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The BMW mini is a very reasonable vehicle. both petrol and turbo diesel engine are powerful units and are enough to put a smile on your face, especially a cooper S or SD. One thing i have found disappointing with earlier 2002-2006 cars is that the interior is not aswell built out or made as what the 2007 and later cars are. i wouldn't recommend this car for bumpy back road driving either, the suspension is quite stiff (especially on cooper S and SD models) .
The engines are reasonably reliable, i've had some troubles with the 1.6 petrol engine before with the cylinder head getting filled up with soot after 60,000 miles which isn't too impressive but the car was a driving instructors vehicle. the diesel units pull very well and are reasonably reliable. Since BMW have taken over the mini company and separated it from rover, some people have said BMW have destroyed the classic mini design which in a way i do believe, but at the same time they have made a modernized version of he car, suitable for modern roads.