MINI Cooper: Is the MINI Right for You? (Used Buying Guide)

Everyone knows the MINI Cooper as a cute hatchback, but it’s officially known as the MINI 3-Door – either way, anyone will be able to recognize a MINI 3-Door hatch from afar thanks to its iconic, quirky  MINI design. 

It is only a MINI that can pull off the MINI look. From Mr. Bean’s Citron Green 1977 Leyland MINI with a matte black bonnet to the red, white, and blue MINI 3-Door in the 2003 “The Italian Job” movie, it’s clear that the MINI 3-Door hatch is an icon in the automotive industry. In 1994, the BMW Group acquired the Rover Group (which owned the iconic Mini) and in less than four years, BMW unveiled a MINI hatchback concept that was bigger, more mature, and ultimately more powerful.

In 2014, in its third generation, the MINI Hatch was released in Malaysia, codenamed F56 (3-door) and F55 (5-door – first ever in a MINI Hatch). The MINI Hatch was available in four variants, the MINI Cooper, the MINI Cooper Chilli Pack, the MINI Cooper S, and the MINI Cooper S Wired Pack. Four years later, the facelift was launched with a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (gearbox). In this article we’ll be focusing on the pre-facelift used MINI 3-Door (F56)

Used Mini 3-door hatchback

Brief Recap on Prices

Pre-Facelift MINI 3-Door (F56)
Variant(s) Engine Power Output Price(s)
MINI Cooper  1.5-liter three-cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo (136 HP, 220 Nm) RM178,888
MINI Cooper (Chilli Pack) 1.5-liter three-cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo (136 HP, 220 Nm) RM198,888
MINI Cooper S 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged

(192 HP, 280 Nm)

MINI Cooper S (Wired Pack) 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged

(192 HP, 280 Nm)


Quick Run-down on the MINI Cooper and Cooper S Specs

The MINI Cooper is powered by a 1.5-liter three-cylinder MINI TwinPower Turbo engine (codenamed B38 – the same engine found in the F30 BMW 318i). The power is rated at 136 horsepower with 220 Nm of torque. The more powerful MINI Cooper S is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder TwinPower Turbo (codenamed B48 – the same engine found in the F30 BMW 320i and 330e). This 2.0-liter turbo engine has 192 horsepower with 280 Nm of torque, which is a lot for a small hatchback. Both are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and the more powerful Cooper S features Sports Auto mode with Launch Control function.

Exterior Features

The base MINI Cooper comes with halogen reflector headlights while the rest of the variants come with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), LED headlights, and LED fog lights as standard. Furthermore, the MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper Chilli Pack get 16-inch loop spoke silver design rims while the more expensive Cooper S and Cooper S Wired Pack get 17-inch tentacle spoke silver design rims. Both the MINI Cooper and Cooper S get different grilles and exhaust tips, the Cooper S features more aggressive styling such as a small hood scoop and two front vents. It also comes with twin-tailpipes.

Interior Features

Interior-wise, the base MINI Cooper is the only variant that comes with fabric seats while the rest come with leather upholstery. The base variant also gets a chrome line trim, manual air-conditioner, MINI Radio Basis with Bluetooth connectivity, and sports leather steering wheel.

The rest of the variants get sports leather seats, dual-zone climate control, MINI Radio Visual Boost with a 6.5-inch TFT screen (while the Cooper S features a larger 8.8-inch LCD screen with navigation) controlled by a scroll wheel on the center console similar to BMW’s iDrive. The MINI Cooper S also features a dark gray headliner and a John Cooper Works (JCW) steering wheel while the Cooper S Wired Pack features a center armrest and a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon HiFi sound system.

As standard, all variants feature three driving modes – GREEN, MID and SPORT mode. All variants also feature an LED ring in the center-dash located at the top of the MINI Radio Visual Boost, which changes colors based on the driving modes and other car’s systems such as media volume change and climate control change.

Mini hatchback interior

Safety Features

Safety-wise, all variants have four airbags, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Traction Control System, (TCS), and Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).

Here’s a detailed explanation of what these safety features mean:

  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control System (TCS) – Help prevent the car from losing control and help the driver regain control of the car. They also reduce the risk of a rollover (when the car overturns).
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) – Prevents the tires from locking up and skidding when sudden braking. It allows the driver to steer the car to safety.

Price Range for a Used MINI Cooper and Cooper S

The price of a used MINI 3-Door (F56) varies depending on the year, variant, condition, and mileage of the car. At the time of writing this article, the prices are as follow:

Pre-Facelift MINI 3-Door (F56)
Variant(s) Price Range (~)
MINI Cooper  RM97,000 – RM142,000
MINI Cooper (Chilli Pack) RM113,xxx
MINI Cooper S RM120,000 – RM150,000
MINI Cooper S (Wired Pack) RM140,xxx

Which MINI 3-Door (F56) Model to Buy?

We recommend getting the pre-facelift used MINI Cooper S as it features a more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, more aggressive styling, sportier 17-inch rims, and a modern-day 8.8-inch LCD infotainment screen.

Pros and Cons of a Used MINI 3-Door (F56)

Pros Cons
Excellent handling – capable of handling twisty roads at high speed while being very stable. Ride quality is considered average, deeper undulations still feel harsh.
Steering is sharp and accurate, making the car be very agile. Has average sound insulation, outside noise can enter the cabin at high speeds.
Well-balanced suspension, making it a fun-loving car to drive while being comfortable. Some materials feel cheap to the touch (hard plastics).
Fuel efficient. One of the least practical in its segment.

How Much to Maintain?

Maintenance Costs (~)
Road Tax RM90 (1.5-liter)

RM379 (2.0-liter)

Minor service (Engine oil and oil filter) RM500
Transmission fluid (gearbox oil and filter) RM900
Brake fluid RM250
Coolant RM350
Engine air filter RM100
Cabin air filter RM100
Hydrogen carbon cleaning (remove carbon deposits from the engine) RM400

As preventative maintenance, it is recommended to put your used MINI Cooper or Cooper S through a carbon cleaning service in order to keep the engine clean from black stains (soot), especially when the mileage is near the 100,000-kilometer mark. 

In fact, a good rule of thumb is to replace all the fluids in a used car after collection as fluids deteriorate over time. Nonetheless, if your budget doesn’t allow it then doing a minor service when you get the car is good enough.

However, with CARSOME Certified Lab being Southeast Asia’s largest car refurbishment facility, CARSOME promises to deliver quality-assured cars with a refurbishment process that exceeds international standards.

Check out how CARSOME takes the worry out of buying pre-owned cars here.

used mini cooper hatchback

What Are the Common Problems?

Mechanically, there are no common problems here. Regular service and maintenance will keep the car problem-free. Nevertheless, there have been some reports regarding the turbo failures with the 1.5-liter engine (B38). Moreover, the engine mounting, gearbox mounting, and lower support mounting are parts that require attention because these parts wear out faster than usual mountings. The ignition coils and high-pressure fuel pump are also parts that need to be inspected.

Buying a MINI Cooper Is a Lifestyle Statement

The third-generation MINI 3-Door (F56) is definitely a significant upgrade over the first and second generations. The BMW Group did an amazing job with the F56 MINI Cooper / Cooper S by sharing the same engines across their BMW lineup, this inevitably gave the 3-Door hatchback more power which made sense because the third-generation (current generation) MINI 3-Door is in every way larger and heavier than the predecessors it replaced. 

As a stylish, quirky hatchback with impressive power, the MINI is a fun, compact vehicle that is sure to turn heads wherever you take it. A person who buys a MINI is a person with exquisite taste.

Buy CARSOME Certified for Peace of Mind

Here at CARSOME, we believe in creating an end-to-end buying journey to eliminate the concerns of the traditional used car buying experience. CARSOME Certified is the new standard of buying pre-owned cars backed up by our 175-Point inspection together with our CARSOME Certified Refurbishment Process. By creating a trusted used car ecosystem, CARSOME Certified guarantees trust, transparency, and choice.

Check out our CARSOME Certified MINI here.

Check out our wide selection of CARSOME Certified hatchbacks here.

Check out our CARSOME Certified Cars here.