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Friday, March 26, 2010


In this blog entry, I'm covering BMW Mini Cooper MK1 (2001 to 2006).  This is the BEST RESALE VALUE car in Malaysia with a WHOOPING 85% / 72% retained value in 3 years and 5 years respectively.  In Malaysia, 7/10 (Ie. 70%) of BMW Mini was sold by Auto Bavaria themselves (ie. Officially).  Here's the Used value of BMW Mini Cooper MK1 in Malaysia (Mini Cooper S in Bracket):


As usual, I don't have a car to test and brag about...  I did the next best thing...  I present an Australian Review from GoAuto Australia and few more Owner's review from



Super test: Mini / Cooper 3-dr hatch

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch Car Review


ACCEPTED wisdom seems to have it that the retro styling
fad for new cars is over now that the New Beetle and PT
Cruiser have made their limited splash.

But then there's Mini, a step forward from the accepted retro

While its styling evokes its much loved predecessor, this is
in fact a thoroughly modern, well-engineered and safe small
hatchback - at somewhat of a premium price.

No surprise about any of that, after all it is a BMW - even if
the 1.6-litre engine is actually from Chrysler and the car is
pulled rather than pushed.

Here we're testing the Mini Cooper - Australia's entry level
Mini and little brother to the supercharged Cooper S flagship.

Model release dates: March 2002 - February 2007

Previous model

Make: Mini
Model: Mini Minor

THE original Mini, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis (pictured
at left), was released in Australia as the Morris 850 in 1961
and by 1963 was the third best-selling car in Australia.

Local production began in 1961, the Mini Cooper was
launched in October, 1962, and the Cooper S in 1965.

In 1971 the Mini was facelifted with the square-front
Clubman treatment.

Mass production ceased in Australia in 1978 and in the UK
in 2000.

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car

BMW has done a good job capturing the essence of Mini
style, with its floating roof, wheel at each corner stance and
slatted grille. But the new Cooper is much bigger than the
original, measuring 3626mm long, 1688mm wide and
1413mm high, while the vital dimensions of the original
were 3056mm, 1350mm and 1411mm.

The measurements of the new car actually fall quite readily
into line with light car contenders like the Toyota Echo and
Holden Barina. Not every aspect of new Mini style appeals
to us - the face appears to be a bit sour, rather than happy
as it is intended to be, and there's some less than appealing
wheel designs among the myriad alloy offerings.

Did you know?

The original Mini has its genesis in the 1956 fuel crisis in
the UK, prompted by the British Army's seizure of the Suez
Canal. Car sales plunged and, with petrol rationing in force,
buyers turned in droves to crude bubble cars. The British
Motor Corporation (BMC) turned to designer Alec Issigonis
to come up with a solution.

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - Seat Plan

THE Mini Cooper is a two-door four-seater in the
tradition of its predecessor, although this time around
the tiny bootlid is traded in for a hatchback ... which
leads to a tiny boot. There are no less than six airbags,
with dual front and side units complemented by head
airbags for all passengers. Further standard safety
systems in the cabin include lap-sash seatbelts all-round
which are equipped with both tensioners and force limiters,
while front seat passengers also get height adjustment.

There are headrests all round and overhead grabhandles
for rear passengers. Storage capacity is not such a winning
story with only shallow door pockets, although a bar in the
door will store items like road atlases. An under-dash tray
runs right across the car, only interrupted by the console, plus
stringback pockets on the doors and three cupholders. But
there is no glovebox, which means nowhere lockable to store
valuable items.

Did you know?

Alec Issigonis only agreed to design the Mini after
BMC boss Sir Leonard Lord gave him complete contro
l over the project

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - Seats

THE Cooper is a four-seater, which essentially means
everybody gets there own crafted pew, rather than trying
to fit three passengers in the rear on a cramped bench.
Front seat adjustment is manual and includes height
adjust and an easy entry system for access to the rear

Standard trim is black and grey cloth, although you can
option a cloth/leather combination with lumbar support,
just like you can option the sports seats out of the
Cooper S and front seat heating. Rear seats split/fold

Did you know?

Fifty-one-year-old Alec Issigonis already had a proven
track record before tackling the Mini, having designed
the Morris Minor


2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - Dash

A MAJOR attempt has been made in the interior to pay
homage to heritage, with an enormous speedo placed
in the centre of the dash above the centre console and
the tachometer sitting in behind the steering wheel.

But in Australia federal design rules have forced the two
instruments to swap positions - so now we have a huge
tacho and small speedo, although at least the latter is
now surely in a more sensible spot. The speedo actually
 sits on the steering column itself which ensures you do
not lose sight of it when adjusting the wheel up or down.

Inside the speedo there's also various warning lights, the
cruise control activation light and the odometer and trip-
meter. The world's largets tacho is presented in the same
metal-look and also has a group of warning lights dotted
in a semi-circle in the top-half, while an outside temperature
gauge, fuel and coolant temperature gauges sit below.

The tacho joins the speedo, Mickey Mouse ears-style on
the steering column, when satellite navigation is optioned.
Seed-shaped metal-look stalks sit in behind the two-spoke
steering wheel, the left-hand stalk looking after indicators
and lights while the right-hand handles front and rear wiper-
washer functions.

The steering wheel's two spokes are massively thick and
the Mini badge in the centre boss similarly imposing. A
steering wheel with multi-function operation is an option
mated to cruise control.

Did you know?

Original Mini designer Alec Issoginis was so determined
to maximise space utilisation that he came up with the idea
of placing the engine transversely, with front-wheel drive, a
layout almost unheard of at the time

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - Controls

THIS is a heavily themed interior, with extensive use of
circular and oval shapes, in tandem with dark vinyl and
metal-look plastic. The doors are an archetypal example
of the design theme with round surrounds for the release
handles and speakers, and an oval centre section with a
horizontal bar running through it, the latter padded to double
as an armrest. The metal look sweeps right across the dash
and is connected to the floor via two bars that contain the
vertical centre console comprising air-condiitoning controls,
the audio head unit and sexy toggle switchgear for functions
including the power windows.

Two cupholders sit on top of the horizontal centre console
and behind them is a binnacle for the gear lever with the
parking brake nestling between the two front seats. The
top half of the gear lever ball, the release button of the
parking brake and the door handles are all chrome
finished. There's also leather for the steering wheel,
gear lever and park brake gaiter.

Did you know?

The first Mini was built by BMC factory worker Albert Green
in seven hours almost completely by hand - quite an
achievement, cosidering there were at least 3016 bolts and
screws involved in the process

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something 
The Car - Wheels/tyres 

THE Cooper comes standard with 175/65-section, 15-inch
tyres mated to eight-spoke light-alloy wheels. Be warned
though, there's no spare tyre if you get a flat, instead you'll
have to pump it back up using the Mini Mobility System, a
fancy name for a sealant and compressor that attaches to
the car's 12-volt power socket in the boot. Alternatively, you
can option a space saver spare wheel, or move up to 16 or
17-inch wheels which are fitted with run-flat tyres.

Did you know?

The original Mini was first revealed in August, 1959, badged
as either the Austin Mini Seven or Morris Mini Minor. Reaction
was mixed but no-one quibbled at the price - £496

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - Luggage

MINIMAL luggage space as a four-seater is the story here,
with just 150 litres available. However, flip the 50:50 split-fold
rear seats down and there's a much more useable 670 litres.
The message here is simple, the Cooper makes a lot more
sense as a two-seater than it does a four-seater if you've got
any load-lugging to do. Access to the rear is via a hatch, which
certainly is more efficient than the old car's boot. It even gets a

Did you know?

The original Mini had cost-cutting measures like sliding
windows and external body welds. Designer Alec Issigonis,
a chain-smoker, included an ashtray but, because he liked
silence, no radio

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - What's changed

THE new Mini pays homeage to the old car in philosophical
terms, but is vastly different in reality - as it should be
considering 40 years spans the development period
between the two cars. While the original was a ground-
breaking concept and product, the BMW Mini is a quality
execution of known technologies. It's a front-wheel drive,
three-door hatchback with quality underpinnings and
excellent safety credentials.

Did you know?

In 1961 F1 car constructor John Cooper realised the
Mini's incredible handling and roadholding could make
it a potent track weapon. He secured a deal with BMC
to make 1000 Mini Coopers so it could qualify for pro-
duction car races. It went on sale with a power hike from
34 to 55bhp from a bored-out engine and tiny disc brakes

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - Climate control

AIR-CONDITIONING is a standard Cooper feature and
fits in neatly and attractively with the other elements in
the vertical centre console. The design is dominated by
three dials - for temperature, fan speed and direction -
above the window and foglight toggle switches, while
there are push buttons for air-conditioning on, recirculation
and rear window demist. A climate control air-conditioning
system is an option.

Did you know?

In 1963 the even hotter Mini Cooper S was released with
70bhp from 1071cc - the same year the Mini became hip
with stars like Peter Sellers, Margot Fonteyn and Ringo
Starr becoming owners.

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - Sound system

AN audio system with AM/FM radio and in-dash single
CD player is standard equipment on the Cooper. A
bespoke and attractive design with simple, large push-
button controls, it has 12 FM and AM presets and
produces its sound via six speakers, four in the front
doors and two in the rear side walls.

The only real minus is that the volume and on/off functions
are on the far side of the unit to the driver, necessitating a
possibly distracting stretch across the cabin.

Options include a six-CD player in the boot and an in-dash
mini-disc player which replaces the CD. Also available from
the end of 2002 is a Harmon Kardon system which includes
eight speakers and a digital amplifier.

Did you know?

The Mini Moke went on sale in 1964. Originally intended as
a field car that could be parachuted to a war zone, the British
Army rejected it due to lack of ground clearance.

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

The Car - Sat Nav

A SATELLITE navigation system is optional and includes
an up-market 16 x 9cm colour display, which takes the place
of the gigantic tacho below a hooded binnacle in the centre
of the dash. Meantime, the rev counter is relocated next to
the speedo on the steering column.

Did you know?

In 1968 a super mini with a hatchback codenamed 9X that
Alec Issigonis spent years planning, was abandoned.

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something






The Car - Security

REMOTE central locking controls the doors, tailgate and
fuel tank lid from distances up to 15 metres. The interior
light comes on as soon as the opening mechanism is
operated, while a switch allows the interior light to remain
on for 30 seconds after leaving the car. An immobiliser is
standard - as now required by law - while a remote-
controlled alarm system is optional. But the lack of a
locakble glovebox is a security concern.

Did you know?

In 1969 the Austin and Morris prefixes were dropped as Mini
became a marque in its own right. To celebrate, wind-up
windows were fitted in the UK, although they had been available
on Italian, South African and Australian-built versions for some

1961-1978 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch Rear shot

Our opinion

Cheerful persona, strong chassis, build quality,

Room for improvement Underwhelming engine, limited
interior space, plastics

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

Mechanical - Plan views

MINI Cooper is a classic small hatch design in terms of its mechanical layout. A 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine sits transversely in the engine bay, driving the front wheels via either a five-speed manual or six-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT). The big thing here is the Mini is BMW's first attempt at a front-wheel drive car - and it's a ripper.

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

Mechanical - Engine

THE Mini Cooper is powered by a new 1598cc, single overhead camshaft, four-cylinder engine called Pentagon, which was developed by BMW with Chrysler. It delivers a healthy 85kW at 6000rpm and 149Nm of torque at 4500rpm, which is a figure closer to the class average. The engine runs on standard unleaded fuel, meets the EU4 emission requirements and at just 120kg is a light unit even though it uses a cast-iron block rather than all-alloy construction.

Did you know?

The Pentagon engine is built in Brazil and installed in the
car at BMW's Oxford plant in the UK.
2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

Mechanical - Suspension

THE front suspension of the Mini is by MacPherson strut and the rear is suspended via a multi-link arrangment based on BMW's Z-axle. It's the rear suspension which is the giveaway here to the quality of build level BMW was looking for with the Mini, as there is no sign of Chapman struts or a beam axle. The sophisticated suspension design is mated to a long 2467mm wheelbase and a bodysell considerably stiffer than the current 3 Series. The Mini Cooper comes standard with front and rear anti-roll bars and suspension lowered by 8mm compared to the base model Mini One, which is not sold in Australia.

Did you know?

"Sports Plus" suspension is available as an option on the Mini Cooper. This system is standard on the supercharged Mini Cooper S

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something
2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

Mechanical - Electronic system

THE Mini talks the electronic talk with multiplex infrastructure incorporating a databus system. That means it is able to make do with a far smaller number of lines, cables and connectors than a conventional electronics system, resulting in easier installation, less chance of something going wrong and reduced weight. There are two databus systems, the CAN bus connects the engine management, brakes, transmission and the instruments, while the K bus is repsonsible for body electronics such as interior lights, air-conditioning, windows and doors.

Did you know?

One of the most significant electronic features of the Mini is its drive-by-wire throttle, which means the car does not have a traditional throttle cable.

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

Mechanical - Transmission

THE Cooper comes standard with a new five-speed manual tranmsmission designed specifically for the Mini which mounts directly to the left-hand end of the engine block in true space-saving Mini style. The design of the gearbox allows equal length driveshafts, which means torque steer is much less noticeable. It also has double-cone synchronisers for improved shifting quality. Optional is a continuously variable transmission (CVT) which also contains Steptronic control. This means that the driver can choose between normal automatic mode and a more sporty driving mode with a six-gear semi-automatic transmission. Although the continuously variable transmission is still heavier than manual transmission, it is lighter than a conventional automatic transmission.

Did you know?

Continuously variable transmission (CVT) is different to a conventional automatic transmission. Where conventional systems need a torque converter, the CVT uses an oil bath multi-disc coupling that is electronically controlled. The transmission itself uses a fixed-length steel drive belt to connect two double cone-shaped belt pulleys which transmit the drive output from the engine, essentially offering infinitely variable transmission ratios.
2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something

Mechanical - Brakes

THE Cooper has disc brakes fitted to all four wheels as standard. The ventilated discs up front measure 276 x 22mm while those at the rear are 259mm x 10mm. Braking assistance is provided by ABS incorporating Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC). EBD controls the distribution of braking force between the front and rear wheels, which is designed to allow optimum use of brake capacity in corners without causing instability.

Did you know?

A switchable traction control system called ASC+T is available as an option, along with the more sophisticated DSC III stability control

Mechanical - Steering

RACK and pinion electro-hydraulic power-assisted steering
(EHPAS) is standard on the Cooper. While most power-
assisted steering systems use hydraulic pumps that are
continuously driven by the engine, the steering pump in the
Mini is operated by a small electric motor that works inde-
pendently of the car's engine. Because EHPAS only operates
when required, BMW claims it cuts fuel consumption by up to
0.1 litres per 100km compared to a conventional system.

2002 Mini Cooper 3-dr hatch | GoAuto - something


IF there is one huge generational change that exemplifies
new Mini versus old, it is in safety. The latest body crumple
zone technologies and six airbags helped deliver a four-star
Euro NCAP rating, while the old car struggled to achieve one.
The strong body - which BMW says is two to three times
stronger than its competitors - is backed up by a plethora
of safety aids like ABS, EBD and CBC.

Did you know?

Euro NCAP testing found that the Mini's structure stood up
well in the offset frontal impact, but that knees were vulnerable
and the driver's head hit the steering wheel. The Mini scored
74 per cent out of a possible 100, while in the same test it was
matched by the Opel Corsa (sold here as the Holden Barina)
and beaten by the Volkswagen Polo, which scored 82 per cent.



  • Two years/unlimited km
  • Major service intervals: up to 20,000km


  • 1.598-litre front-mounted 16-valve SOHC transverse inline four-cylinder, alloy-head/iron-block
  • Power: 85kW @ 6000rpm
  • Torque: 149Nm @ 4500rpm
  • Bore x stroke: 85.8mm x 77mm
  • Compression ratio: 10.6:1


  • Five-speed manual or six-speed Constantly Variable Transmission


  • Front: independent by MacPherson struts, coil springs, anti-roll bar
  • Rear: independent by BMW Z-arm axle, coil springs, anti-roll bar


  • Electro-hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering
  • Turns lock-to-lock: 2.5
  • Turning circle: 10.66 metres


  • Length: 3626mm
  • Width: 1688mm
  • Height: 1413mm
  • Front track: 1460mm
  • Rear track: 1466mm
  • Kerb weight: 1050kg


Whatcar? UK May 2002 issue):

Max speed: 193km/h (120mph)

0-100km/h: 8.6 secs  


Urban/Extra Urban: 31.4/52.3     

Combined: 42.2.

THAT'S ALL FOLKS!  Thanks for having the time and patience

to read this ULTRA LONG Article...  

1)  GOAUTO Australia Article.

2) WHATCAR? UK Magazine, May 2002 issue. For certain specifications

4) Malaysian Motor trader, Last 5 issues.  Issue 470 to 475.  For
Used car values in Malaysia.

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