Headliner was sagging since the day I got it and got worse on cold days. 8. Power steering fluid reservoir always had a leak no matter how many times it was fixed (common issue). 9. Two weeks after the A/C and window regulator went out, the power steering failed. It was a nice August summer turning around the weight of the car with no A/C or passenger window. Luckily enough that was under recall and got fixed. 10. After the recall got fixed I got a list of $3,600 worth of repairs that the dealer said "red--required attention soon". Add on the "yellow--will soon require attention" and it was up to about $5,200. I decided to part with my MINI at this point. Needless to say, it was hard to sell with such a long list of issues. If you are a college student or are tight on money, this is probably not the car for you. You can get a similar driving dynamic and performance for other cars that will not cost you as much to maintain.

Safety
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Interior
3 out of 5 stars
Comfort
2 out of 5 stars
Value
3 out of 5 stars
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