MINI: Good cars for beginners?
Not a reliable car. Better to get a Toyota.
In what ways is it unreliable? What about safety?
It depends entirely on whether your teen is going to understand the importance of maintenance. And by that I don't mean "kick the tires" and all is well. MINI is NOT the British brand your parents heard about. It is totally owned and marketed through BMW. There is going to be plenty of German blood running through the car and I strongly urge you to consider buying it NEW. If you have to buy it used, get a GOOD mechanic to look at it before you even think about reaching for the checkbook. The engines are a bit fickle but if the son/daughter needs to learn how to fix cars, it's a good start! And they'll have to learn metric. Nothing will be measured in inches or feet. This car is about sticking to schedules and being responsible. Just ask my uber-lazy brother who would NOT listen to me, period. I listened to the MINI mechanics and followed the schedule in the owner's manual to the letter. If they told me to flush the brakes at 20,000 miles, I did it. If they told me to service the transmission at 50,000 miles I did it but I did ask why. The 2009 MINI I owned was actually quite reliable and I suspect it's because of the fickle German engineering under the hood. My lazy brother wouldn't listen to me when he yelled at my dad to make me hand over the car. I was forced to give it up but I warned him to follow the maintenance schedule. He stone cold REFUSED. First thing he did was mess up the oil pan. He kept saying MINI's mechanics didn't know jack about cars! Wow, I could already see where this was going. In the end, after 7 trouble free years (not even an engine part replaced!) he somehow destroyed the engine and blew the gaskets in only 9 MONTHS. The entire car had to be scrapped because he couldn't afford the $2,500 repair bill caused by his own arrogance and laziness. So in the end, IF your kid listens to the mechanics and does what's necessary, it'll be reliable. But once you skimp on maintenance, the problems come. As for F_O_R recommending Toyota. LOL!!!! That brand recalled another several hundred thousand Prius cars for BRAKE problems last week! In one year, they recalled more cars than any Japanese or European brand. Toyota truly is a shadow of its former self. I wouldn't touch the brand with a 500 ft pole.
The Mini has all kinds of issues and is towards the bottom of the reliability charts. They are a safe car that is fun to drive, but I would NOT recommend one as a first car. Do some "Googleing" on Mini problems.
Don't get a Mini. Voted most unreliable brand for years until they got bumped up by Smart. Now that Smart is out of business, expect Mini to head right back down.
100% disagree with Alex. He had a good experience with his Mini, but most won't.
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