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Buying a used BMW Mini

By raccars Published

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The BMW Mini revival has been an astounding success but doesn't come cheap. Fortunately there are plenty of good quality used models on the market from £1,500.

The Mini has always been an icon of Britishness, so BMW was entering dangerous territory by choosing to reboot it in 2000. However the modern Mini is just as beloved and successful as the original, featuring similar cute, retro styling and a user friendly compact footprint for easy parking. Of course the modern BMW Mini is far more expensive than its predecessor, but there are some bargains to be found in the used market.

Mini Convertible

In 2004, BMW took a risk by chopping off the roof of the standard Mini - a risk that paid off. The soft top adds even more fun to an already entertaining car, although driving dynamics take a modest hit. If you're looking at a used Mini convertible, make sure the roof mechanism works as there were some problems with roof cables in early versions which can be expensive to repair. Watch out for known problems with the gearbox and power steering too. However the Mini Convertible looks great and is reasonably cheap to run - just don't expect to fit adult passengers in the back seat or a big family shop in the boot! Expect to pay from £4,500 for a low mileage Cooper S from 2006.

Mini Clubman

The Clubman is divisive with motorists either loving or hating it. Very few are indifferent. If you haven't come across it, the Clubman turns the Mini hatchback into a five door estate. Access to the rear is via a 'Club door' - a split opening side door. Unfortunately for British buyers, these are always found on the right hand side of the car, meaning that they open onto traffic. The boot has 'barn doors' which are reasonably practical. Its stretched format makes the Clubman rather more spacious than the standard Mini, while trim levels and engines are shared with the hatchback. A low mileage Cooper Clubman from 2007 should cost from about £5,300.

BMW Mini

The first generation Mini hatchback was the car that started it all off. It was launched in 2001 with distinctive retro styling, premium build quality and clever marketing. With substance to match the style, it was an instant success. A sensible compromise has been made between economy and performance and it's a very entertaining drive. There are a couple of known reliability issues with the manual gearbox and power steering but overall this is a lot of car for the money - 70,000 miler entry level Mini Ones can be found from about £1,500.

Mini Countryman

The Mini range was expanded once again in 2010 with the Countryman, a beefed-up, crossover version of the hatchback. Despite the rugged exterior, this is definitely more of a soft roader than a serious mudplugger, but it is bigger than the standard Mini. The ride can be a little hard but the extra size hasn't caused any issues with handling. Go for a more refined petrol model if you can find one. In Cooper specification, a Countryman with 50,000 miles on the clock should give you some change from £10,000.

Mini Coupe

The unusual looking Coupe was introduced in 2012 to challenge the likes of the VW Scirocco and the Peugeot RCZ. The sporty ride can be uncomfortable on bumpier British roads but it's great fun on the open road. It's not entirely practical, with only two usable seats, but in Cooper S specification it offers 181bhp and 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds. With 28,000 miles under its belt and the added Chili Pack, you're looking at about £10,000.

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