Tips, Tricks & Trends

Buying a New Mini Cooper Doesn’t Seem That Fun Anymore

Enthusiasts have long hailed the Mini Cooper as one of the best options if you want a fun driving experience. Style and available luxury are also obvious reasons to pick the Mini Cooper over other small cars. Though, there’s one primary reason why buying a new 2021 Mini Cooper isn’t all that appealing.

The Mini Cooper lost an important form of recognition 

A Mini Cooper convertible on display at an auto show
A retro designed Mini Convertible | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

As we mentioned, the Mini Cooper has been an easy choice if you want a unique driving experience. What made the current Mini Cooper generation more appealing is that it had the reliability factor on its side too. Unfortunately, that’s changed.

The Mini Cooper was one of the 16 cars to lose Consumer Reports recommendation for the 2021 model year. This loss comes after CR’s 2020 auto surveys to its members. In the most recent survey, some Mini Cooper owners reported problems with their vehicle’s climate system, primarily with the condenser and compressor.

Other trouble spots for the Mini Cooper include its in-car electronics, i.e., drivers unable to pair their phones. Using the keyless entry function has also been an issue. Additionally, there were reports of premature brake wear. It’s also worth highlighting that the 2020 Mini Cooper was recalled for potential airbags and body structure issues. 

Why the Mini Cooper’s recent reliability troubles are curious 

A blue 2020 Mini Cooper Oxford Edition on display in front of a building
A 2020 Mini Cooper Oxford Edition on display | Photo via Mini

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CR gave the 2021 Mini Cooper a two out of five for predicted reliability based on the updated survey data. This Mini’s below-average score is curious since the vehicle hasn’t had any significant changes recently. CR’s evaluations show that new cars or newly redesigned models typically have more problems in the beginning. The newly redesigned Kia Soul is an example of this. 

Even though the Mini Cooper only recently lost CR’s formal recommendation, the vehicle’s problems aren’t new. The most common Mini Cooper problems are expensive. A major complaint for the 2002 model year concerned water pooling on the floorboard. More recently, there was a class-action lawsuit against BMW for a sudden loss of power steering. 

There are few Mini alternatives to consider 

Volkswagen Golf Hatchback on display at auto show
Volkswagen Golf Hatchback

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You have a few options to consider for a fun car with better dependability ratings. For example, the Mini Countryman is a worthy choice if you want to stay within the family. CR still recommends the Mini Countryman and gives it an average reliability score. The Countryman has other advantages over the conventional Mini Cooper, such as more interior space and performance options.

It’s also worth exploring small car options from other brands. The 2021 Volkswagen Golf is an excellent alternative to the Mini Cooper; CR couldn’t find anything wrong with it. With the Golf, you also get zippy driving dynamics and hatchback versatility. Plus, the Golf comes with more standard features than what Mini provides, such as a wifi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. 

You might be intrigued by the Buick Encore GX, too. The Encore GX isn’t necessarily as fun as a Mini, but it does present a unique style. This Buick also offers luxurious features that can make your everyday drives more enjoyable.