"I've had my MINI Cooper for 3 years and it's still a complete joy to drive. Handling is terrific, the 6-speed reacts very well, and getting it around town is very easy. For anyone living in a city, parking this car is very easy. The gas mileage is awesome, too, and the car holds a surprisingly large amount of cargo.
The drawbacks (b/c that's why you're reading this):
1. My wife hates the car. She's not in it very often but she dislikes the lack of headroom, even though she's average height.
2. The car is ok in the snow, but not great. Get snow tires and you'll be fine.
3. I always drive with the rear seats folded down, otherwise the headrests from the rear seats can block my vision when I look in my rear-view mirror. This isn't a meaningful issue for me, since this is my commuting car, but it could be for you if you intend to have other people in your car on any regular basis.
4. Backing out of spaces in a parking lot / car park can be tricky since the car is so small. I always back into spaces so that I'm driving forward when I leave.
I tell anyone who asks that I love my car. I would recommend a MINI to anyone who's interested in value for their money, who loves to drive, and is comfortable driving a small car."
"I drive this car hard-36,000 in less than a year. What a blast! My only complaints- run-flat tires create vibration that cannot be corrected and the rear view mirrow is too big! I can live w/ the speedo but the mirrow takes up too much vision. I get a constsant 33 mpg w/reg gas. I'm 58 yrs old and have owned everything from TR4's to Grand Nationals and CJ's. This car is FUN!"
"Coming from an Audi A6 and looking for a fun fuel efficient car, I found what I was looking for with the MINI Cooper S.
I enjoy all the bells and whistles of bluetooth, climate control, leather seats in a small fun package that is a blast to drive around town, even with the 6 speed manual. I don't have many requirements carrying big items, but with the back seats down, I still have enough room for trips to Costco and traveling with luggage with my bride and golden retreiver. Great mileage (28 to 32 real world MPG) along with hair trigger handling make this old Porsche driver very happy. Haven't run into any quality or service issues yet after 5K miles. My wife has a 335i coupe and it's a tossup which car to take on trips. The MINI does have more road noise telegraphed into the cabin if on rough surfaces, but it's not that overbearing. Overall a great choice for a city bomber and backroad rocket."
"I ordered this car with no options except an armrest. For less than the cheapest BMW you get a track worthy car. Brakes are incredible. Horsepower more than adequate, handling is very neutral, hardly feel that it is FWD.
My very modified E36 M3 may never see the track again.
If you love to drive, you have to try this car out."
"I love the car and get outstanding gas milage.It does what I want the only problem is the distance and pricing of service. The only place really qualified to work on a mini is a mini dealer. Mini dealers are few and far between, you find them in major metro areas only. Good luck on a cross country trip ! I love the car but difficult to maintain. Parts can be ordered on line(expensive). Maintenence manual isn't avaliable until 3 to 4 years after the year of manufactuer. There is a three year all maintence included in price but that is really an oil change every 10,000 miles they wanted me to go 18,000. I thought 10,000 wasn't frequent enough. Starting to get a few vibrations in dash at 28000 miles when shifting."