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MINI Cooper, Hatchback
Aug 12, 2002 (7:58 am)
What kind of problems have you had with your MINI? Have they been only annoyances or real threating problems?
Rest assured, your MINI is a vastly superior car to the current generation IV VW Beetle in every possible way including interior space packaging. The Beetle is simply a Golf with a Beetle body, that's pretty much it. The current Jetta/Golf/Beetle IV Platform is becoming pretty obsolete as these cars in stock form exhibit too much understeer, soft springs and generally good but not earth shattering handling dynamics. Also the Beetle has a solid rear axle which is prehistoric in comparison to the rear suspension setup found in the MINI.
As noted by the previous poster, the Beetle's reliability has been rated from poor (Used cars to avoid per CR) to the current average rating. VW service is nothing to write home about and these cars by now already have very well documented design and assembly problems that will only be cured when the next generation V platform debuts in 2004.
Finally, I will avoid a Mexican manufactured VW product at all costs, trust me, the Puebla plant is churning out very questionnable quality and continues to do so (Just check the Jetta/Beetle forums and see for yourself).
A family acquitance bought a new 2002 Brazilian built VW Golf 5 door. The car has been great so far but the 2.0L engine is noisy and racous in the highway albeit it returns good fuel economy and has good low end torque for a small 4 cylinder.
If I were to go to a VW Beetle, I would prefer the Golf as it is a more practical, better looking car for the same money. Better yet I would wait next year for the V generation Jetta/Golf cars but be warned, these will be first year models such as your MINI, so don't expect squeaky clean reliability from the get go.
Based on the MINI's reliability performance so far (MINI2.com MINICooperonline.com Roadfly.com) I think most of the problems experienced by early build owners are mostly annoyances and nothing safety threating with the exception of the shifter cable problem in 5 speed Coopers (Which BMW already issued a worldwide recall and VIN range numbers have been posted for a new improved cable fix) and the hesitation in some MCS models (For which a software fix is scheduled to be distributed next month).
I think the MINI is a very solid and excellent bet from any point of view. It boggles my mind why people keep buying such junk as the Ford Focus (Ugly, cheap interior and chock full of recalls).
But if you want an APPLIANCE that almost never sees the dealer for the exception of oil changes, then a Toyota Echo is more the car for you. But hey who knows, even Toyotas have had problems with engine sludge!!
So as you can see the 100% perfect car does not exist and all manufacturers can put a bad apple here and there from time to time. Is just the nature of high production numbers.
#905 of 2671 Worldwide recall???
Aug 12, 2002 (8:41 am)
I had heard rumblings of a possible recall, but nothing in stone. Where is it posted? I am expecially curious because you say it also references specific VINs. Not sure if mine falls within the ones slated for the new shift cable or not. If necessary, I'd rather get a pre-emptive fix as opposed to getting stranded at wrong place/wrong time.
#906 of 2671 Here is the NHTSA notification
Aug 12, 2002 (8:51 am)
( I would strongly suggest for you to frequent more MINI2.com Minicooperonline.com and Roadfly.com sites as these have much more up-to-date information than the dedicated topics here in Edmunds.com)
Recall Alert: MINI COOPER
Owner Notification Date: 7/26/2002
Number of Units Potentially Affected: 3,531
Component Description: POWER TRAIN:TRANSMISSION:3 SPEED:LEVER AND LINKAGE:FLOOR SHIFT
NHTSA Campaign Number: 02V201000
Description of Recall Campaign: On certain passenger vehicles equipped with manual transmissions, the transmission shift cable connects the gearshift lever in the vehicle interior to the shift linkage on the transmission. It is possible for the shift cable to detach from the transmission shift linkage while the driver is attempting to change gears. If the cable detaches from the shift linkage, gear changes will no longer be possible and the transmission will remain in the last gear selected.
If shift cable detachment occurs and the transmission remains in any forward gear, the vehicle can still be driven in that gear only. However, if the transmission moves into neutral and remains there, the ability to accelerate or maintain speed will be lost, increasing the risk of a crash.
Dealers will inspect the shift cable and, if necessary, install a retaining clip over the end of the shift cable to prevent it from detaching from the transmission. Owner notification is expected to begin August 15, 2002. Owners who take their vehicles to an authorized dealer on an agreed upon service date and do not receive the free remedy within a reasonable time should contact BMW at 1-866-ASK-MINI (1-866-275-6464).
Aug 12, 2002 (8:53 am)
I guess some of us are too stupid to not buy "such junk".
By the way, saw my first MINI that was actually out on the road. Silver with black roof. Great looking car. Oklahoma City finally gets its first official MINI dealer January of 2003. 'Bout time!
Aug 12, 2002 (9:20 am)
Kev, sorry about my early remarks re: Focus. Totally off the wall. But let me just say this....I had an opportunity to ride in a new Focus ZX3 over the weekend and was not impressed with the interior materials and finish. I had higher expectations for this car in terms of interior build quality and finish. It looks and feels very cheap. I almost felt like I was riding an old Renault or Fiat or even a Pontiac LeMans (The ones made by Daewoo).
I am sure the car is terrific in many other aspects but the interior is really Dodge Neon grade all the way. The ergomonics are a different matter all together.
Still, the Focus recall history and low resale value are its main deterrents amid very good competitors in its class. The irony of it all is that Ford did both good and bad to the Focus, by creating a world class small car and by at the same time destroying its quality reputation in NA at the same time.
Aug 12, 2002 (9:37 am)
Hey, I'm not going to dispute that Ford's boned up the launch of the Focus, that's for sure! Really I think the interior is not as nice in quality as the Civic or Golf, but on par with the Protege, Sentra and previous Corolla. (I haven't been in the new Corolla, but hear that it is now the class leader in interior quality for inexpensive compacts).
To tie back into the MINI. I really dig the exterior and interior styling. Still see a few of the original Mini's running around town.
Aug 12, 2002 (10:21 am)
Would you let go of your Focus for a new MINI?
#911 of 2671 if it was available as a 5-door
Aug 12, 2002 (10:38 am)
most likely yes. I prefer 5-door hatches though. Even so, I was still tempted to say "screw the extra doors" and buy a MINI if I liked it, but alas, no authorized dealer here. There is a local import dealer that was selling them, but the thought of driving to Kansas City for warranty work/recalls seemed ridiculous!
Really If I could let go of the extra doors, it would have been between a Golf GTi, Mini Cooper S, and a SVT Focus.
Also, all of this would be dependent on what price I could actually get a MINI out the door for. Seems like the actual selling prices are all over the map for some people.
#912 of 2671 Mini and Oil Change Schedules
Aug 13, 2002 (6:34 am)
Just ordered the wife a new Copper with delivery in October.
I'd be interested in some opinions concerning the recommended oil change schedule. Mini's come with synthetic oil from the factory (recommended for regular use), and the first recommended change is at 10,000 miles. Every 15,000 miles thereafter. WTF? I maintain our cars myself, including oil changes (always synthetic), and go 5,000 miles between changes.
Thoughts? Comments? I can't understand such a long schedule. Don't tell me these engines don't create acids, sludge, particulate and dirt over time.
Aug 13, 2002 (6:51 am)
The Mini has been developed by the engineering geniuses at BMW which in its own cars advises oil changes at 15,000 mile intervals. Believe me, engines are built better than well enough to withstand 15,000 oil change intervals (especially with synthetics).
Also, I know you chnage your own oil, but Free Scheduled Maintenance is included with the Mini for the forst 3 years/36,000 miles.