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Mini Cooper 2002 review

Overall towcar rating


Attached Image: cooper-1.jpg Attached Image: cooper-2.jpg

Key information

  • Transmission: Manual
  • Year of manufacture: 2002
  • Fuel type: Petrol
  • Engine size: 1.6litres
  • Solo fuel economy: 35 miles per gallon
  • Body type: Coupe

Towcar summary

What's good?

Modern interpretation of a classic. Very easy to chuck around and more fun to drive than most sports cars. Sounds pretty good too and has a very 'solid' feeling.

Extensive list of possible options, this one includes air-con, heated seats (adjustable lumbar very welcome), CD-changer, sports suspension and a few other bits and bobs.

Always puts a smile on your face!

What's bad?

Expensive to run; 125 to 175 for the run-flats; 700-900 known issues regarding steering column and rack.

Combination of sports suspension, run-flats and 19" alloys makes for VERY firm ride (though improves at speed, when driving like The Italian Job).

Would you recommend it?


Towing performance *

How well does it tow?

Teardrops and small-trailers OK, but very light and the early gearboxes (French rather than German) are not durable.

Solo performance *****

What's it like without the caravan?

On a B-road, few things are as fun to drive. Planted handling with telepathic controls! Not the quickest in a straight line (unless JCW edition) but that's not the point...

Reliability ***

Anything to look out for?

Built like a BMW, so very solid and dependable with a few significant exceptions:

Clutch/gearbox in early models (pre 2004) is quite weak, feel the biting point and clutch slippage for indication.

Steering rack/column has known fault, test the hydraulic fluid levels and smoothness of the wheel - if notchy walk away.

Run flats are a pain, check pressures and tread depth as expensive to replace. Smaller alloys preferable for ride quality and price.

Can drink oil, check regularly.

Practicality ***

Is it easy to live with?

Either a; coupe with a tiny boot; or a 2 seater with a cavernous boot...

I think the latter.

Buying experience ****

Did you buy it new or used?


Where did you buy it?

Independent showroom

What was the seller like?

Very good, not too pushy and cleaned it up very well. Didn't manage to fix all issues stated though so got a discount.


All opinions, facts and figures are those of the reviewer. Caravan Talk accepts no responsibility for accuracy of the content.