Sedans & Coupes

Is the Mini Cooper a Reliable Car?

We love the Mini Cooper because of its unmatched driving dynamics and dashing style. You don’t have to look further than the Mini for a fun-to-drive car that’s ideal for city living. But just how reliable is the Mini Cooper?

What Consumer Reports says about the Mini Cooper

We can’t deny how fun the original Mini Cooper is, but it has a spotty reliability history. According to Consumer Reports, the Mini’s checkered reliability history has a lot to do with the past recalls on the model and overall owner satisfaction ratings. CR determines a vehicle’s predicted reliability score based on its extensive testing and research across 17 potential trouble spots. These include a vehicle’s engine, driving system, and suspension.

Based on its research, CR gave the Mini Cooper its lowest possible predicted reliability score for model years 2006-2012. Potential trouble spots for the Mini during these model years include its engine major, engine cooling, and electric system. However, CR notes that the Mini Cooper has matured over the years, which has helped boost its dependability ratings.

The Mini Cooper was fully redesigned for 2014, and the current 2020 model is part of this same generation. Since its last major redesign, the Mini Cooper has significantly improved upon its problematic areas. From 2015 onward, CR has given the Mini above-average reliability scores. Based on CR’s recent studies, we recommend the Mini’s 2015-2019 model years as the best to buy used.

RELATED: What to Consider When Buying a Car That Might Need Recall Work

J.D. Power’s dependability scores

J.D. Power also agrees that the Mini Cooper has come a long way in regards to reliability. In 2019, J.D. Power deemed the Mini Cooper as its most dependable compact car and ranked the Mini brand fourth overall for dependability. Four years prior, J.D. Power ranked the Mini as 28th out of 32 for reliability. J.D. Power’s rankings indicate that the Mini Cooper’s quality has significantly improved. The 2020 Mini also earned a top spot on J.D. Power’s vehicle dependability list. 

RELATED: How to Pick the Right MINI for You

RepairPal’s rating breakdown 

2020 Mini Cooper SE Electric
2020 Mini Cooper SE on display at Brussels Expo | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

RepairPal determines a car’s reliability scores based on a consumer’s annual cost of ownership. That being said, RepairPal ranked the Mini Cooper last for reliability in the subcompact car class with a 3.0 out of 5.0 score. According to RepairPal, the average annual repair costs for the Mini are $846, while the average cost of ownership for other subcompact cars is $456. 

The predicted ownership costs are worth considering before you buy a Mini Cooper. RepairPal also notes that Mini Cooper owners are more likely to have to bring their vehicles in for unscheduled repairs than other subcompact car owners. 

Summing it all up

As we mentioned earlier, the Mini Cooper’s overall quality has dramatically improved over the years, contributing to its higher reliability ratings. Buying a used Mini is a good idea if you’re looking to get this classic ride at a discounted price. If you are serious about buying a used Mini, make sure that the model you want has undergone routine maintenance.