Is A Mini Cooper A Good First Car?

Mini Coopers are probably the most easily recognizable compact cars.

However, are they a good choice for a first car?

A Mini Cooper makes a great first car. They’re safe, cheap to insure, and have excellent resale value. A Mini Cooper’s highly customizable body and interior make it a fun, special car to own. They do, however, have relatively high fuel prices, although their mileage generally outweighs this.

Keep reading to discover the complete list of pros and cons of buying a Mini Cooper as a first car.

Is A Mini Cooper A Good First Car?

7 Reasons a Mini Cooper Is a Good First Car

Let’s look at some of the key reasons why the Mini Cooper is a good first car.

They’re Easy To Park

Most modern Minis come with front and rear parking sensors.

Their compact size also makes them incredibly easy to maneuver into nearly any parking space known to man.

If you live in a city or regularly go to supermarkets, this is a big plus.

They Hold Their Value Well

Minis are great first cars as they have excellent resale value should you one day want to switch to something different or bigger.

The resale price of Minis in the US depreciated least out of several cars surveyed, losing 40% of their value over the first five years.

They dropped even less in Europe, averaging a 29-34% depreciation over the same period.

If you’re looking to make an investment and ensure you can trade up your car in the future, a Mini Cooper is your best bet.

Mini CooperHonda CivicToyota CorollaMazda 3
Value depreciation
over after 5 years
40433944
(in %)

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They Get Excellent Safety Ratings

The US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) consistently scores Mini Coopers highly across all safety tests and categories.

Mini Coopers received the highest rating of ‘good’ in roof strength, rear crash protection, side-impact, and front crash prevention tests.

Another safety board, the NHTSA, similarly gave Mini Coopers impressive scores for frontal crash, side crash, rollover, and comprehensive safety tests.

The newer Mini Cooper models all come with active driving assistants, which enable automatic emergency braking and collision warnings.

Although the car is compact, it has a strong frame and body to provide optimal protection to both drivers and passengers.

If you want peace of mind while driving your first car, a Mini Cooper is an excellent choice as it is one of the safest small vehicles on the road.

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They’re Cheap To Insure

Compared to other cars their size, Mini Coopers are pretty cheap to insure.

Complete coverage for a new Mini comes in at around $106 a month, or $1,276 a year.

This is about $243 less than the per-year average of all other roadworthy cars.

Liability-only coverage is even cheaper, at around $511 a year.

Most first-time car owners don’t want a massive car insurance bill at the end of each month.

If this is the case, a Mini Cooper may be the perfect choice as insuring it will be relatively affordable.

It should stay that way for many years.

Mini CooperHonda CivicToyota CorollaMazda 3
Avg. Annual
Insurance (in USD)
1,276.001,822.002,245.001,655.00

They’re Easy To Maintain

Minis are incredibly easy to maintain.

A recommended Mini service plan includes an interim check every six months or 5,000 miles and a full service at least once a year.

Most new Minis also come with a three-year warranty, which means the first one or two services can be done at an authorized Mini dealership.

If you’re looking for peace of mind when buying your first car, a Mini is a great choice.

They’re Affordable (To A Certain Extent)

Although they’re slightly more expensive than other first car options, a Mini is still a very affordable choice.

The Cooper Hardtop 4 Door 2021 model stands at a base price of $23,400.

Suppose you don’t opt for extras or any customizations.

In that case, a Mini Cooper is about as affordable as any other starter car out there.

Minis are well-built, quality vehicles that won’t make too much of a dent in your budget for the price.

Their Reliability Is Improving

In 2014, J.D. Power listed Mini Coopers as 28th out of 32 car brands for reliability.

They have since moved up to 4th place, which is a massive improvement.

Common repair issues include clutch and transmission failure, radiator issues, and faults with its power steering.

Although these problems are not difficult to repair, it can become frustrating if parts of your car keep malfunctioning.

Thankfully, Minis have always had average reliability ratings but are significantly improving over the past couple of years.

Mini CooperHonda CivicToyota CorollaMazda 3
Reliability rating (out
of 100)
78768074

3 Reasons a Mini Cooper Is a Bad First Car

Ok, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why a Mini Cooper is not a good first car.

Despite Okay Gas Mileage, Fuel Is Expensive

Minis have slightly better than average gas mileage.

Coming in at 30mpg, or 12.75kpl, combined (highway and city average), it’s not the worst mileage available for a first car, but it’s certainly not the best.

The real issue is that Minis take premium fuel.

Although they can run on regular gas, it isn’t recommended.

Premium fuel is more expensive than its standard counterpart, so despite having okay mileage, the price of fuel counters that advantage.

If you’re looking for a starter car on a budget, a Mini’s fuel price may set you back a little more than you planned.

Mini CooperHonda CivicToyota CorollaMazda 3
Price for 10 gallons
of fuel (in USD)
36.4830.4030.4030.40
Combined MPG30323332

Out Of Warranty, Repairs Are Expensive

Despite most new Minis coming with a 3-year repair warranty, once that period expires, getting your car serviced or fixing something that broke can be very expensive.

The average annual cost for repairs and maintenance works out to around $850 a year.

Other subcompact cars average about half of that.

Mini CooperHonda CivicToyota CorollaMazda 3
Cost of repairs and
maintenance per
year (in USD)
846.00368.00441.00462.00

Dealerships And Servicing May Be Hard To Find

In warranty, Minis can only be serviced and repaired by official dealerships.

Unfortunately, Mini dealerships aren’t as common as you may think, and you might end up having to drive a couple of hours just to get your car serviced.

It’s not the end of the world, but it is a bit of an inconvenience.

Is a Mini Cooper a Good First Car For a Teenager?

f you’re looking for the first car for your teen, a Mini Cooper is an excellent choice.

They are compact, safe vehicles with many customizations that make them unique and fun to drive.

Mini Cooper is a luxury brand at an affordable price, so if you’re looking to spoil your teen without breaking the bank, it’s a good choice.

Insurance isn’t expensive, and maintenance is relatively easy, making a Mini a hassle-free car to own and an excellent option for a teen who doesn’t quite know how to deal with regular services, oil changes, and repairs yet.

Are There Better First Cars Than the Mini Cooper?

The two most common first cars bought are the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla.

In this section, we stack them up against a Mini Cooper and determine whether or not a Mini can hold its own.

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Toyota Corolla

Both a Toyota Corolla and Mini Cooper have reduced legroom and smaller trunks.

Although Corollas are more fuel-efficient and a couple of thousand dollars cheaper than Minis, they lack an attractive interior and body.

Corollas also don’t have an electric option, which Minis do.

Overall a Toyota Corolla may be more accessible on a budget.

Still, a Mini Cooper is an excellent investment that’s a lot of fun to drive.

Honda Civic

A Honda Civic falls into the same price category as a Mini Cooper.

However, the Honda offers much more legroom and trunk space than its Mini counterpart.

A Honda Civic also gets better fuel mileage than a Mini (34mpg).

A Honda Civic is a perfect car for its price.

Still, it simply doesn’t offer the elegance and refinement some first-time car owners want, entirely exclusive to the Mini Cooper.