Here’s a fact: You can get a used Mini Cooper surprisingly cheaply. The fun, exciting, go-kart-like Mini Cooper — a car that originally commanded a price premium back when it came out, a car that was generally considered the most exciting entry-level vehicle with a nice, finely crafted BMW interior — is cheap now. Really cheap.
Just how cheap? Well, the Mini Cooper came out in 2002, and there are currently 24 used 2002 Mini models for sale on Autotrader, with an average asking price of just under $5,200. But let’s say you reasonably don’t want the first year of production, because you’re worried they hadn’t yet worked out all the kinks. Adjust the year range to 2002 through 2005, and the average asking price jumps to just $5,588. And that includes many convertibles!
And it gets better: Refine your 2002-2005 Mini Cooper search so you’re only looking for the higher-performance Cooper S, and the average asking price is just $5,799. Insist on a manual transmission, and it’s $5,842. And that’s the Mini you want: a manual transmission Cooper S. And you can have it for fifty-eight hundred bucks.
Although I understand the early Mini models are known for being maintenance- and repair-intensive, you have to admit that $5,800 is a pretty good deal for something this fun — especially considering used models from this era still look a lot like the brand-new Mini that’s available in dealerships today. Find one with reasonably low miles and a good ownership history, and you should be able to enjoy your time with it; after all, there are some models on Autotrader with over 190,000 miles, suggesting they can stay reliable and usable if they’re well-maintained.
Or, here’s another idea: How about a Mini for an autocross or track build? People are falling all over themselves to find nice used NA (first-generation) Mazda Miata models for $3,000 to $4,000, when a far more-modern Mini is just a little more expensive. Sure, the Mini is front-wheel drive, but it’s also generally agreed to be an excellent platform with a sharp steering rack and tight, sporty handling.
Anyway, whatever your situation, I figured you’d want to know the Mini Cooper has gotten insanely cheap. Consider buying one. Or, at least, browsing the listings, like I’ve been doing all morning. Find a used Mini for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
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