I bought a 2012 MINI Cooper (Base Hardtop with 1.6L engine and 6 speed automatic transmission) for my wife as a birthday present and we absolutely love it ! We've owned it for about 6 months and put 5000 miles on it (had 47k when we purchased it). So far, it's been decently reliable and economical car to own. We've been averaging around 33 mpg under mixed conditions and around 38 -40 mpg on highways (the computer calculated mileage it displays is usually 2-4 mpg higher, but I'm happy it's getting the advertised mileage from the EPA/MINI). Oil changes are very cheap since it only requires 4.4 quarts and it costs less than $50 for synthetic oil+filter if you're a DIY person. The car has very good visibility and decent cargo storage when you fold the rear seats down because let's face it, you're almost never going to have anyone sitting in the back. The stereo is excellent and all the electronics have been working perfectly. The brakes on the car are incredible which is probably because of how light the car is! The only reliability related issue we've had is a rough metallic clunky noise (sounds like a bucket of bucket of bolts) which turned out to be because of running very low on engine oil. It was particularly evident on coldstarts in the morning and would almost stall when you come to a stop even after the engine warmed up. My initial thought was that it was the infamous timing chain tensioner and I ended up replacing it during the oil change, but the part I removed was perfectly fine so it must have just been low oil causing the issue. Thankfully, the OEM tensioner only cost me $25 and was simple to replace, and I don't have to worry about it for at least another 50k miles. I do not have any oil burning issues, so it might just be that the previous owner did not fill sufficient oil. From a driving perspective, the throttle/engine/transmission combination is sometimes hesitant and sluggish to respond when you take off from a stop, but sport mode usually fixes that. The seats are excellent quality and won't hurt your back on a long road trip. Overall, it's a really fun car particularly in the city (road and wind noise is a little loud at highway speeds) and I'd highly recommend this car to anyone!
2012 MINI Cooper S 2dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
Bought new, have loved it! I'm retired and have babied her, never been over 4500 rpms. Oil chg between scheduled times! Great car for someone. Extras, K&N filter, JCW strut brace, legal mod. pipes! Rear seat has never been up! Update@ 70000 miles! Same as before, great car.
2012 MINI Cooper S 2dr Convertible (1.6L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
New timing chain 17,000 miles, Check Engine light on CONSTANTLY, new high pressure fuel pump 35000 miles. Out of warranty, with only 48000 miles, told it needs new engine $12,000. Maintenance kept to schedule. But MINI generosity, offered $1500 off new car (trade-in should be around $9,000). NEVER have I had a car that was this bad. Would give it a 0 for reliability and value if it were possible. Spent more time in the shop than on the road.
I traded in my trouble plagued 2002 Mini, for what I thought was a major upgrade. I purchased my 2012 Base Model Mini with manual transmission last Aug. with 31,000 miles. While driving down to my favorite eatery, shifting from 1st to 2nd shifter know came off in my hand. I managed to replace it and continued on. A couple of days later a aprox. 32,000 miles I began to notice a clatter from the engine at first start up in the morning, during the next few weeks it became progressively worse. I took it to the local Mini dealer and was informed the clatter was the clutch failing. Being a mechanic for 40 plus years I called BS, told them to keep the car for a cold start test the next day. Low and behold it was determined the timing chain was at fault, these engines apparently have chain tensioners prone to failure. The timing chain was replaced along with tensioners and gears. The dealer Seattle Mini stuck by their story that my clutch was failing and would be 2400.00 to replace, but offered me an extended warranty that would cover the clutch for 1895.00. What a way to cover the cost of the warranty work. About 2 weeks after having the work down, the engine began to misfire badly, had it towed to the dealer, they replaced the coil packs for the ignition, and spark plugs and wires. So here we are today, 41,102 miles, the engine is beginning to clatter again from the exact same location. Under warranty to 50,000 miles. Soon as it gets worse to justify the warranty work and before 50,000 miles back in again for another timing chain, followed by a quick trade in for another car, not MINI. Oh and did I mention that Seattle Mini tried the whole your clutch is failing routine on me a 2nd time with offer of the extended warranty when I took it in for the Misfire problem I mentioned earlier. By the way the clutch still works perfect, however the manual transmission has always been clunky when shifting, the transition from 1st to 2nd requires a firm pull, it also has no reverse lock out, on 2 separate occasions I have been at a light and forgot to downshift into first, while quickly doing so as to not block traffic, it went into reverse. Luckily caught it before I hit someone behind me. Been driving manual for years.