Just got the July 2004 Road & Track
and on pg. 114 there's a Long-Term Test update for their MCS
"Other than a creaking hatch, which we will have inspected at the next service, the "smile" car continues to impress us with its fun-to-drive nature and its sturdiness."
They replaced 2 Dunlop SP Sport 9000 DSST tires ($562 incl. balancing) at 26,000 miles (that seems good compared to some posts here requiring new tires at less than 10k).
Also, they let their sister publication Cycle World
"My first drive in a MINI (sic) and I like it!"
"What a pleasure to scoot around in this small, fun car...The supercharged engine is nice, but I wish it had a bit more power."