MINI Turns 10 In America

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
mini turns 10 in america

A decade ago, MINI launched in the United States, at a time when gas was cheap and small cars were decidedly not in vogue. The original Cooper has given birth to the Clubman, Countryman, Coupe and Roadster, in a brilliant display of making many lengths of sausage from one pile of meat.

MINI hasn’t always been a bright and shining success story. Reliability problems have plagued the brand, even though they make some of the most fun vehicles at any price. Issues with the CVT gearbox, for example, have been manifold and the transmission is staggeringly expensive to replace.

On the other hand, cars like the Mini Cooper S offer a sublime mixture of performance and style. Of course, you’ll pay for that. Today’s MINI no longer resembles the original iconic design and MINI’s future seems to be oriented more towards “mobility” than the automobile. Nevertheless, we salute MINI here at TTAC, and the above photo, taken in a Clubman S JCW at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, will always be one of my most memorable drives, from the parade lap of the circuit to the meandering journey I took in it through the Eastern Seaboard, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana over 4 days. If only they weren’t so damn expensive.

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5 of 24 comments
  • Russycle Russycle on Mar 25, 2012

    We just sold our '09 Clubman, we weren't driving it enough to justify the payments. Loved the car, might get another one eventually, finances permitting. According to True Delta, MINIs are about average repair wise, and they don't differentiate between the base engine and the turbo in the S model. Considering the take rate on the S is pretty high, and most of the complaints about the motor pertain to the turbo version, it suggests the base engine is actually quite solid. As for the CVT, MINI dropped it in 2007. They now use a conventional 6-speed made in Japan by Aisin.

  • DC Bruce DC Bruce on Mar 26, 2012

    I have been tempted by the car, but riding in one felt like punishment and potential reliability issues scared me off. The N/A engine appears to be pretty solid; the turbo not so. There goes the fun . . . For me, what tells the tale is that, alone among "luxury" cars, MINI does not offer a CPO program. That speaks to me . . . and not well.

  • Junebug Junebug on Mar 26, 2012

    Why is it the older you get, "fun" seems so over rated? I mean, I'm stretched thin with bills and a kid going to college and by the time I get through with all that, I'll be knocking on retirement. Hey wait, that's why old dudes by these and MX-5's, D'oh!

  • Beken Beken on Mar 27, 2012

    Well, no matter what the commenters here say, I still have mine and it's been pretty reliable. Not the most reliable car ever, but given the way I drive, I'm more than happy with my MINI. It's one of those cars that I just enjoy driving to nowhere in particular or anywhere. Happy birthday and congratulations, MINI. Now off to find another twisty road to drive.