Why the MINI Cooper?
Exterior styling: Fun exterior styling
Powertrain performance: While not fast, it can get up and move pretty well for a little go kart.
Fuel economy: Best mpg I've had in a car, solid 33 just about everywhere I go.
Handling: Great handling, fun to drive
Audio & nav systems: Love the integrated iPod and nav system
Why Not the MINI Cooper?
Ride smoothness: Comes with the good handling but standard run flat tires are TERRIBLE with road noise and smoothness.
Materials & workmanship: Lots of rattles even driving it off the lot brand new
Reliability & durability: 60k miles and I'm looking for a new car. Love the car but it can't go woot constant repairs. 2 timing chain repairs fuel pressure pump, carbon buildup, clutch replacement, nav DVD drive.
Dealership practices: Down right predatory pricing for repairs. BMW won't fix a MINI but the price is the same.
Warranty, scheduled maintenance cost: Slave to the car's maintenance computer. At first it is nice to not have to take it in for much but once the trips are out of synch you have to take it in often for little things instead of dealer combining service together for less trips.