The older a car gets, the more challenges you’ll have maintaining it. Old engines can pose an expensive challenge as some models begin to burn too much oil, even with regular maintenance. Consumer Reports has compiled a list of models particularly susceptible to burning oil for prospective used car buyers. If you’re considering a used Mini Cooper, there are some model years to avoid.
Considering a used car?
You’re not alone. Used car sales have skyrocketed since the outset of the pandemic, in many cases leaving dealers scrambling to manage a glut of new car inventory. However, despite the wealth of information online, some buyers have ended up with used vehicles that have produced far more headaches than they bargained for.
Consumer Reports’ recent piece, “Used Cars That Burn Oil – And What to Buy Instead,” can help prospective buyers identify and avoid models with this expensive and dangerous problem. Covering a full range of SUVs and sedans, the article also offers more reliable used alternatives to purchase.
For example, take the Acura MDX. Consumer Reports notes that MDXs manufactured between 2010 and 2012 with 3.7-liter engines suffered a higher than average set of complaints about oil consumption issues. In fact, these models received a warranty extension several years ago, but for most of these models, the warranty has now expired. The publication recommends prospective buyers looking for a reliable and similarly priced three-row luxury SUV consider acquiring a used 2010-2013 Lexus RX instead.
Should you buy a used Mini Cooper?
Are you considering a used Mini Cooper? Unfortunately, these cars make the list, specifically the 2010-2013 model years. It’s unfortunate given how fun Mini Coopers can be to drive due to superior road handling and solid fuel economies.
The 2013 Mini Cooper, for example, is known for its agility, petite frame, and chic retro styling. Its turbocharged engine can hit 60 mph in 5.7 seconds and generate 181 horsepower and 117 lb-ft of torque. It is compact, and so it’s not ideal for regularly transporting four adults. However, two can fit comfortably in the front with children in the back. The Mini Cooper also includes limited but satisfying tech options, including a 6.5-inch infotainment system. Used Mini Cooper buyers may find affordable higher trims with features like a 10-speaker sound system, keyless entry, and heated front seats.
Unfortunately, 2010-2013 Mini Coopers equipped with 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines burn excessive amounts of oil. Couple this unfortunate fact with the Mini Cooper’s need for premium fuel and poor reliability ratings, and suddenly, this option is less attractive.
What does Consumer Reports recommend instead? That would be a 2013 Honda Fit, which you should be able to find for $11,000 or less. So, why the Honda Fit?
A look at the 2013 Honda Fit
Besides avoiding the excessive oil-burning problem, Honda Fit buyers will find a lot to like about it. The standard version comes with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 117 horsepower and 106 lb-ft of torque and hits 60 in just over 10 seconds. Nevertheless, its small frame makes for easy driving and maneuverability. Moreover, it has an excellent fuel economy rating at 27-28/33-35 mpg for city/highway driving.
The Honda Fit is ideal for tall drivers with a low floor and high ceiling despite its small frame. It also offers generous legroom in the front and rear and 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space. Its standard tech features are not as impressive as the 2013 Mini Cooper, but you may be able to buy one from an owner who added navigation and Bluetooth capability.
Still, despite its shortcomings, Honda Fit purchasers can enjoy a car with better reliability ratings that doesn’t require premium fuel. Best of all, the Fit’s engine won’t burn excessive oil, which could chew up as much as half of the likely purchase price in engine replacement costs.