1996 Rover - Austin Mini Sprite 1.3i from UK and Ireland


Great fun - but not a car for everyday use


Rust on bottom of doors, in the boot, and under front lights when bought.

Complete Service at 37000 miles.

New front section of exhaust - £75!

Differential jammed and blew a hole in the bottom of the gearbox and differential casing causing oil to pour out of the engine. Extremely costly to fix - engine had to be taken out, gearbox and differential rebuilt along with a new clutch which was on its way out. - £600.

Tyre alignment keeps coming out.

Bonnet pops up occasionally over bumps.

General Comments:

The car needs constant attention through cleaning and checking for rust.

It handles like a go cart which is fantastic but with the expence of comfort and my aching back!

Front seats are uncomfortable and too big for the car - you have to remove the headrests for anyone over 5ft to get in the back on the car.

Not too economical - managing only 35mpg after full service!

Awkward to use heating system.

Tight engine bay with ECU etc.

Great starter!

Mini specialists are extremely helpful!

Love the mini community - other mini drivers wave and smile!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd April, 2008

1996 Rover - Austin Mini Sprite 1.3 from UK and Ireland




Constant high idle speed problem.

Fanbelt needed changed twice in 3 months.

Stalled at the first sight of rain.

General Comments:

This was, without a doubt, the worst car I have ever owned. I have had 3 Minis and this one will definitely be my last.

Bought from a supposed Mini specialist, the car was a complete deathtrap when surveyed by my own garage, and had to have £1000 worth of work done immediately.

I only had the car 3 months, and it spent 2 of those broken down, so I cut my losses and sold it.

If you are thinking of buying a Mini, buy it as a second car, a pet project, and don't expect it to be good enough to be your everyday car, because they are slow, uncomfortable, and past their sell by date!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th November, 2007

1996 Rover - Austin Mini Cooper 35 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Drives well, but far too unreliable


Where to start?

This car was an unreliable nightmare, the battery used to drain flat regularly, it spluttered in traffic.

Went into garage to get service however car needed £650 worth of work including most of the wiring replaced.

Leaked oil uncontrollably. Rusted really badly too.

General Comments:

Used this car for a fairly relaxed drive to work 35 miles round trip, it was just far too unreliable though.

Don't get me wrong a Mini drives like nothing else on the road however the ride quality is APPALLING and the brakes are not good enough.

Wouldn't buy another and was quite pleased when it was written off in an accident. Don't buy a Mini to use as an everyday car, this was my second and it will be my last, both have been a nightmare.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd March, 2006

1st Jan 2011, 14:02

The brakes on the later Minis were also used on the 2000cc Triumph TR 7 sports car, and when maintained properly, are more than up to the job. The MoT tester often comments on just how good they are on my Mini each year.

As for oil leaks, yes these cars (like many others) do suffer from oil leaks with age, but these leaks cost just a few pounds to fix. The rubber cone suspension does compress over time (These need replacing about every 10 years) making the ride hard, but is cheap and easy to replace. Most modern cars need springs etc replacing after 10 years, so what's the difference?

In my opinion, the maintenance is often put off by owners, because the cars don't actually stop, but keep going.

13th Mar 2011, 07:40

Yes, it is definitely reliable to use. Here are some of the Cooper 35 details at the bottom of this page: