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After years of driving that clunky old Kia, you’ve finally earned enough money to buy a new car. You’ve had your eye on a gorgeous MINI Cooper for some time now, but you’re not sure if it’s the right replacement for you and your family.

Before you sign the dotted line, take a look at the pros and cons of driving a MINI.

Advantages of a MINI Cooper

According to US news, the 2015 MINI Cooper ranks 18 out of 41 on Affordable Small Cars. With its peppy engine, attractive interior, and safety features, the MINI Cooper attracts countless car owners to the sit behind the wheel. Below, you’ll find just a few advantages you’ll find when you opt for a MINI Cooper.

Fun and Customizable

The MINI’s small size makes it stand out from other vehicles, but its customization options will make your MINI stand out from other MINIs. Take a quick visit to the official MINI website and you’ll find that you can customize your Cooper in seemingly endless ways.

  • You can change the body and exterior trim colors.
  • You can pick a variety of packages to suit your area or your hobbies (such as the cold weather package or the media package).
  • You can choose from multiple lights and mirror options (heated mirrors and fog lamps are convenient for poor traveling conditions) .
  • You can complete the look your car with vanity spokes.
  • You can deck out the interior with heated leather seats.
  • You can accessorize the dash with audio and GPS systems.

Whatever features you choose, you can rest assured that your new MINI will match almost any personality and style.

Great Gas Mileage

The MINI’s small build and light frame guarantees great gas mileage. It averages 37 mpg on the highway with manual transmission, and 36 mpg on the highway with automatic transmission. City driving has a little bit lower mileage, but still much higher than many other vehicles. For manual transmission, it scores as high as 29 mpg, and for automatic, 28 mpg.

Excellent Resale Value

Assuming you take good care of your MINI, it will easily maintain its resale value. If you decide to sell it, you could potentially earn more back than you would with other vehicles.

 In fact, according to Kiplinger calculations, the MINI Cooper Hardtop S ties with the MINI Cooper Coupe for first place as one of the best cars with the highest resale value in 2013.

Handles Well

Many people compare the MINI Cooper’s handling to that of a go-kart. It zips from 0 to 60 in 6.6 seconds. It takes mountain twists and curves with ease, and you can easily park it in tight spaces.

Disadvantages of a MINI Cooper

While the MINI Cooper may seem like a delight to drive, it might not provide the best fit for everyone. It has its own downsides that could turn away potential drivers, including the following.

Limited Space and Cargo Capacity

As its name implies, the MINI is compact. While the official website may try to convince you that it has “more room than you’d expect”, it’s still a jump in size from an SUV or minivan. Dimensions are 5 ft. 8 inches wide and 12 ft. 7.1 in. long. Few cars on the road can match the MINI Cooper in its diminutive size.

It has tight rear seats and limited cargo space. If you have a larger family or if you prefer a little more leg room, you may be happier with a larger vehicle.

Expensive to Purchase

Because of its small size, the MINI Cooper is more affordable than most cars. You can pick up a brand new 2015 Cooper for an average price of $21,026 to $35,526.

However, this price tag jumps up if you pick any of the customizable options featured on the website. For example, choosing the Wired Package (featuring Bluetooth and navigation system) adds $1,750 to the total price. If you want heated seats and mirrors, you’ll pay another $600.   

Costly Fuel

While you can enjoy great gas mileage when you drive a MINI, you’ll also have to pay more at the pump. If you want your MINI Cooper to run at its best, you’ll need to use premium octane fuel. This ensures better combustion, but it also means a greater dent in your wallet.

Limited Dealerships

MINI dealerships are few and far between. Depending on where you live, you may have to drive for hours to find a dedicated car company. Non-MINI dealerships may sell you the car, but you may find it difficult to find a mechanic capable of maintaining your MINI.

Try One on for Size

Despite its shortcomings, the MINI Cooper has a lot to offer. If you’re not sure whether the MINI Cooper is right for you, try it on for size before ordering your custom vehicle online. Head to the nearest dealership and give it a test drive.