The 2004 Mini Cooper is a much-updated version of the original Mini. Available in two trim levels, base and S, the Mini Cooper features front-wheel-drive and comes with a 4-cylinder engine. The S trim level offers more of a sports package: stronger engine, stiffer suspension and a special 6-speed transmission. While options can push this car's price quite high, some are fun to have and allow for personalisation.
Price for a 2004 Mini Cooper in the US ranges from $16,999 to $20,449.
The Inside Story:
Great room for front-seat passengers, not so much for rear seat folks. They'll fit in, but getting out might prove to be a bit of a stretch. Interior fit and finish is very good and the layout is very well designed. This isn't a big car so unless you fold the rear seats down you won't be carrying a lot of anything back there. Standard safety equipment is generous: front, side and head airbags along with antilock brakes. Additional safety equipment is reasonably priced.
Under the Hood:
The base Mini Cooper's 4-cylinder engine makes 115 horsepower while the S model's 4-cylinder engine makes 160 horsepower. Both engines will return about 25 city/37 highway (depending on transmissions).
The base model comes with 5-speed manual transmission and offers an optional CVT continuously variable transmission (a modern-day automatic transmission). The S model only comes with a 6-speed manual transmission.
Bumper-to-bumper: 4 years/50,000 miles. Powertrain: 4 years/50,000 miles.
Should you Buy a 2004 Mini Cooper?:
Now owned and backed by BMW, the Mini is still built in Britain and contains the soul of the original. Don't let its size fool you; this car stuffs a lot of fun into a small package. It offers a reasonable starting price, great room for two (so-so, for four) and superb handling. It's also very well designed and comes with quite a bit of standard safety equipment. If you won't often have friends in the back seat and you enjoy driving (and aren't intimidated by hulking SUVs) the Mini Cooper is an ideal car.